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Road Tripping Around Europe in a Tesla Is Less Fun Than You’d Think (bloomberg.com)
170 points by pseudolus 43 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 444 comments

I really don't get why all the charging networks in Europe require you to sign up, get a card, download an app, etc. It's ridiculous. My sister drives an electric car, they have 5 cards from different charging networks, and she still struggles to find a charger that actually lets her charge.

Every gas station accepts normal debit and credit cards. There is no gas station that requires you to sign up before filling your tank. It is ridiculous.

Why can't the charging networks just install a normal credit/debit card reader and let people pay with their normal cards? It's mind-boggling.

I really don't get why all the charging networks in Europe require you to sign up, get a card, download an app, etc. It's ridiculous.

2019's "sign up, get a card, download an app" is like 1990's "Leave your name and contact information. Our sales people will contact you."

I was shocked the other day to see a water dispensing ... thing, that required you to download an app. An app. For water that is free from another very similar water dispensing thing call a tap!

Is it possible this exists to prevent homeless people from using it?

Found it! It's an app called "Chill H2O" and the company is https://chill.net.au/

Make of them what you will

Homeless people don't deserve water?

Well, in Verona, Italy, a few years ago the mayor installed benches with an armrest to make it harder for homeless people to sleep on them [1]. His party (Lega) is now (practically speaking) leading Italy. I wouldn't be surprised if many people would be in favor of forbidding black migrants from "stealing our water".


Sorry for the OT.

[1] http://www.veramente.org/images/users/veramente/2013_panchin...

It's called hostile design[1] and is not specific to Italian cities.

[1] https://99percentinvisible.org/article/unpleasant-design-dis...

Edited to add this link : https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/unpleasant-design-hos...

This unfortunately happens all the time, it's called hostile architecture. [1]

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostile_architecture

I didn’t say I supported it

Homeless people don’t have smartphones?

I would imagine that within the class of homeless people, undesirability in public area correlates with likelihood of having no phone?

If I were homeless, a smartphone would be near the top of my list of useful things to have. I'm not sure your correlation holds...

I imagine it would. If you read again I’m trying to distinguish people who are homeless and people who are mentally ill, filthy, and verbally threatening homeless. I don’t think we should restrict people’s access to water, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all if this was a motivation. I would bet that the least desirable people in society don’t have smartphones generally.

More likely a bunch of overfunded, SV nitwits sent a very successful sales rep

> If you read again I’m trying to distinguish people who are homeless and people who are mentally ill, filthy, and verbally threatening homeless.

You do not seem to have made that distinction anywhere in your comments.

If there were a group most likely to not have a smartphone, homeless people likely surpass those who willfully give them up.

Homeless people almost always have a smartphone, and can usually tell you where the best free WiFi locations are.

I don't think there is any correlation at all between having a phone and desirability.

Im not homeless and I wouldn't be able to use it.

> 1990's

There are many sites like that on the internet today. Ever had to buy enterprise software?

Those products typically go right to the end of my list.

For what it's worth, that's exactly what they want you to do if you're only casually interested in the product.

There are other ways to accomplish that.

NB: I said other, not better.


Well, I know of a couple that lost the chance of participating in some government specs because they had such sites and were hard to reach.

"Casually interested" can mean a lot of things, all look the same to the seller.

I find this interesting. Don't you want to spread knowledge about and sympathy for your product as wide as possible to get a good base of advocates, eventually reaching decision makers? (See: Student licenses, open source and such)

Totally depends on the product. OSS? Social? Consumer? Media? Sure! Enterprise/Productivity? Not as much.

What you want is your sales team following high probability of conversion leads.

If I make you jump through a few hoops just to talk to a sales person, then I've already weeded out most of the people who wouldn't buy it anyway.

Or download Docker... :P

>Leave your name and contact information. Our sales people will contact you.

This happens far too often in 2019 as well.

It absolutely does, but the businesses that work that way are dinosaurs run by people with a 1970s mindset.

Not necessarily.

I recently purchased software to the tune of ~AUD$25k, where downloading and installing a trial version makes almost no sense given the target audience: laser cutter, where each model of machine from any specific manufacturer can have a slightly different dialect of G-Code, and this type of software is often way too complicated for the average operator to nut.

So I sent a couple of emails and got swift responses and screen-sharing demos from both companies I contacted.

The sorts of programs I can download a trial version of and have running in half an our or so are nowhere near as mature as the products we short listed.

So I'm going to suggest it depends a lot on the target audience. When you're handing over multiple tens of thousands for a semi-bespoke software package management, in my experience, typically require interaction with a sales agent. This is in the context of physical industry, I can't speak for the software world, where perhaps spending multiple tends of thousands on online services is common? I have no idea.

It all depends on the product. Once you start getting into niche products which cost thousands or tens of thousands per year to use, the assumption is that the customer is a serious business with funding that has a known problem to solve. There will be a much smaller number of approaches than with a cheap consumer facing product and a conversion is worth a lot, so it makes sense to pair prospective customers with a domain specialist / sales person immediately to tailor the pitch to the specific candidate, modify the solution as necessary to fit the customer's needs, and make sure they are happy.

> Leave your name and contact information. Our sales people will contact you.

What would be the right way?

How about turn up, NFC/swipe and plug in. Not customer experience should be "improved" by an app.

Or insert credit card.

Or one of the many collect call phone numbers.

progress doesn't solve the 'we need money, thus we need clients'; it's a game of whack-a-mole..

Venture capital.

Selling electricity for money is not exciting. It's a simple and relatively low-margin commodity transaction. It's not going to create a unicorn. Making the transaction more complicated and collecting a bunch of user data increases the bullshit surface area for your pitch deck. If you're vague enough about what your business model really is, you might just fool someone into thinking that you can make them a whole bunch of money.

Because they can't harvest your information if you don't sign up for stuff.

Couldn't a card number be tokenized in some way so as to allow for tracking?

I dont think so, this would probably go against PCI DSS.

Most payment gateways offer a card fingerprinting feature. Here’s Stripe’s: https://stripe.com/docs/api/cards/object#card_object-fingerp....

It’s fine with PCI DSS as long as it is not reversible.

Stripe and Square both identify consumers by their unique CC numbers. If I swipe my card on a square reader, it recognizes me and asks if I want a receipt sent to my phone or email, even if I’ve never purchased from that vendor before.

The whole point of tokenizing is to get rid of PCI problems on CC analysis and testing, as I understand it.

Is there credit card tokenization services from which you can get a token identifying permanently a card without the possibility to make a payment?

Yes, most PSPs do this. E.g. Stripe calls it a fingerprint. It's only valid for your merchant ID (i.e. if we both signed up for Stripe and swiped the same card, we'd get different fingerprints).

https://stripe.com/docs/api/tokens/create_card (notice the request has no charge, but the response contains a fingerprint).

To state the obvious: it's not determinstic outside of Stripe, and there's no way to revert it, or even iterate over all CC numbers and brute force the space. You'd need Stripe's secret, e.g. assuming they use HMAC.

Not really. I work with payment processing, I've got the partially obscured credit card number, usually the name and the location. Plus a bunch of other info.

I've seen several deterministic tokenizers for payment cards.

Where there done by the payment processor like Artemis2 or in house?

I'm asking because I saw a lot of in-house tokenizer with hashes or deterministic encryption that could get reversed in a few seconds by brute force since the space to cover is so small.

Tokenized? One-way digest: SHA-512 the card number, iterate SHA-512 on the results 100 times, store that as your tracking code.

No. With 10^12 possible account numbers and a hash rate of ~10^10 H/s using off the shelf hardware [1] it would only take 100*(10^12/10^10) = 10000 seconds to deanonymise the token.

[1] https://gist.github.com/epixoip/a83d38f412b4737e99bbef804a27...

With 10^12 possible account numbers, it should be relatively easy to build a rainbow table for tokens of any practical complexity.

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

I would be completely unsurprised to find that other than having the data in some poorly secured database it isn't used for anything useful.

Never forget the corollary!

“...But don’t dismiss malice.” Dismissing reasonable concerns about a nearly universal practice is best done through reasoned argument, not aphorism.

To be pedantic, that's till harvesting your data, it's just not selling it.

Does that make it malicious and stupid?

I'm really surprised this was down voted so much. I really don't think it's all that controversial. Like so many websites require registration when you are almost guaranteed never to return.

I feel really bad for bobsmith@aol.com. He probably had to abandon that address years ago.

You should be aware that many malicious people feign incompetence when caught.

never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by profit motive.

If I may go a step further, usually gas stations also accept "normal" cash, which is even more normal (and BTW leaving less electronic traces) than "normal debit and credit cards".

