When will Tesla fix the horrible Nav system directions?

When will Tesla fix the horrible Nav system directions?

So tonight I'm sending my wife off to the desert for a trip with my daughter in my Model S. She's never driven it, preferring her SUV. I need the trailer hitch tomorrow, so off she goes.

Since she's never made this particular trip, I tried to pull up the address in the Nav system, and it gives me an all fast freeway route of 141 miles. Google maps gives the correct route of 110 miles, with an estimated travel time of 30 minutes faster than the Model S Nav.

I've found that my car gives these bad directions VERY OFTEN. Does anyone know if Tesla is even working on making the Nav better, because right now, it is often useless for me.

SUN 2 DRV | 7 février 2014

Elon (and others e.g. Jerome) have said that better Nav software is one of the major improvements in the 6.0 software. Elon specifically mentioned improved routing based on actual current traffic conditions, so maybe the new routing algorithms will also help the problems you've seen...???

J.T. | 7 février 2014

From my local knowledge of Long Island It seems NAV is using a shorter route rather than a faster route.

J.T. | 7 février 2014

From my local knowledge of Long Island It seems NAV is using a shorter route rather than a faster route.

shop | 7 février 2014

I've seen Nav directions that literally make no sense. There are actual bugs in the system. It is annoying that we will have to wait for v6. My guess is that release is months away. My example tonight, BTW, was not shorter or anything else route. It was longer in both time and distance.

Thomas N. | 7 février 2014

Went to a restaurant that is on Pacific Coast Highway. We used Nav to test it out even though we've been there numerous times. We came to a T intersection and I knew the restaurant was two miles to the left.

What did the Nav tell us? Take a right. Had we done that we'd have to drive about three miles before we could make a u-turn and get back on track.

It was horrifically incorrect.

LeonardV | 7 février 2014

I'm excited about the possibility of it calculating the fastest route taking current traffic into consideration. However, even now, when driving the Los Angeles basin, I can bring up the whole freeway system with current traffic conditions on the huge 17 in screen and intuitively select a route that avoids traffic as much as possible...pretty cool!

clindon | 7 février 2014

I know Tesla is a fiercely proud technology company, and rightfully so, but this is certainly a case of it not being worth "re-inventing the wheel". There are a number of very good GPS companies out there and to be truthful Tesla would do better by themselves and their customers to "sub-contract out" this feature to one of the industry subject matter experts. Garmin, TomTom and Magellan being the biggest of them and I'm sure any of them would jump at the chance to be associated with Tesla and the world class products Tesla produces. All of the features noted above and many more are already very mature in the GPS industry so this time Tesla, seek outside expertise and give your customers a better feature faster.
Thanks and Cheers
Carl | 7 février 2014

I'd be surprised if Tesla could do anything with routing algorithms. I assume they would handle integration and determining what options to use, but they would be using whatever there supplier was delivering.

I understood this was built on Navigon (owned by Garmin) which generally seems to get good reviews, although I see a few comments on not always choosing the best route.

Captain_Zap | 7 février 2014

I heard buzz that, something is coming that will "make you very happy". That is all the information I got besides a sly smile. The comment was regarding the Nav system. Those sly smiles have been quite reliable. It is when I don't see that sly smile that I have my doubts.

lph | 7 février 2014

Stop complaining…..Hey, I thought you guys wanted to drive this car. Its a special Tesla app to allow you to drive a few extra few miles and be able to blame it on something else, so you don't get in trouble ;-D

shop | 7 février 2014

Yeah, well I'd be happy with a Nav that actually worked. It does work for local routes most of the time, but anything longer than 45 minutes it goes off the deep end. Being in software myself, I hate it when companies go off and design the next better mousetrap before they even have the basic functionality working correctly. Normally I'm a Tesla booster, but this issue has me steamed. Having my ICE driving wife saying, "you have got to be kidding me" when I gave her printed Google maps for a trip she is taking does not help.

