Those of us not blessed with Telsa vehicles are unable to take advantage of Tesla’s voyage management tools and navigation. We have to make do with third party tools that are not well integrated but perfectly adequate. This post examines electric vehicle voyage planning and voyage management in an Apple Car Play and VW ID.Software environment.
- 2022-10-18 Original
- Fred Brooks, The Mythical Man Month. “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.” How about that VW?
- Use CarPlay with your iPhone
- A Better Route Planner Manual
Tesla owners have the benefit of using a brilliantly integrated suite of voyage management software built in to their vehicle. Most other brands have yet to reach Tesla’s level of completeness and polish so must take advantage of a combination of applications to plan a voyage, purchase energy while en route, and to navigate along the route and between the route and planned or unplanned charging stops. Since these tools are only loosely integrated, some additional user effort is needed to transfer voyage waypoints from the route planner to the other apps.
The not a Tesla crowd generally uses the following software.
- Apple or Google Maps
- A Better Route Planner or Plugshare
- Electrify America App or other charging network app
As I write this article, the vehicle is equipped with ID.Software 2.0 which lacks ISO/IEC plug and charge capabilities. To purchase energy en route requires use of the providers app for session management, in our case the Electrify America App.
For route planning, I prefer a Swedish application, A Better Route Planner that does a good job accounting for elevation and climate effects on vehicle range and has good vehicle consumption models and data built in.
And for local and cross-country navigation, I prefer Apple Maps. Apple Maps works smoothly with the Apple Car Play implementation included in ID.Software 2.0. This Car Play supports both the driver’s binnacle and the center console binnacle. When using Apple Maps, the driver’s binnacle shows vehicle data plus next turn cuing from Apple Maps or the ID.Software navigator.
A Better Route Planner can navigate but does so in a dated manner. EA App hands off the route or the leg to the next charger to Apple Maps for navigation.
Introducing Apple Car Play
This article is based largely on experimentation with the apps while sitting in the carport. Basically, we’ll plan a trip form Dismal Manor to the Newport News Walmart for a fill-up at the EA stop there. I commonly use the following apps on a trip.
Apple Car Play must be started from the ID.Software home screen. It will ask you to select the device to be paired. Once paired, the active app appears on the Car Play screen and the Car Play screen sends finger gestures to the app. In effect, the app appears to be running directly on the car but it is actually running on the phone’s processor which is usually significantly more capable than that built into the vehicle. The software image being run is also that on the phone so has up to date maps and can cache maps to reduce exterior communications.
Making the Voyage Plan
I prefer to do voyage planning at my desk where a big display and proper pointing devices make things easy.
A Better Route Planner includes a comprehensive manual and sharing. The manual has a good task-oriented work flow that will lead you through the route planning task, saving the route plan, and sharing the route plan with travel partners or transmitting it to your navigator.
Once you’ve completed planning your route save it as a new plan. When you set out, open the route in A Better Route Planner on iPhone and use the Save to Map option to pass off the next way point to Apple Maps. Currently, there is no way to send the complete itinerary from A Better Route Planner to Apple Maps on iPhone.
Charging Stop Navigation
A Better Route Planner can handle charging payment details for partnered charging networks. However, to use Electrify America with VW complementary charging requires use the the EA App. The easiest way to transfer information between the two involves fingers. Open the EA app, search for the charging point identified in the ABRP plan, select it, and select Directions. This will send the charging station address from EA App to Maps App. Maps will build a route and you can set out.
Once at the EA location, you have to use the EA App to complete charger selection, credential exchange, and start a session as described in an earlier post.
My Experience Driving to JRG Reunion
On October 15 the Millennium Falcon made its first voyage that required charging away from home. We drove from home to Aylett, Virginia for a reunion picnic and James River Greyhounds fund-raising event. The drive was long enough that we couldn’t quite make it on a single charge to 80% so I used A Better Route Planner to make the voyage plan. It included a short charge at a Walmart in the Richmond area that would get us home with some reserve.
The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel being notorious for traffic jams and traffic jams caused when vehicles run out of gas in the tunnels or on the causeway, I was a chicken and did a full charge to 80%.
Taking a Break
I set up the voyage to the James River Greyhound Picnic in A Better Route Planner, saved the plan, and loaded the plan in the car to navigate to Aylett. ABRP looks like a 15 year step back in time. It had the feel of my old 2005 TomTom navigator. I stuck with it until Rocky asked to use the loo. We exited the road at Williamsburg, drove to the Sentara Williamsburg campus, and let the dogs have a bio break and leg stretch. We loaded back up, crossed the road into the Home Depot plaza, and started looking for a place for me to use the loo. The beast was bound and determined to take me out of the car park and back to the route. I finally got frustrated and brought up Apple Maps to finish the voyage. Among other things, ABRP was unable to use the driver’s binnacle for turn cuing.
Side Trip to the Charger
I had Apple Maps take me to the Richmond Walmart at which I had planned to charge. From there I switched to the EA App for the session. It would have been better practice to pick the charge site in the EA App, hand off the charger address to Apple Maps, let Maps do the navigation, switch back to the EA App to pick the charge site and charger, exchange credentials, and start the charge session.
The Voyage Home
After charging, I set up Apple Maps for the voyage home and all went smoothly since there were no further charging stops.