Yeah, it would be awesome if you could just put a few Euro coins in a slot next to an outlet and it would let you take a couple of kWh. But dealing with physical cash is a hassle, so I understand why companies would prefer cards. We have a bunch of unattended gas stations around here, and you can't pay with cash there either.

Sure, everyone understands why companies would prefer cards, as a matter of fact companies would actually prefer to charge you € 1,000 (say) on 1st Jan of every year, and then reimburse whatever you haven't used/bought on the 31st of December, but here we are talking of what the customers would prefer.

At least here (Italy) it is unthinkable (yet) that a fuel station (attended or unattended) doesn't accept cash (besides Bancomat and debt/credit cards) (though all the petrol companies and the government is pushing for making everything digital, etc. like everywhere else).

Most self service petrol stations in Switzerland take card, as well as cash.

I think it heavily depends on the gas station.

For instance the cheapest chains (e.g. Total Access, Carrefour, Leclerc) often don't accept cash as there is most of the time no employee on premise, and they don't want to deal with vandalism.

In general France is progressively going away from cash. Using a credit card for super small transactions like buying bread at the bakery were deemed almost anti-social a few years ago, but more and more bakeries start to prefer it for speedier contact less payment for instance.

Even the us is super cumbersome. They should just support ApplePay, Google Pay and a credit card and be done with it.

Remembering the password for some finicky app just makes the quick fill up too much trouble.

Even better would be if the car had secure handshake so once you’ve registered once for a network, you can just plug in and be done.

> "They should just support ApplePay, Google Pay and a credit card and be done with it."

They should take cash.

With cash, what happens if I put in $5 and my car only uses $3 of electricity? Or if someone pulls out the charge cable after my car's only taken $1 of electricity?

With electronic payments, you can pre-authorize a reasonable amount, then charge the customer for the amount they've used - no excess charges or change required.

Wait, have you never paid cash at a gas station before?

You go up to the teller, tell him which pump your car is in, and get your $2 back.

Most car chargers are standalone devices in a parking lot. There is no teller to pay. I have never seen one with an attendant.

They could take cash automatically like a vending machine but that's going to require new staff to go around and collect money and deposit it. Probably much more expensive than taking credit cards.

Have the dispenser display a code for a $2 future credit. Or to be redeemed for cash at a later time somewhere cash transactions with humans exist. Or just use a standard vending machine module and give change with a restocking employee.

The market will decide if it's more expensive. Customers exist who will commute to another charger so they can pay cash. If the money left on the table is more than the cost of the cash module and attendant, it will be adopted.

I suspect that most new college grads have never used cash to buy gas (myself included).

Automated fuel stations are always the cheapest. The only reason to go to a manned station is for the shop or cafeteria and you're paying 5-10 cents more per litre for the privilege.

Or if you buy a ticket for cash at a train station from a vending machine, it gives you back change usually in dollar coins.

Or you could even buy a pre-paid RFID card with cash that keeps your balance on it. Many cities have vending machines that dispense these for bus fairs. There are numerous ways to do this, it's a solved problem many times over.

> "Wait, have you never paid cash at a gas station before?"

That seems to actually be a distinct possibility. Some people seem to use cash so infrequently they forget it even exists.

To be fair, paying with cash at a gas station is annoying if your objective is to fill your tank completely rather than spend X amount as it forces you to guess your prospective spend.

That depend on where you are. This started about how it is in Europe, where it is common to first fill your tank, then go inside to pay if you want to pay with cash

These stations can be unmanned.

what happens if I put in $5 and my car only uses $3 of electricity? Automated change has been a thing for ages, see: vending machines, public phones. Or if someone pulls out the charge cable after my car's only taken $1 of electricity? Mind your property.

> With cash, what happens if I put in $5 and my car only uses $3 of electricity? Or if someone pulls out the charge cable after my car's only taken $1 of electricity?

What happens is the same as when filling a car with gas.

Which is the attendant or cashier gives me change.

I haven’t seen a human attendant near any charge point stations.

Do the charger standards pass any data?

Like could you plug in, the car identifies itself as whatever VIN (add whatever anti-tampering challenge-response you want to armchair-design), and the electrons just start flowing?

That's how the Tesla chargers work.

It also looks like CHAdeMO has a 'Plug and Charge' protocol defined:


But that's pretty new, and not the SAE standard used in the US. So, it'll be a while...

I know ChargePoint stations in the US accept standard tap-and-pay, so are compatible with Google/Apple Pay.

> Even better would be if the car had secure handshake so once you’ve registered once for a network, you can just plug in and be done.

I'm really surprised this isn't how it works... Surely if they can figure out autopilot they can make charging seamless. Wait... never mind.

This is how the Tesla superchargers work - authorization and billing is all in-car and takes place automatically, so all you do is plug in and it immediately begins charging.

For other charging networks, however, it seems to be needlessly more complicated.

Even the us is super cumbersome.

I just present my RFID Chargepoint card, and it pretty much just works.

That is how Tesla's superchargers work.

It's quite sad that this comment (which is currently at the top) is full of misinformation.

Yes, you need an RFID card (or keychain hanger), because these are low-margin transactions; transaction fees would make charging more expensive, and the fees to maintain card readers would mean that there would be much fewer charging points as they would be more expensive to install.

No, you don't need an app. Some charge points allow you to use an app instead of a card, if you prefer that. But that's by no means required, you can always use a card instead.

No, you don't need 5 cards. One card (plus a backup one in case of an outage) should be plenty, the exception being if you're going abroad (this depends on the roaming agreements your card provider has). Now, some cards offer cheap rates at some charge points, so by having multiple cards it's possible to save some money. But that's by no means required.

Transaction fees for European PIN transactions aren't that crippling, and the convenience of being able to actually recharge is easily worth a couple of cents. These required signups are just needless fragmentation of an already small market.

What I don't get is why every gas station does not also have at least one charging point. They've got air for your tires, sometimes a car wash, and tons of other conveniences, but no electricity? Electricity should be the easiest thing in the world.

The whole point is of course that eventually you can recharge wherever you park, but that means there must be more places to recharge than there are gas stations, not less. This situation is ridiculous.

To be fair electric cars are still very much in their infancy. We are talking about 2-3% of all cars on the road.

I know Shell is actually starting to add electricity to their inventory in gas stations. But in urban Europe space is at a premium and the investments are huge.

Electric charging isn't a low margin operation. Sale prices for electricity via them routinely see a 200% margin compared to wholesale electricity prices.

The title here is "around Europe", which guarantees "abroad".

European's charging network infrastructure is probably more fragmented whereas in the U.S. there is only a few dominant ones: ChargePoint, EVgo and Tesla. Both can have iOS Passbook / Wallet integration so that you don't need a physical RFID card but rather a digital pass, pair with a NFC-capable phone, physical ID cards are eliminated.

There are a lot of reason the charging infrastructure market is fragmented, mostly due to it's the early days of EV-lution where market consolidation hasn't fully played out yet. Also building charging stations is a capital-heavy business since it involves the land lease/purchase as well as construction/equipments (DC fast charging stations are very expensive, the higher the power the more expensive)/installation (permits etc)/maintenance. A friend of mine spent his own money to install a ChargePoint 50kw DCFC at his restaurant, it ended up costing an upward of $50k - at $2/kwh charging rate, he would barely break even in 3 years.

>>he would barely break even in 3 years

from the profit at the charger, agreed. However, it's safe to presume this charger was installed in order to attract more wealthy customers -- ones who likely bring higher food & beverage profit margins than the average Corolla diver.

Yes and no. My friend told me that it didn't bring substantial business as he would have hoped for. But again, as a fellow EV enthusiast, installing a DCFC at his restaurant was his contribution to promote EV adoption rather than generating more revenue (nice to have). Obviously it would be a different story for different cases.

If he was charging a 10x markup on electricity, I’m not surprised he didn’t see a substantial uptick...

For most consumers, it isn't easy to find out the price of EV charging before arriving at the charger.

And by the time you've arrived, you probably are going to stay anyway, at least for a bit, because there probably aren't many other chargers available in your remaining range.

The same app/site that I use to find charging stations tells me exactly what they charge for parking time and electricity consumption.

Even if it didn't, most business relies on repeat customers. You can shear a sheep many times, but skin it only once.

I wouldn't be sure about that. Depending on incentives, a Nissan Leaf can be even cheaper than a Toyota Corolla.

Yes - the EV incentive outlook have been changing quickly in Trump administration though. A lot of EV makers are undergoing phase out periods too, Tesla & GM and soon Nissan

I really don't get why it's so impossible to just add a (contactless or normal) card payment terminal to the stations. The standard gas stations will have those, always.

It's cost concerns, I suspect. Gas pump credit frauds are also a concern.