Captain_Zap | 7 février 2014


I never considered the Nav system a part of a car's basic functionality. I still prefer paper maps for the big picture.
I haven't figured out how to unfold that 17" screen.

I have to admit that it is cool that you can ask the car where the closest Chinese food is. It even found my dentist by name. That's cool.

jbunn | 7 février 2014

I love the nav, especialy being able to ask for a business and get the closest match. Same experience as Captain Zap.

Only bad thing is this navi loves Market street in San Francisco as it's preferred route and it always tries to put me on Market..

If you drive in the city, you get the joke.

Roamer@AZ USA | 7 février 2014

Sometimes you have to outsmart it. I just pick a city or intersection on the route I want and NAV to that. Then NAV to the next spot. Would be nice to be able to set waypoints like a Garmin but you can go around that short coming in about five seconds with a couple of destinations that route it the way you want to go. Once you NAV to them they show up as destinations. It's easy to jump between destinations.

Just finished a 1000 mile round trip. Hit two super chargers each way and a service center along with two business destinations. The GPS routed all without difficulty. I evaluated distances constantly by navigating to super chargers and then end destinations and managing range with the information.

When my wife calls and asks when I will be home I tap my home address answer the question then tap the SC I am going to and NAV to that.

You have to remember the NAV is an aid not a substitute for your brain or even common sense. I love the giant map display. I can see the entire route clearly.

Roamer@AZ USA | 7 février 2014

I drive my kids nuts because I route how I want and force the NAV to recalc to my decisions. They are from the blindly follow the map software generation. | 7 février 2014


The navigation provided through the tech package is from Garmin.


tezzla.SoCal | 7 février 2014

what cracks me up is the wrong directions to the superchargers! It always tries to get me lost when I go to Hawthorne.

Roamer@AZ USA | 7 février 2014

Tezzla, Now I know why my brother ended up at a locked gate in the middle of the night and limped back to Carlsbad getting home with a negative five miles. He never did find the Hawthorne SC that night.

I will have to stop teasing him. I told him how hard can it be to touch the super charger on the map and just go there. Evidently harder than it should be.

triss1 | 8 février 2014


I had the same experience with Mishawaka. If you come off the Indiana Toll Road headed east, nav will tell you to turn right and then a quick left. Unfortunately there is no street where it wants the left. I ended up with a long detour through Notre Dame campus. The first turn should have been a left.

Paddlegirl7 | 8 février 2014

What I've noticed is that the nav system does not take traffic into account in its time projection to the destination. Sitting in traffic looking at "red" traffic for the next couple of miles, I routed 'home' on the car and got 19 minutes - the time it takes on a good night with no traffic. On the google ap for iPhone it gave me 27 minutes, much closer to reality. Frustrating, but now that I know, I'll use the phone to figure out how long it will take.

Interesting, because the nav system seems to VERY accurately show where the traffic is. Hopefully someday it will use that in the time calculation.

Low CG | 8 février 2014

I love Tesla's Nav. Never sent me on a goose chase. Uber easy to pull up destinations. Want frustrating? Try the Rube Goldbergian system in my wife's Escalade. Or the last Ford I rented.

gauss256 | 8 février 2014

I've used standalone Garmin units for years and they are generally really good. Given that the Model S nav system is powered by Garmin, it is surprising that is so weak.

I generally use my phone to navigate via Google maps. Not nearly as nice as the integrated experience in the nav system, but it's more important that I can trust the results.

The good news is that improving the nav system is just a software update and it seems that it is on the radar screen for Tesla.

shop | 8 février 2014

The Tesla Nav system is their own software, powered by both Navigon and Google Maps. You can tell because it has so many bugs. You would think that giving proper directions to their own Superchargers would be a priority, but I guess not.

Good idea Roamer on the DIY waypoint idea. I'll have to do that next time. Use Google Maps to get the correct route and then pick waypoints to enter into the Nav.

