Charging App Improvements

Recently Chargepoint began a campaign to sell a home charger.  Along with the charger comes a smartphone application that has a few nice features that are not found in the Tesla app.

The system maintains a database with all of the charging data.

Every time a driver plugs their car in at home or away from home at a Chargepoint brand charger, the system collects the information about each charge. In the past I went through great pains to determine how much I charged my car in a given year, and how much solar power I actually produced.  I never installed a meter to determine these amounts with a high level of accuracy.

I do love the idea that an accumulative data set would be available through a web portal just for the car.  If Tesla implemented a database with charging data it could include both charging amounts at home, at superchargers, and any other 3rd party location.

The app warns you when your car is at home but not plugged in.

Although this feature is not critical, on at least one occasion probably every Tesla owner has inadvertently forgotten to plug in their car when arriving at home.  Perhaps the driver did not plug in the car because the battery level was sufficient or simply became they were distracted.  Regardless a simple notification would be nice.

A link to the Nest Thermostat.

I chose not to buy the Nest Thermostat system as I do not think it will not save me money heating my home;  I have radiant heating through the floors and each room is carefully programmed.  Today the only value of linking these two devices is that the Nest system can warn the Chargepoint system in case of an emergency.

Although I am an engineer, at times I do wonder at times how over automated our society is and how ridiculously dependent we can be on technology.   For example without GPS, I suspect some people would be quite lost.  However a incremental improvements to the smart phone apps are generally appreciated.

No Cell Coverage

Map Goes Black without Cell Coverage

Map Goes Black without Cell Coverage

I was a bit surprised on a recent trip to Pinnacles National Park, that the navigation map went completely blank when it lost cell phone service.  On my ipad and iphone, once the map is loaded and you lose a connection, you do not lose the actual map.  For some reason, the Tesla map does not even have the last map in memory.  I was quite surprised when I saw a black screen.

I understand that the navigation works with google maps.  I do not expect to ask for a new destination, but I think having a black screen is unacceptable.  The turn by turn direction was still listed on the side.  I actually find turn by turn annoying, and I keep the voice muted unless I am in an unfamiliar congested city.  I have always loved visual maps and often use navigation simply to have an estimate for the number of miles left on the journey, not for the actual directions.

Also, the Tesla app cannot talk to the car without a cell phone signal.  When I configured my car, I was told that there was still a wi-fi connection but this is not true.  I would like to pre-cool my car in many places without cell phone coverage and having the app access the car through wi-fi would be very nice.  I don’t know whether or not there is wi-fi built into the Model S.

A workaround that works pretty well is to open all the doors and windows before arriving at the car to let all the hot air out.  This workaround works well here where it typically gets hot but not super hot.  The key fob works at a pretty far away distance to open all the windows.  I was comfortable opening all the windows in the parking lot at Pinnacles without anything of particular value in the car.  This workaround may not function well in other locations with more people and crime, or in hotter weather.

The drive to Pinnacles is a lovely drive and passing other cars in the Model S almost feels instantaneous.

Pinnacles National Par