Because the first thing you do after fraudulently using a credit card is waiting around at the scene of the crime for an hour while your car charges

Because capital investment funded companies have very different goals than a traditional business.

A traditional business has cash flow as it's number one priority.

A young capital investment based company has market share and growth as it's top priority.

It's just a product of the priorities of how most modern businesses are created.

They'd grow faster if the charging stations were easier to use and didn't require signing up days I'm advance just to charge your car.

The company that fixes this poor experience and offers a simple credit/debit card payment option, like a standard gas pump, is going to win.

Didn’t ChargePoint already win, at least in the US?

It's still hilarious to me that the great investors and moneymen of the world have all gotten together and decided that "step 1 collect users, step 3 profit" is the best business model.

This is probably so that credit card fees can be avoided. An app can offer alternative ways to pay that don't incur a fee for the merchant. Also it's a new industry, so they likely want to collect data on where people with electric cars live so they know where the best location to build a charging station is.

Yes, I'm sure it's that and not additional revenue from selling the data to advertisers or insurance companies.

Every gas station accepts normal debit and credit cards.

On the other hand, skimmers and stolen cards are rampant at gas pumps. I'd be leery of deploying an unmanned roadside credit card reader. Maybe the extra vetting is an anti-fraud measure.

This just isn't a thing in Europe.

Card skimmers most definitely exist. Many ATMs have a warning sign to check if the card slot has been tampered with. And the use of chips instead of the magnetic strips they used in the past makes cards impossible to copy.

It's not a crippling problem, but that's largely because of such measures.

I'm not sure where you live, but it absolutely is a thing in my part of Europe (the UK).

What about all the vending machines that take credit cards?

All vending machines taking cards in Europe are NFC rather than magstripe, so aren't vulnerable to cloned cards.

Not true. Most I know use chipped cards. Magstripe is indeed dead because it's woefully outdated and insecure, but there's more than NFC.

Because of cost?

1. Cost per charge << per tank, and

2. cost credit car reader >> rfid reader.

I would think that if you are setting up a charging station, buying half a dozen of commercial credit card readers would be cheaper than developing/testing/maintaining a specific payment app.

It's cheaper to develop the app that authorizes you to charge and deducts from a balance ($10, for example) than the credit card transaction fees that are unsustainable at charges between $0.50 and $10. This is no different than how tollways charge your credit card on file to replenish a balance, and then deduct from that balance (or even how Twilio does billing).

TLDR Credit card fees are expensive, especially when your margins are thin and you are not yet at scale where you have pricing power to pressure processors to lower your CC fees.

For road trippers, maybe an extra $1 convenience charge for using a CC, while signing up for the app waives that charge would work.

For those on a once in a while trip, they can eat the several dollars in convenience fees, while those that travel regularly can get their app of choice.

It's also not fun to leave some dollars hostage on some app as a credit when you may use them months or years later.

These are great shims until billing is part of the vehicle-charger negotiation prior to charging starting.

Credit card readers are dirt cheap.

You should pay for a reliable model, but the same applies to RFID. Still not very much.

At least in the UK, until quite recently most networks were subscription clubs rather than pay as you go. There was no incremental charge for filing up, just a £10/year membership charge.

Now EVs have become more popular, the charging model is changing to a more sustainable system. The government is also working to enforce roaming between networks.

credit/debit transactions are too expensive for these small transactions to be viable. many stores have a „no cards below 10€“ policy because of this.

€10?! That is excessive. In the past, there have been shops that asked not to use a debit card for small transactions, but these days many shops welcome them, because handling cash is also expensive. (My favourite cheese shop is the lone exception: they only accept cash and nothing else. Luddites, but great and cheap cheese.)

Credit cards are extremely rare in Europe, and only few places accept them at all, unless they're compatible with standard bank card transactions. Bank card transactions aren't that expensive and used for absolutely everything, including very small transactions.

For recharging your car, there's really no problem at all to rely on standard bank cards.

Not in Europe where card fees are capped


there are neither references nor a timestamp on that article.

at least in germany, where OP was trying to charge along the route, there is a minimum transaction fee charged by most payment providers.

You are still allowed to ask a reasonable minimum fee, depending on the payment method. Is 10 EUR reasonable for refuel? (instead of refilling 2€ only)

However price must be the same for all payment methods.

If there is an administrative fee it also must be the same across payment methods, excluding business cards and Amex/Diners.


Is this really true? Around here (Oakland, California) the parking meters take credit cards. Today for example, I paid $0.50 US for parking using a Visa card.

the first offer I found for the first offer i found for german CC terminals (sumup.de): - 2.75% on credit card tx - .95% on EC tc (popular form of debit cards) - no base fee

I only found secondary sources for the direct way, but they state (zahlungsverkehrsfrafen.de) - .3%, at least .08€ for EC tx - 2-4% for CC tx, depending on provider

Wifi has been like that for like 15+ years and it seems way harder to sign up to one of those. It effectively means I'll never use it.

If someone made a WiFi protocol which allowed me to "autoconnect and use WiFi whenever the price per GB was under $2", I'd make a lot of use of it.

As it is, connecting to "free WiFi" just isn't worth the hassle of clicking through T&C pages, and paid WiFi is even worse.

It's bugged me that this whole song and dance of wifi portals; unencrypted wifi, dns spoofing, and sign in pages have been around for over a decade and none of the wifi revisions formalized this. It's been a kludgey cat-and-mouse where the OS checks captive.apple.com and gives you a modal pop up, some wifi networks let you send iMessages and gmail, but wont let you browse without paying. In then end you're still using unencrypted wifi.

I've heard there is finally some future wifi spec formalizing open portals that negotiate to an encrypted connection.


The funny thing is, I made the trip from Lille, France (near where I live) to Poznan in Poland, a few stops required all along and no problem - more than 2000km on a few days.

In the summer, in France, Lille to Alps then Ardeche and no problem.

Same for my past vacations here in the South of France (Ardeche, France), around 1000 km long trip and same for getting back here.

I've been using my Tesla (TS85D) since Nov2015, and the only time I had a short stress was while I went seeing Elon Musk in Paris because there were hundred of Teslas in the same area.

So, frankly, I respect the author of this article, but I think if you're following what is displayed on board and adding a little logical thinking and planning a bit your trip in some remote areas (Britany for example) (with OpenChargeMap or ChargeMap applications among others), then it's all good.

That's the problem. The author admits to not using the onboard charging navigation but instead used Google Maps to plan the trip. She's intentionally being obtuse to make the article clickbait and make EVs look bad.

Do all cars come with a trip planning feature? IE, if she had rented a BMW or Volvo, would she be able to use the Tesla app or similar?

From my perspective, people are used to being able to pull off the highway just about anywhere and fill their tanks. Having to plan everything down to the mile, even for a mostly highway trip through populated areas, is a major change of thinking.

For example, take this trip... https://www.tesla.com/trips/#/?v=MS_2017_100D&o=Reston,%20VA...

In my ICE car, I usually stop in Richmond or Williamsburg to get a snack and use the restroom. Based on Tesla's app, I now have to stop twice (once to pee, again to charge). And that second stop is longer than a 5 minute fuel fill. Not the end of the world, but different. Also, there is no charging station at the destination, so I now need to manage my mileage while at the beach to ensure I can get to the closest charge 10 miles to the south (which then adds time to the start of the return journey). Again, not an insurmountable obstacle, but it sure does add complication to a trip I make several times/year with a car full of family and pets.

Edit - I'm not trying to be snarky or difficult. I really have no idea how people plan their EV trips, as I don't own one (and probably can't any time soon, as I don't have a dedicated parking spot to install a charger at home).

Edit2 - if I change the charger routing to the smaller battery pack, it recommends two stops, adding even more time. This would likely be the case for any EV except Tesla, or possibly a Bolt?

It's built in to the Tesla's on-board navigation. It's not a separate app. The interface on a Tesla shows a big map and it displays Supercharger locations on the map when your range is inadequate or you can also manually show the locations via an icon. It also automatically routes directions to Superchargers if the route doesn't include enough charge to reach the destination.

I don't think you are being totally fair here (and most people aren't when making the long distance EV vs ICE comparison). If you have a car full of kids and pets, are you really only stopping for 5 minutes in your ICE during a 5+ hour trip?

And in your hypothetical EV scenario, when you make the first restroom stop, there is no reason you can't do that at a charging station and top up, cutting some time off of your second refuel stop.

Another thing to consider, most people who get an EV can charge at home or at work, so they likely eliminate all gas stops during their day-to-day commutes. And that can add up to a lot of time savings (the optimistic refueling time is 5 mins, but I have had plenty take closer to 20 due to lines, traffic, out of the way, etc...). So yeah, maybe long trips require a little more planning, and a marginal amount of extra time, but it feels like nitpicking.