I got an email back from Ownership:

"Thank you for being an early supporter. Software 6.0, which will be available in the coming weeks will make improvements to the navigation system. This includes traffic consideration for maps and navigation."

inverts | 8 février 2014

No complaints with nav at all. I am very impressed with it.

I remember that I was looking for a restaurant I had seen before in Santa Barbara, something cat. So used voice control to ask for "cat restaurant" while driving. As my wife said "that's never gonna work" I get the nav voice instructions on how to get to The Hungry Cat (nice seafood joint).

I am sure there are glitches, but overall it is amazingly good. Also missed an exit once, and nav rerouted me on the fly over some complicated cloverleaf.

On the other hand, in Florida we got a nav system for a rental car, and I could not even figure out how to operate it. Used google maps on my iPhone instead. The Tesla system wins hands down.

jai9001 | 8 février 2014

I've had no problems with the Nav, but I think the issue here is a conflict between Navigon and Google maps.

I assume the reason to add Navigon was to maintain service if one was in an area without 3g connection or if one decided not to pay for the future service.

If Tesla abandoned the 3g issue and made it free for the life of the car, couldnt the Nav just use google maps exclusively?

Just speculating.

My sense is its Navigon giving the faulty directions.

PBEndo | 8 février 2014

I don't use the NAV very often but I find the functionality is great. The actual directions,though, have on a couple of occasions, been way off. When checked against Google maps on my phone, the phone always had correct directions when the Tesla system was wrong.

brooklynrab | 8 février 2014

Google bought Waze this summer for a reason (Waze the Israeli-developed mapping app for your phone). I find that Waze on my phone gives the best navigation, bar none, because of the traffic interface. Just run it through your bluetooth audio and you'll get there efficiently. Sooner or later it will make google nav better to (or why would google have bought it?).

Dr. Bob Reinke | 8 février 2014

First: My experience has been that Tesla seems to be unable to find a popular commercial address, but instead navs to a farm several miles down the same road. Upon leaving the resort, although the freeway is less than 5 miles away, The Tesla Nav directs me in the oposite direction for over 40 miles before intersecting the same freeway. So far out into the wilderness that the NAV maps go blank from no communication.

Secondly: The only place my Model S has been damaged has been on the Illinois Tollway. Trying to avoid this construction rubble excuse for a road as I might, the turn-by-turn keeps directing me back the that miles long parking lot. The fact that it is in gridlock seems to have no consideration for Tesla NAV.

My Garmin has none of these foibles and can be relied on to give easy and functional turn-by-turn instructions. I find it hard to believe that the Tesla Navication has anything to do with Garmin. There is absolutly no simularity in functionality. There are times when the Tesla GPS has no base in reality. | 8 février 2014

Tesla nav never took traffic into consideration (as is true of most car nav systems). Elon has stated 6.0 will take traffic into consideration with nav, which will be nice.

I've found the nav to be reasonably accurate. When I first got the MS, I was really pissed when it kept trying to go the wrong way for 25 miles (where I knew where I was going). Later looking at the "Places" history, I discovered it was going to the right street, just in the wrong city (i.e. stupid user error)! When you enter a partial address, and Google makes suggestions, check that the city is where you want to go!

I've also had at least 4-5 occasions where there was no 3G signal, and having the built-in Garmin still routed me correctly. Google maps is good, but can't be depended on if you get to a dead cell area.

edfinn | 8 février 2014

I have found the Nav system routing to minimize miles, rather than time, especially when going to/from Superchargers while on a long trip on the Interstate. Both times through Savannah, for example, the NAV system routed us for miles over back country roads to get to the Interstate from the Supercharger at the Airport, rather than backtrack a mile and get right on I-95. Same with Rocky Mount, NC on a trip from NYC to Miami. Each time a late night back country ride to the SC as miles dwindled was not comforting.

Doug H | 8 février 2014

On the one hand, the Nav system got from the JFK SC and up to Stamford, CT with all the twists and turns. I felt safe and trusting of the system. On the other hand, on Wednesday snow began to fall in the early morning in NY. I had to make a trip back up to Stamford so I decided to leave very early. Snow was still falling and the roads were not yet cleared. So, every turn brought with it possible peril.