When they were little? You’re right. Once they were in their pre-teens? We tried to stop as infrequently, and quickly, as possible. So, 2x 15-20 minute charges wouldn’t be much change, if any.

Still doesn’t help when I get there and the nearest charger is 10 miles from the house (though I suspect home-owners will start installing chargers before too long).

Anyway, I was mostly interested in how non-Tesla EV owners plan their trips, as most of the other respnses were along the lines of “use the Tesla’s belt-in planner”.

If I can figure out how to charge at home, I’ll likely own an EV for our next secondary car. Used Leafs are pretty tempting for cheap around-town cars.

I was assuming one could trickle charge at their destination. If there is a 220V outlet than that should be sufficient, but if you are doing it on 110v, then yeah, you would have to probably swing by a charging station.

I agree regarding the used Leaf, I have been keeping my eye on those. And I think for now, the optimal situation for most folks is to have one ICE and one low capacity EV assuming you can charge at home or at work. And for apartment dwellers, I think e-bikes and scooters are a fun alternative (I am an e-bike owner).

The destination above is a beach vacation destination. Hotels/motels/condos would all be hit or miss for any outlet. Rental homes might have a 110V outlet on the exterior (for lawn maintenance, etc). Chances of a 220V would be near zero, unless the homeowner added one for their own EV (or is trying to attract EV owners). That'll change over time, but slowly.

Use plugshare.com to search for chargers, or abetterrouteplanner.com to plan trips.

Thanks for sharing abetterrouteplanner.com. Planning a couple long distance trips that I commonly take seems much less odious than I would have expected. Although the last time I seriously considered buying a Tesla their network was much less well developed. I'm two years away from making that decision again and it seems much more likely that I'll consider a Model S or X then. Although there are still many aesthetic intangibles that make Teslas less appealing to me. But at least range anxiety seems more manageable.

If EVs are going to go truly mainstream, people are going to have to be allowed to use the navigation app of their choice.

When I ask my car to find the nearest gas station, it gives me the same results as Apple Maps.

Whether this is Tesla's fault, or Google's fault, or someone else's is complex.

That's totally fine and I agree with that but the car's in-built navigation tells you where the stops are when you get to a point that your car won't make it. She had to ignore those prompts in order to get into the situation she's in. Granted, she admits to driving an older model Tesla that she rented but it's really unlikely that the cars operating system hasn't been updated to include that feature.

Granted, she admits to driving an older model Tesla that she rented

If my eight year old Leaf has that functionality, I'm confident that the skankiest of Model Ss will.


I like your moves.

Agreed. You reaaaaaly don’t want to be driving around France without Waze telling you where the photo radar is.

Probably true of Germany as well.

Why? Unless you constantly drive too fast?

Speed limits change far more frequently than I’m used to.

And the signs are different than what I’m used to, so they don’t jump out at me.

The whole point of the article was that EVs (in this case, specifically Teslas) are not yet ready to be driven like normal cars, i.e., without regard to planning refueling stops.

It's not clickbait, it's literally the point of the test and the resultant article.

I'd like to see the opposite story: where a reporter drives an ICE car around town for a week and then it suddenly dies in the middle of the road because you have to go to a special station to refuel it instead of doing it in your garage every night.

It's true that road trips take a bit more care. (Although not much; all you have to do is put your destination into the car's navigation system, then make charging stops where it tells you to.) But "normal" cars aren't free of hassle either.

You just hit the nail on the head. Anything can be made to seem like a hassle if framed a certain way and that's my problem with this article. Everything is framed to make it seem worse than it is while simultaneously ignoring the benefits.

So it's ok for the article to be misleading and purposely misstate facts because the point of the article is sound? It's not sound. Plenty of people make those road trips with their Teslas and have tons of fun doing so.

EVs in general, and specifically NOT Tesla. If it was specifically about Tesla, she'd have used the superchargers exclusively and had a much better experience. OTOH, if she had used another EV with the same range, and not bothered to sign up for the various public charging networks' cards, she'd have had a much worse experience. This is.. a weird hodgepodge.

What exactly are you going on about? There are significantly less superchargers available in Europe, so how could she use them exclusively?

What's the use of a car that can only drive around a few places where superchargers exist?

There are 8 superchargers between Paris and Mannheim, no more than 160km between the furthest apart, and in most places there are 2 near each other. (just from looking at Tesla's map).

I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that she was trying to make a non-Tesla-specific example by also trying out other public charging stations, so that the article could analyze not JUST Tesla's network, but also the state of public charging in general.

If I wanted to be more critical, I'd have said it was stupid to bother trying to use other public charging facilities (other chargers or random wall outlets) when it would be far faster and more convenient (not to mention automatically planned for her) if she had just used the car's nav system to automagically plan the route and charging stops for her.

Your last sentence is not meaningful as there is no electric car that can only be driven "a few places where superchargers exist".

If I wanted to be really critical of your comments, I'd point out that she was quite frank about her article being about taking an EV on a European road trip, and just happened to choose a Tesla because it had the most range of the EVs available for rent. Because it was about EVs in general, she went out of her way to try and avoid using superchargers because those are Tesla-specific.

Her editor chose the headline, and presumably chose to specifically cite Tesla because it would draw in the eyeballs...which it did.

That's exactly what I was trying to point out.

It is also quite apparent she drives with zero regards for energy management. The energy usage gauge is prominently displayed in the dash, for similar reasons that you use a fuel gauge. If you are at all concerned that your range may be questionable for a leg, then it is quite trivial to drive more efficiently. The author seems to not care about this at all and wants to drive wastefully. This is fine, but it takes away a lot of weight when whinging about range and poor planning.

If you want range but don't care about speed, just use a bike.

Speed is pretty irrelevant. It’s actually acceleration and deceleration that matters.

This is pretty much backwards. Energy use per distance goes up as the square of the speed. Acceleration uses energy too, but deceleration recaptures most of it.

The tricks to really increase range are to keep speed moderate, follow a safe but close distance behind a large vehicle, and speed up and slow down gently.

“Speed up and slow down gently” - ie acceleration and deceleration.

Indeed, the resistance losses in an electric motor increase as the square of the current, torque increases linearly with current, so running higher current to produce more acceleration or deceleration is less efficient.

But, I^2 resistance is not a large effect compared to the losses from air resistance at high speeds. That is, slowing down from 75 to 65 will have more effect on range than how quickly you accelerate to 75.

> planning a bit

The joy of petrol cars in Europe: you don't have to plan where to recharge. And recharging will rarely take more than 15mn.

Yeah well, nobody's arguing that the electric charger network is as developed as the gas station network yet. It's getting better and better though

You cut a part of my sentence but still. "Panning a bit" in remote areas where you know that even Fuel Stations are hard to find.

> the only time I had a short stress was while I went seeing Elon Musk in Paris because there were hundred of Teslas in the same area

That's the scenario in which mobile charging stations make a lot of sense. They allow for a temporary increase in charger availability for the duration of some popular event like a sports final or a concert:


Instead of stopping at the Metz supercharger like the onboard navigation[1] would tell her to, this reporter with an axe to grind decides to do stupid things like charging to 100% to make a clickbaity article.

[1] Web version: https://www.tesla.com/trips/#/?v=MS_2017_100D&o=Paris,%20Fra...

From Paris to Metz is roughly 205 miles. Her car had a range of 215 miles and she notes that the onboard estimates have been off "by at least 10 percent every time". But you're telling me that the navigation would still recommend her to attempt that kind of leg, in an area where chargers may be sparse? Seems like bad UI/UX.

The parent posted a trip plan for a longer-range configuration. Switch to a smaller battery and... it shows a stop more or less right where the author's first planned stop was.

The dialogue on all sides around Teslas is so exhausting. This article isn't even about Tesla, really.

I agree that maybe this article would have been better suited if its headline was about how renting a Tesla for a tryout on a road trip is not a good idea (having never rented a car, I have no idea the lifestyle of people who rent when going on long leisure trips). It seems like many of her problems would have long been figured out by Tesla owners. But her complaints seem like the kind I would have if I were to try out a Tesla for fun -- I could definitely see myself underestimating how much research I need to do to properly plan a trip, compared to how little I have to plan when driving a gas guzzler. Obviously things will get better when infrastructure continues to improve, but unless Tesla is marketing its rentals as beta products, I don't think it's unfair to point out the limitations in the experience is as a paying customer today.

And as far as this being an indictment of EV in general, and how the author shouldn't have singled out Tesla. I thought it was more or less accepted that Tesla is the top-of-the-line EV brand. I agree this article applies to the EV experience in general -- and as a layperson, I'd want to hear what it's like for the car brand that I am far and away the most familiar with. If she had chosen a non-Tesla brand and written the same complaints, I have a feeling Tesla fans would complain how the author tarnished EV -- and by association, Tesla -- and thus how irresponsible she is for talking shit about EVs without trying a Tesla.

Tesla's navigation system has (and has had for some time) something called "Range Assurance". As long as you use the vehicle's navigation system, it will ensure you never run out of energy. It will route you to appropriate Superchargers on your route, and tell you roughly how long you need to dwell at each charger prior to continuing your journey. If you cannot make the return journey successfully, the navigation system will inform you of this. It shows you ever Supercharger on the navigation display without having to make any additional changes.

If you're going to write an article about roadtripping in a Tesla, and you don't know this information, don't mention it in your article, and just default to "I'm using Google Maps, whatevs", I have no faith in your journalistic ability. I am unsure what else Tesla could do to inform you of this if you're borrowing or renting the vehicle, as this information is in the vehicle manual, which is also available through the MCU when sitting in the car.

Disclaimer: Tesla investor and fan, Model S owner

> As long as you use the vehicle's navigation system

Again, I've never driven a Tesla. When you say "navigation system", is that something different than what the author refers to as the car's "dashboard"? From the article:

> About 50 miles from what I’d planned as my first pit stop, an inn near Chalons-en-Champagne, my dashboard tells me the Supercharger there is “temporarily unavailable.”

> I’m tired and hungry, and although my dashboard shows a Supercharger about five miles outside the city, I decide to go directly to my hotel, a half mile away.

She mentions using Google Maps, but it sounds like it's in conjunction with the info she's getting from the dashboard, e.g. to find other charging points that are near her current touristy destination that may not specifically be a SuperCharger:

> The area has several charging points, but after searching for one via Google Maps—like any other tourist—I’m directed to a shopping district with no place to plug in. I’m tired and hungry, and although my dashboard shows a Supercharger about five miles outside the city, I decide to go directly to my hotel, a half mile away.

The fact that Europe appears to have chargers compatible with Tesla and findable via Google Maps, yet can end up being dead-ends, seems like relevant information for people who are considering trying out EV road-tripping for the first time.

The OP just seems like another Tesla/Elon fanboy.

I fully support what Elon and Tesla are doing, but this Bloomberg article accurately points out the downsides of owning a Tesla, especially if it’s your primary car.

If you’re mostly using a Tesla to get around town and charging at home, it’s makes sense, but you’d be better off renting a car for road trips and not having to deal with this hassle.

A lot of people in America have not and still don’t buy diesels because those gas stations are not as ubiquitous as normal fuel. The problem exists to an even greater degree for electric cars, not to mention the amount of time you have to sit around waiting for charging.

> A lot of people in America have not and still don’t buy diesels because those gas stations are not as ubiquitous as normal fuel.

American diesel owner here and I initially had some concerns about this but it's the opposite problem of Tesla, thanks to trucks it's never hard to find diesel on road trips. It can be a little harder around town, but since the range is so far (500+ miles) I've never had a problem.

This is one reason I'm sad the Volt didn't take off more than it did. For me, 95+% of the time I only use electric (commute is 12 miles each way), but I never have to worry about "range anxiety" or doing detailed planning for charging stations on long trips. For me it really is the best of both worlds.

Fair enough, except it wouldn't have told her to waste time charging to 100%. Because charging gets slower the higher the state of charge, it's faster to charge twice like the car would tell her to.

> an area where chargers may be sparse

This is a closeup of the area she was travelling through: http://take.ms/bzXNf

Seems to be one of the sparsest zones other than eastern europe.

This is what Europe looks like (map only shows ~1k pins at a time): http://take.ms/U9EKl

A closeup of northern Italy: http://take.ms/E8QVy

It reads very similar to the infamous NYT review[1].

[1] https://nyti.ms/W3HSCZ

[2] Tesla's response: https://www.tesla.com/blog/most-peculiar-test-drive

That's pretty interesting. I struggle to believe Tesla's account, though, given their history of playing fast and loose with facts in the pursuit of good PR. It will take a while to earn back trust.

Musk's account was total bullshit. Here's a complete accounting of why.

You can read the response from the journalist[1] and the NYT public editor[2] which concludes the report was done with "integrity". Musk was initially sympathetic to the journalist, then decided to go after him after he calculated that the optics of this situation were not good for Tesla. He does that crap all the time including with accident victims. Blames the victim. We've seen this over and over again, with little or no consequences for Musk.

Here are the major issues:

1- LOWERING SPEED: Out of the gate range was dropping faster than expected. Probably due to cold weather range loss (it was 30F).[3] He was advised to slow down and did so, which already is not a very good road trip story for Tesla.

Musk attacks him over whether he really engaged the cruise control or just how fast he was going (claims "65 mph to 81 mph for a majority of the trip"). But in his reply the journalist correctly notes that Musk mischaracterized what the data shows ("Tesla’s logs clearly show, much of my driving was at or well below the 65 m.p.h. speed limit, with only a single momentary spike above 80"). This is the first major mischaracterization of the data on the part of Musk.

2- LOWERING TEMP: The reporter was also advised to turn down the cabin temp to improve range. Musk accuses him of lying and notes the average temp was 72 degrees.

But notice, he only cites the average. The journalist response that he cycled between shutting off the heat until his extremities got so cold he couldn't take it anymore, then kicking it back on for a time. This also is not a great story for Tesla. He notes, "The data clearly indicates that I sharply lowered the temperature setting – twice – a little over 200 miles into the trip. After the battery was charged I tried to warm the cabin." Musk chose to omit this and only cite the average in an attempt to mislead you into thinking the journalist made up his experience of freezing to compensate for range anxiety.

3- "DRIVING IN CIRCLES" AT THE FIRST CHARGER: Musk goes absolutely bananas here. His "big reveal" is that the data shows the journalist driving in circles before plugging in and charging up. As the reporter notes, he just couldn't find the damn thing in the dark. Here's how Musk spins this:

"Instead of plugging in the car, he drove in circles for over half a mile in a tiny, 100-space parking lot. When the Model S valiantly refused to die, he eventually plugged it in. On the later legs, it is clear Broder was determined not to be foiled again."

What the heck? It is amazing to me that anybody bought this crackpot theory. Let's just think about it for one second, ok? If his grand scheme was to intentionally kill the battery and get stranded to make a good story.... Why on earth would he do it mere feet from a supercharger?

Boy oh boy. Occam's razor says the reporter just had a little bit of trouble finding the charger in the lot. If he wanted to invent a story about his Tesla battery dying, there's much better places to engineer a breakdown.. like on the road!

4- CHARGING UP TO 72%: The reporter spent an hour charging up to "well beyond" the range he needed for his itinerary. He trusted Tesla's range estimate. Musk also spins this as "deliberately stopped charging at 72%," implying that it was part of a scheme. This is just malevolent spin.

5- SUDDEN OVERNIGHT LOSS OF RANGE: The reporter parked the car overnight with 90 miles of range left, enough to make it back to the supercharger. When he woke up it had only 25 miles of range. This is the biggest problem in the trip!

Clearly the car suffered cold weather range loss. It was 10F outside. Whereas previously this forced some compromises, here it completed f'd him.

Musk did not dispute or even mention this part. It's the root problem: If you're going to do a cross country trip in the extreme cold you have a plan correctly for it and take some precautions like plugging in overnight and not trust the range estimate (in 2013). But this doesn't mean the journalist has an integrity problem; he just trusted his Tesla too much.

6- SHITTY ADVICE ON HOW TO DEAL WITH A F'D SITUATION: At this point he's just screwed. The nearest charger is too weak. He goes there. After an hour he's at just 32 miles of range. Then someone at Tesla gives him bad info: more range will come back as it heats up. This is believable to him because he got the same advice in the morning: warming the battery will give you back lost range.

Musk claims the reporter acted "against" the advice of Tesla personnel. But he offers no proof. The reporter replied by naming names: "Ms. Ra and Mr. Merendino told me to leave it connected for an hour, and after that the lost range would be restored."

This is a plausible misunderstanding. But the bigger picture is: It's not a good story for Tesla even under the best conditions. If he had never spoken with Tesla, just trusted the car's estimate and stayed put it would have taken another 1-2 hours just to charge up enough to make it back to the supercharger, ruining an already ~2 hour delayed day.

So this results in a breakdown when the range doesn't come back after warming up, as he had been led to believe.

SUMMARY- The core problem here was cold weather range loss combined with a driver who expected the car to just work as advertised. At first he drove it normally and was surprised by the diminishing range. He still trusted the range estimate at the first charge on the road. He didn't plug it in overnight in 10F weather, not realizing that it could reduce range. Then he misunderstood instructions from Tesla on how to limp his way back, although the trip was already a failure at that point.