This time I traveled from Manhattan to Stamford. Twice the Nav system took me off of 95. First it took me across a bridge into Long Island, I think, then back across the same bridge. The it had me exit 95, follow a side road, then get back onto 95. 95, by the way, was the safest road. The surface streets were much worse.

I arrived safely. However, I paid two unnecessary tolls and wasted about 10 minutes on surface streets because of bad directions.

BTW, I am from Atlanta and know little about New York City.

AoneOne | 8 février 2014

Frankly, I blame Garmin. Instead of developing a smartphone version of their well-regarded software, they bought Navigon. Even though it now carries the Garmin name, its poor performance assures Garmin that people who care will still buy their stand-alone units. They could have owned the mobile market, instead of conceding it to Google.

One particular area in which Garmin appears to excel is its use of reason to avoid getting confused by momentary misinformation from the GPS. Garmin knows that you can't magically jump from a freeway to a nearby surface street, but both Google Maps and the Tesla occasionally make that mistake causing misrouting, such as the types of detours described by Doug H.

bp | 9 février 2014

While I agree with Tesla's strategy to focus their software development on addressing charging and sleep (vampire load) issues first - I've had my Model S for over a year - and in that time the only noticeable improvement to the NAV software was adding the "2x" magnification feature plus the list of the superchargers.

The Tesla onboard software has access to a lot of navigation information (maps, routes, speed limits, current road speeds, accidents, weather conditions, changes in elevation, location of charging stations, ...) - and uses almost none of this information.

This is probably the one area where Tesla could make the greatest improvement in the Model S - and all of the improvements can be implemented with software.

Hopefully the upcoming version 6 release will show some major improvements - and Tesla will be dedicating at least part of their software staff to implementing improvements to the navigation and entertainment software - and will continue to implement improvements to keep the Model S up-to-date with newer features, as they become generally available for other vehicles...

Thomas N. | 9 février 2014

In Tesla's defense, bp, they did incorporate Vehicle Up instead of only North Up in one of the releases and that was a big one for me.

Roamer@AZ USA | 9 février 2014

People people people. It is OK to look at the route calculated by the GPS and then make a decision to ignore the GPS and pick a better route. With the giant map displayed it is very easy to improve on the computer generated route.

I have been using GPS devices since the first ones existed and I have never just followed the directions without evaluating what was being recommended by the little device. Running Garmins in remote areas from topo map chips can get you in really big trouble if you don't pay attention to where you are and how the device is routing.

I have yet to find any GPS system that does not occasionally send you over the edge of a cliff if you are not paying attention. It's an aid not something smarter than you.

That said, I do look forward to each improvement in the systems functionality.

Try this sometime. Have each passenger use a different app to map to the same location and listen to all the different direction you get. It is hilarious to hear them each saying, go left, go right go straight at the same time.

The ability to drop a pin and navigate to it would be really nice. Or the ability to save a current location. I have found my phone contacts to be a terrific work around to the NAV system limited capabilities to save and remember locations.

Roamer@AZ USA | 9 février 2014


I totally agree. I much prefer maps to display in direction of travel. I am also glad they don't display 3d on the main map. The combination of a traditional map view on the large screen and a 3d view on the small left screen next to the speedo is pure genius.

My kids think the 3D view is defective in Arizona because it does not show cactus in the graphics. Oh well nothing is perfect.

J.T. | 9 février 2014

@Roamer I was going to New Jersey from long island one day and my 4 year old daughter begged to come along. I told her she would be bored but she pleaded with me to take her. So take her I did.

After an hour or so she asked, "Daddy, when will we get to New jersey?"
"Honey," I said, "we've been in New Jersey ever since we crossed that big steel bridge."

She burst into tears.

"What's wrong, honey, why are you crying?"