Musk did not like this story. He schemed to find an angle to attack the journalist's integrity. I didn't respect him then for it and I'm not surprised that more of this behavior has surfaced in the years since.

[1] https://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/that-tesla-data-...

[2] https://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/18/problems-w...

[3] https://forums.tesla.com/forum/forums/cold-weather-range-los...

After the whole story with baseless pedophilia claims as a tantrum, I don't think anything Musk says personally can be trusted, and especially not when it's response to criticism.

We may have lost another productive person to drugs.

Holy shit! Did this have consequences?

Tesla's response turned off a lot of potential customers who realized that Tesla would go through their trip logs if they made even the slightest critical comment of the company.

Oh, you meant to the NYT? No, because they were just driving the car like a normal person would. They weren't trying to drive the car [like] a Tesla fanatic would, and it was bizarre for Tesla to go after them for trying to drive the car like a normal car...especially when Tesla spends so much marketing $$$ trying to convince people their cars can replace a normal car.

>slightest critical comment... fanatics... bizarre

I don't know if it's intentional or not, but your comment reads as if you're very angry at Tesla yourself, which makes it harder to take your comment at face value. FWIW, if you're just legitimately trying to make an argument on HN it can be worth trying to be judicious about throwing around terms like "zealot" or "fanatic" or significant hyperbole in general. Furthermore you've started with something more then dubious:

>that Tesla would go through their trip logs

Above link was the first time I'd seen that, looks like it's from 2013. But even just reading Tesla's response alone I noted they said "media drive", as in this wasn't the reporter buying his own car and then writing about it, but getting a temporary loaner from Tesla. It's completely normal and within the rights of a manufacturer offering a loan of something valuable for review purposes to keep logs or check it for reported problems on return, it's their property after all and if there were real flaws they'd want to be able to work on fixing them. After I read further comments made at the time it was stated that private owners logs are theirs in turn, no Tesla cannot go through their trip logs if they write whatever they want. But if you want to just try something out for free, well it's not yours. This would be the same as if you used a company car or system or equipment or whatever, the company may monitor that. And loaners aren't the only way for journalists to do reviews either, Consumer Reports for example famously buys things themselves (with confidential shoppers to boot) precisely to avoid bias or cherry picking or whatever from either side.

Given the above, I have doubts about your assertion of "a lot of potential customers" too. If you have some newer information indicating that Tesla was lying about not logging data of private cars without consent (real consent, with a signature) maybe include that in your post?

I'm not angry at Tesla, though I did cancel my preorder after their response to the NYT. I also had the opportunity to ride in one, and it was a depressingly sub-par quality car for the price.

But in this case: at the time of the NYT article, Tesla's PR department was operating on hair-trigger reaction mode: even the slightest critical comment would send them into overdrive in response. They've since learned about the Streisand effect, and no longer respond to criticism in the way they did before. (This is likely because Musk no longer directly oversees the day-to-day of their marketing.)

As for the trip logs: it's not just the NYT trip. It was every time there was an accident involving a Tesla. Or a negative review. Even Tesla's response to the Consumer Reports review included information from the CR vehicle's trip logs, even though CR acquired those vehicles from third parties. The problem isn't that Tesla is logging the cars (most new cars do), the problem is how Tesla is using that data in ways that violate cultural (and in the case of Europe, legal) norms regarding privacy.

Finally, as to "a lot of potential customers," I count more than a few dozen in LA alone across a number of industries. Jaguar has seen the biggest windfall in terms of putative Tesla buyers switching to the iPace, followed by the BMW. A lot of the rest are simply waiting until the next generation of EVs and are sticking with their current luxury/mid-range vehicles. I am aware that on an absolute basis a few dozen customers isn't much, but it's a few dozen potential customers in the market segement most likely to buy and evangelize their cars.

Hey, sorry but I posted a reply right as you were writing yours, I even refreshed before to make sure you hadn't replied yet but looks like we began at around the same time. I just want to say that it does look like there are real issues now, and I think you did your own valid concerns a disservice in the original post by not having some more details and keeping things more measured. Remember a lot of us don't follow any of this that closely, and after a long time on the net have developed an innate distrustful response (reasonable or not!) for any usage of things like calling fans "fanatics." Even in this post:

>even the slightest critical comment

But I mean, I wouldn't categorize something like that NYT piece as "the slightest critical comment" it was pretty brutal. Maybe correctly, but not nothing. Same with the Top Gear, though since that's more a comedy show it shouldn't be an expectation (but I think a lot of Americans at least don't know that). Unless you can really link to something showing say a bunch of random owners doing little blogs or tweets along the lines of "the color wasn't quite what I expected" or "range is overall fine but a few miles lower then was represented" resulted an "overdrive response" your argument would be stronger if you just stuck to a basic "negative reviews". And as far as the "a lot of potential customers" you must realize that we've all seen the anecdote/data thing a ton of times right and a few dozen out of hundreds of thousands of sales and an enormous backlog of demand kind of seems not very compelling either? Particularly given all the confounding factors of their genuine other fuckups?

Anyway, that's all. I'm not saying you're wrong to be critical, but I don't think you did as good a job of it as you could have.

>If you have some newer information indicating that Tesla was lying about not logging data of private cars without consent (real consent, with a signature) maybe include that in your post?

So gamblor956 didn't reply (EDIT, did while I was writing this) but I was actually kind of curious about this (and I did bring up the question), so I took a stab at researching it a bit myself. Tesla has engaged in their own hyperbole after all, the cars do have online connections I think since there is some sort of remote maintenance that can be done, and they've talked about logs with autopilot before. And in fact it looks like (I am basing this purely on brief searching, I don't own one so corrections welcome) there is some real cause for concern though in a different way: sometime in the last 5 years it seems they've changed their privacy policy from opt-in to opt-out. It's still possible to uncheck general data sharing, but by default information is sent back to the mothership, and at least for trips with autopilot enabled it looks to be pretty damn granular (and AP apparently can't be opted out of now even?). A 2018 thread [1] I found in Tesla forums (which also links to some others) shows some pretty clear trip maps, and also claims the anonymization is pretty garbage (though with spatial information of that resolution I don't know if it's possibly anyway, it'd likely become instantly obvious where someone's house was and that's that):

>"What other things I have noticed: the "anonymization" is actually pretty superficial. Every trip (from the moment autopilot started to the moment autopilot is powered off) is given a unique uuid, and every snapshot taken during that uses the same uuid, even if some internal fields are cleared for "anonymized" uploads, internally the trip id is still stored, combined with camera calibrations uploaded every other minute under the same trip id without any anonymization - connecting the dots back together is actually pretty simple. And of course looking at enough trips it's also pretty easy to see that "this must be home, now who lives there from our customer database"? Obviously timestamps are also all there."

Finally Tesla is apparently not even at all transparent about sharing this with owners. So absolutely worthy of concern, and I wish all this had been in OP and they'd been more measured and precise because that 2013 post touches on none of that at all, nor naturally do comments from back then touch on anything that has changed sicne. Like at other companies, ML learning benefits from huge data intake and in turn is driving (harhar) a hunger for maximum data at maximum resolution. There is a real direct tension right now in a lot of areas of tech between that and privacy (witness Apple's issues trying to juggle that). A good step (if it hasn't happened already, seems like it must have but I can't find something on it) would be for an EU Tesla car owner to use the GDPR to force them to disclose everything they've got on them.


1: https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads/data-sharing-and-pri...

>Tesla would go through their trip logs

After a negative experience several years ago with Top Gear, a popular automotive show, where they pretended that our car ran out of energy and had to be pushed back to the garage, we always carefully data log media drives.

You're logging more than just media drives, otherwise Tesla wouldn't magically have the data to put together a PR response denying culpability whenever something goes wrong with Autopilot.

Tesla does not hold itself to the same standard of truthfulness it insists on from others. The Top Gear segment was benign compared to Tesla's coast to coast FSD boast, designed to extract FCF from selling a product that may or may not eventually exist.


I am not Tesla, and I don't work for them either. That's a quote from their response. I was typing one-handed so I didn't get a chance to add the quotes.

> otherwise Tesla wouldn't magically have the data to put together a PR response denying culpability whenever something goes wrong with Autopilot.

NTSB -> crash scene -> find black box -> send to TSLA? Just one possible non-nefarious mechanism for this information to make its way to Tesla.

Right, that makes sense - I thought it was odd a Tesla employee would be commenting about it.

Is co-opting a crash investigation performed by the government and cherry picking data from it in order to cast the blame on their deceased former customer meant to be better or worse than collecting everyone's data indiscriminately?

It is different. Different threat models, concerning to different people for different reasons. To pick a random example, if I said "Donald Trump killed a homeless guy for looking at him the wrong way," that would be inaccurate. I don't like Donald Trump, think he's a bad guy, but I still wouldn't want to make a false or likely false accusation about him. In the same way, if I don't like that Tesla is making crash data public, I'll say that. I won't say that they're tracking everyone's movements.

OK, but OP was saying their actions were harming consumer confidence. You supplied an alternate explanation, but if it's just as Orwellian, how is it better?

The person I was responding to said:

> who realized that Tesla would go through their trip logs if they made even the slightest critical comment of the company

which is likely false. It's irrelevant in this branch of the conversation how Orwellian my more likely explanation is, because what's being contested is the truthfulness of this claim, not how bad of a company Tesla is.

> we always carefully data log media drives

So you can easily data log any driver. So any government agency or any "partner" paying enough could have access to this data.

Sure, but those folks can also just stick a GPS tracker to your car.

Or track your phone.

Top Gear is a comedy show though? We're talking about the same show that featured taking a Reliant Robin needlessly fast around corners and getting pushed upright by celebrities, right?

They blur the line between journalism and comedy. Their car reviews tend to give the appearance of being more of the former than the latter.

"Our car" is the problem. It's not Tesla's car. Tesla took the customer's money and sold the car. It's theirs now. Tesla has no moral right to track a car that's not theirs and use the information for anything except to help the customer maintain their car.

Uh, no. It's literally Tesla's car. We are talking about vehicles they lend to the media to review not vehicles customers buy.

aka not a "normal person" on a "normal drive"

Writing an in-depth feature story in the New York Times isn't really comparable to making "the slightest critical comment".

I think most potential customers would be smart enough to realize Tesla's actions don't generalize from reporters to all customers.

Especially since the reporter describes it as a "wondercar with California dealer plates", which means Tesla lent him the car. I don't see anything wrong with Tesla going through the logs on their own car after they got it back.

> No, because they were just driving the car like a normal person would.

I don't know about you, but I usually check how much gas I have in the fuel tank before going on a trip.

Gas also doesn't typically disappear from the fuel tank overnight cause of the weather, which was the crux of the story.

No it was not. There were a few paragraphs towards the end of the article, but it is definitely not the crux.

Maybe you just didn't know crux means the most important part of the story, not just a small point in the story

The crux of the story was a person testing east coast chargers had enough range when he parked for the night, had the cold sap their range, and then was unable to make it back to the charger to point he needed a tow. It was at the end because it was a recounted story with a climax.

Maybe you just need to defend mega corporations less and not assume other people are dumb.

Not me, it's not something I ever give a second thought to. When I pull out of my driveway I look to see if I need gas, and if I do I get it. Having to put thought toward watering the horse before a long journey seems like a pretty archaic concept.

FWIW, if I'm going on a long journey I tend to fill up my (diesel) car the night before. It's one less thing to worry about.

It’s funny because Tesla’s responses just reinforces the absurdity of the whole thing. Reminds me of Steve Jobs “you’re holding it wrong.”

A normal petrol car gives you zero anxiety about finding a refuel station, and it happens in under five minutes. Even in the smallest cities and towns in American.

Maybe not in America but I've been caught out driving on the highway in Australia in a regular petrol car.

I had about a quarter of a tank left and saw a sign as I approached an off ramp which said "last service station for xx km". I did some mental arithmetic and decided not to pull over and refuel I'd be able to make it to the next service station.

Sure enough I got to the next service station - however when I pulled in the single pump was out of order. I ended up having to call roadside assistance.

That happened to me about 8 years ago and ever since I've been absolutely paranoid about range I'm very hesitant to let my tank drop below half nowadays.

I remember that case and I don't think a "normal person" drives around the parking lot in circles when the range indicator shows zero.

I just re-read the NY article and the normal person did not at any point drive circles around in the parking lot when the range indicator was zero. They were told by the Tesla mechanic to "recondition" their car because the range indicator wasn't working, which in the NYT article was him sitting in the parking lot for half an hour.

As Tesla's own mechanics on the scene indicated that the car was malfunctioning, Tesla's subsequent PR statement has absolutely no value whatsoever and cannot be relied upon as an accurate statement of what the NYT driver did. Because Tesla's own people, on the scene, indicated that the Tesla software wasn't working, which means that the data Tesla used to "refute" the NYT article was simply untrustworthy, bad data.

> Tesla's response turned off a lot of potential customers who realized that Tesla would go through their trip logs if they made even the slightest critical comment of the company.

Oh shit. WTF? This is the first time I'm hearing this. What? Tesla has access to the car's trip logs?????

If you borrow a "demo car" from Tesla for a few days and then give it back to them, then yes they obviously have access to the logs.

Whether they have access to the logs of any random customer's car, I have no idea. But this doesn't prove things one way or the other.

They also pull the same stunt of selectively releasing info from data logs and spinning them to make the customer look like they're in the wrong every time a Tesla crash makes the news. There's a cell modem in every car to send them up to the mothership.

they log everything. even their home solar panels send usage back to the mothership with no way to disable

To be fair, her car had a smaller range, so this is more like it: https://www.tesla.com/trips/#/?v=MX_2017_75D&o=Paris,%20Fran...

Yeah... and whoever told her to make as many little charging stops as possible was clearly also out to misinform her. The Tesla manual specifically says to leave your car plugged in and charge it all the way. You're not supposed to worry about that kind of stuff. Just plug it in and leave it charging until it tells you to stop.

Really? Because the advice I keep hearing about Teslas is exactly the opposite: don't charge your car all the way; only let it charge somewhere between 66-80ish percent if you want to maximize battery life.

Can't be surprised that she's confused about it.

It was a rental though, why would she be worried about maximizing the battery. I'd say most people who rent will do whatever will give them the best results for there trip.

My response was to the generic advice about charging Teslas.

In this specific case, the author did attempt to charge to full when possible, but at the one stop where she ate during the day it would have taken too long so she kept going. Also, to note--she was specifically trying not to use Superchargers because the point was to see what the charging experience was like for EVs in general, not Tesla in specific. The author chose the Tesla because it had the longest range of EVs available to rent in her area.

The article was not specifically about driving a Tesla. The editor chooses the title. The author wrote an article about a generic EV roadtrip experience in Europe. The editor made it seem like it was specifically about Teslas.

The car manages that automatically. By default, the car is set to not charge past 80% (what Tesla calls the "daily capacity"). You can go into the battery settings and set it to 100% ("trip capacity") which gives you extended range but takes longer to charge (both at home and at Superchargers). The Tesla manual specifically says to leave the car plugged in any time you're not using it and let the on-board energy systems figure out when it should be charging and when it shouldn't be. Every Tesla has a bypass where it will use the energy from the charger to power the systems in the vehicle without needing to charge it. Some other EV's charge the battery and then run the systems off the battery which results in a continual power draw/charge cycle which can shorten the battery life. You don't need to worry about that in a Tesla.

Wasn't Tesla supposed to be doing it itself, with the upper limit on battery charge specifically picked to maximize its life?

God forbid anyone say anything wrong about Tesla ever. Must be a conspiracy article funded by Big Oil, Big Auto, the Koch bros, etc etc.

But many Tesla shorts like Greenlight Capital and Kynikos pay Bloomberg $30k/year/seat for their terminals.

It would make perfect sense to tailor their reporting to their customer's taste.

Working as intended I suppose.

You forgot to post how many funds long Tesla also have Bloomberg terminals.

Or are we just doing anecdotes? The plural of anecdote is not data.

Stories like this vaguely confuse me, typically the driver complains about not being able to find a charger repeatedly.

I bought a Tesla model 3 recently, hooray tax credits.

There is literally a button on the map screen that tells you how to get to the nearest chargers both Tesla and otherwise and if they, for the Tesla chargers, are available. This will then happily navigate you to the charger via GPS.

It seems like for a technology that is pretty frankly an early adopter thing, that using the tools provided rather than expecting it to work like a gas car is expected.

Precisely. If I had a natural gas or hydrogen car, I would expect to plan in advance for refueling. For an electric car, I would also plan in advance even though the car has the option to find the nearest station (better to avoid being out of range of a quick charger and having to spend more time than necessary at a slower station).

So yeah, I completely agree that it should be assumed to be more involved than the currently mass-market vehicles.

This article is so hard to read. 'Over 10 hours of charging', seven of those being while plugged-in and sleeping at a hotel, and 1.5h wasted on unnecessarily topping up to 100%. She also plays the 'cold battery' card but ends up making it to the destination with battery to spare.