"Well, on the map, New Jersey was pink!!"

Roamer@AZ USA | 9 février 2014

@jtodman. Life thru the eyes of a child. I agree with her it should be color coded. Brilliant.

shop | 9 février 2014

@jtodman, that was just too precious!

Brian H | 9 février 2014

What color did the map show NY as?

ChopinBlues | 9 février 2014

@Captain_Zap: you unfold the 17" screen by placing your thumb and forefinger on the screen, and then pinch them together. :-)

J.T. | 9 février 2014

@BrianH Green

hordsterMD | 9 février 2014

The Nav system does not know that the Inter County Connector in the DC Maryland suburbs exists. The Connector has been open for over 2 years and shows on the maps display but not the nav display. It is the on the route that I use to get to the Rockville service center from Baltimore. It IS amusing to hear the nag voice continually trying to reroute me as i drive it. It makes me wonder what else is inaccurate.

Thomas N. | 9 février 2014

I disagree Roamer. I don't want to look at the GPS directions and then make a better decision. I want it to provide me with the best decision in the first place. I don't want to use my iPhone as backup. I don't want to phone a friend and ask for better directions. I want the Nav in my vehicle to do this for me.

In my case if I was an out of towner and wanted to go to that restaurant I would have gone in the completely wrong direction at the T-intersection had I depended upon the Tesla Nav directions. My wife and I have driven in circles enough times now to not trust it. It was great locally because we understand where we are going but it was terrible in Palm Springs a couple weeks ago and worse in San Diego last month.

I know it will improve - it's software after all.

Captain_Zap | 9 février 2014


That is interesting. My dentist changed his office location two months ago. On a whim I called it up on my nav system. They found my dentist at his new location. I was blown away that it was so current. I expected the result to be wrong.

Yet, your street data is not being updated. There is a hole in the network that apparently needs filling.

My dentist's phone company or something must have submitted the new data regarding his location to a database. They may not even know what the process was to get the information updated.

How does a new road update its information? Map makers used to be the ones that were rewarded for updating the data. People bought new maps each year and there were paper map businesses that were very successful.

It seems like the nautical charts are doing much better at staying current than terrestrial mapping. They charge big bucks for charts. Paper and electronic. I still can't plot a course on a electronic chart. Details get lost when zooming in and out.

kirkcartozian | 4 avril 2014

It's absolutely embarrassing that my VZ Navigator (offered by Verizon Wireless), AT&T Navigator and even Waze offer better routing options than my $100,000. In fact, the actual problem is that Tesla uses Google, which doesn't offer different route options. It only offers one, which doesn't even account for the real time traffic showed on its own maps. SMH

hammy16 | 4 avril 2014

We were frustrated with the directions to the Harris ranch supercharger on Calif I-5 where going south it takes you past the exit and the next turn is another 10 miles. As a minimum you would hope it
would route you to the supercharger locations correctly as that is where you typically might not have
time and milage to waste..

This was about a year ago and my wife sailed past the intersection and I just happened to be
tracking her as she was not aware until way too late that she had passed it. May have been
corrected since then..

Brian H | 5 avril 2014

Needs an "error!" flag you can send in to report mistakes!

ChopinBlues | 5 avril 2014

Another problem I recently noticed, is that it refuses to modify the route appropriately when you don't follow the directions. I recently took a different way home to avoid some traffic, and the Nav kept insisting on making a U-turn, and going back to the original route, LONG AFTER the original route no longer made any sense whatsoever. I don't know of a single other NAV device that doesn't handle this situation correctly.

jacobimm | 5 avril 2014

I live in the Seattle area which has the largest ferry system in the country. The Tesla Nav assumes you are going to take a ferry if that route is shorter by as little as 10 - 15 miles. But in real life nobody will choose to take a ferry (which involves long wait times and is expensive) when they can drive a few extra miles and take the land route. My previous GPS had options to avoid ferry, toll roads etc. But I have not found anything like that in the Tesla.