Tesla has a trip planner that routes you to a 12-lane supercharger station [1]. This is not a complicated journey at all and only requires one ~30m charge each way. Somehow the author turned it into an anxiety-inducing odyssey.


As most Tesla fans here linking this map, you chose the wrong model with larger battery.

She tried to drive the car like a normal car, i.e., by not specially planning for charging.

And in that sense, the trip failed for the Tesla, because trying to drive it like a normal car in Europe was anxiety-inducing. Which was the whole point of the article...

Replying to the dead comment: the point of not using the Tesla-specific tools was that she wasn't trying to do a Tesla-specific road trip. She was trying to do a roadtrip in an EV, and just happened to choose a Tesla because it had most range of the EVs available to rent (many of the EVs available to thoses of us in California aren't yet available elsewhere).

That makes no sense. She clearly planned ahead in a way you wouldn’t for a petrol car.

The “tool” everyone is mentioning is literally in the car dashboard. You have to go out of your way to _not_ use it by default.

I think the author brings up some fair points. I respect that she tried to make it about electric cars in general and not Tesla specifically, which is probably why she tried to avoid relying 100% on the supercharger network. In that way, it could be more balanced than an article merely about the Tesla world.

OTOH, the very first thing I did was bring up the Tesla supercharger map and see 8 superchargers between Paris and Mannheim, with no more than 160km between any of them. It seems like she basically ended up testing the worst of both worlds.

> More balanced than an article merely about the Tesla world.

I don't think that was the point given that the article has Tesla in its title.

Agreed, though I think there was a vague effort to make it more about EVs in general:

> With 215 miles on a full charge, the 2015 Tesla Model S had the biggest range I could find to rent. The distance was more than rivals like the BMW i3 or the Renault Zoe: cars that are both advertised as primarily for city driving. And although I rented a Tesla, it could’ve been any other make or model: I didn’t care so much about the model as I did about testing Europe’s charging infrastructure.

For anyone planning to take a road trip in an EV, there are really good tools that allow you to avoid almost all of the issues the author faced due to bad planning. The Tesla navigation system has one built in that takes into account supercharger closures, but there are also https://evtripplanner.com and https://abetterrouteplanner.com , which are highly customizable and quite nice.

For this particular route, https://abetterrouteplanner.com/?plan_uuid=45a1f1bd-5697-448... finds a route with just under 2.5 hours total charging time, and 10 h15m driving time.

The one issue that might have been unavoidable was having a supercharger be closed unexpectedly while you are driving towards it, but I suspect that Tesla indicates impending closures on the display, and you can also call their roadside support line to clarify details about impending maintainence if you are worried.

By "round Europe" they mean "Paris to Mannheim and back again". For this journey it would be much simpler and quicker to take the train: https://www.thetrainline.com/en/train-times/paris-to-mannhei...

(In general if you want to see a lot of Europe don't do it on the road, get an Inter-Rail pass! Much cheaper than a Tesla)

Car trips in Europe in general are less “fun” than the US due to the simple fact in Europe most businesses keep sensible hours. Unlike the the US you can’t just drive and expect to find gas, food, or lodging at midnight. This may have changed in the past 10-20 years though. At least today you don’t have to bother with showing your papers at every border crossing.

It seems that your view is outdated. Most gas stations are open 24/7 if you have a credit card and it has been that way for at least 25+ years. Showing your passport at borders has not been in effect for 3 decades--since the Schengen Agreement in 1985. You could not show up at a regular restaurant in the US at midnight either. For lodging, there are hotels that allow for late check-ins just like in the US.

This is not a comment about Europe, but rather America: It is quite normal for there to be several fast food restaurants open either all night or at least until 2 am.

I would very much expect to be able to leave the highway at midnight in most parts of the country and get something to eat.

I've taken exactly one road trip in Europe, and it was during the daytime, so I have no idea if this is common there or not. I do note that you specified "regular restaurant" but GP said "gas, food and lodging", all of which are readily available at midnight in the US.

We have McDonalds and KFC in Europe, too. Many are open 24/7, and the ones that aren't tend to be open at least until midnight.

It’s pretty doable to find over-night accommodation, you just kind of need an approximate idea in the morning about the town/city where you’re going to spend the night. I’ve managed to find same-day bed-and-breakfast stays in cities like Salzburg and Trieste at reasonable prices. And driving in Europe is pretty great. Seeing the Alps, the Lago Maggiore and the Adriatic Sea on the same day is quite the nice feeling.

Sorry, folks. A business which is only open when I'm in the office and closed when I actually have some free time doesn't sound sensible at all.

With european wages it's not always economically feasible to have people on the clock 24/7, plus you won't find many people doing 12h shifts.

It doesn't have to be 24/7, but, please, not everybody has a stay at home spouse to do shopping in the middle of the day.

When I lived in Europe there was a furniture store next to my house. An owner had a large poster glued to the window about how beneficial would it be for the economy of everyone used his store instead of Ikea. Being a huge fan of small local business I honestly tried to stop by. But theres no way I'll take a day off work to do it. Ikea won.

Well, you can leave the office at 4pm if you need to. It's also not uncommon to just take one of your 20+ week days off on short notice.

In many cities there are special days (thursday here) where many large and small shops are open until 9pm; one day doesn't break the bank. Big hardware stores, supermarkets and other larger chains are commonly open 9-9 every day. Smaller stores can not do this, and their owners also want normal work hours like you.

Taking a day off to do groceries?

That sounds like an exact opposite of "spending more time with your family".

He said furniture shopping. Not something you do often, and grocery stores do stay open late already.

Yeah, it makes far more sense to be open 11-7 or something instead of 9-5 if your clientele will likely also be at work. A lot of smaller restaurants near me are only open for lunch and dinner (11-2, 4-9).

If they were as insane as you make out, surely they would have gone bust.

Which is happening to a lot of small businesses which are stuck to nine-to-five hours.

In where I live we have either 24-hours ASDA or small Indian stores which are open till 11pm 7 days a week.

I prefer that people go home and spend more time on their hobbies or families. I spent a few months in Austria and in a couple of weeks I was used to everything bar restaurants closing at 5.

I don't really understand this, why not have everything people want to go to be open after typical office jobs close? If you are only open for 8 hours, why not open later (11am or so) or have a couple hours that the shop is closed for family time (e.g. 3-5pm or something)?

Closing at 5 isn't convenient for anyone but the business owner, and even then it's not necessarily better than opening later.

It isn't just the business owner who benefits, the cashiers too. In South Africa most of the cashiers are women with children. I like the convenience of getting my bread at 8pm but would rather these cashiers where home with their children. Certain parts of the country are not so safe when traveling at night. These tend to be the areas cashiers can afford to live in. So its a double whammy for them.

Look it is a balance that needs to be struck. I appreciate the challenges in South Africa and different to the rest of the world. There is a price for everything, I question the price we pay as a society to have all these shops open late?

In Austria and Switzerland bars and restaurants definitely don't close at 5PM unless they don't serve dinner. Even the staunchest German doesn't eat dinner at 4PM. In Swiss villages though, its not common for many smaller stores to be closed by 4-6PM. I don't understand it, however most do open quite early so you can get food before work, or a fresh croissant in the morning.

If I were opening a store today though I'd rather have the essentials in a vending machine out front for the morning rush and open the store later and keep it open until later. If you travel Switzerland you can see many Alpkäsereien (Fromageries) have vending machines for their cheese. Appropriately made out of wood and looking like a tiny little chalet.

I didn't say bars and restaurants close at 5pm. I said everything except restaurants (bars by extension).

I like the idea of vending machines for essentials. Look its a personal preference thing. In South Africa most of the cashiers are female and most have children. I just feel children should have mothers read bed time stories to them. I love the convenience of buying bread at 8pm but I wonder what the cost to society is for this convenience.

We have a problem in Africa where young kids have to assume the role of the adult all because mommy is away working late into the night. I guess the situation is different elsewhere.

Where did you buy groceries?

I bought my groceries before 5pm. Sometimes during lunch. It really wasn't a big deal getting used to it. Humans adapt and in no time at all I was way more organised with my groceries because I knew shops closed at about 5.

Also, if you've got some friends you can get a train car and get some sleep on the way on long trips.

> Also, if you've got some friends you can get a train car

What's a train car?

A private room in the train where you might have a bed, etc. Kind of "business/first-class" of trains.

I think that's a 'sleeper car'. A 'train car' means any train carriage in all contexts I know. So anyone getting a train is getting into a train car.

Sure, I just assumed from context that's what OP meant (though I chuckled at the idea of getting on a train, but not in a train car, and what that would imply).

Or maybe OP rents/owns a train car and hitches up to the rest of the train.


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