Tesla firmware 8.0 has been out for a couple weeks now and it seems that my review of the 8.0 Media Player was overly kind based on comments on the post and posts by other well-known bloggers such as TeslaOwner.
I wanted to hold off on a review of the navigation system until I had several trips under my belt and now with several hundred miles logged using navigation I’ll offer up my opinion.
The summary is that, while not quite as bad as the broken new Media Player, there are some glaring bugs in the basic functionality of 8.0 Navigation that get in the way of otherwise great improvements. Read on for details.
While controversial, the expanded map view (thanks to the auto-hiding menu bar) is a welcome addition maximizing the use of the beautiful 17″ screen.
Some owners have complained that it requires an extra press to get to other 17″ functions (charts, browser, phone app, etc) now, but for my daily use, I rarely change the two panels shown on my 17″ screen (Navigation and Media).
Another thing I really like is that Tesla preserved the current location information (street, city, state) while hiding the menu bar. It would have been a big loss if they had taken the easy path and removed it with the rest.
Another controversial change is Tesla’s decision to pin the Navigation screen to the top of the 17″ display by default. In the past, picking a new app put it on top by default, but now if Navigation is being shown, then picking another app will place it below the Navigation window. Some people, like myself, appreciate this new behavior, but others are frustrated and would like the old behavior back. A simple option in the user preferences would solve this but I also appreciate the challenge with adding too many options to a user interface.
Tesla has 4 view modes for the map:
- North up
- Heading up
- Trip overview
- Leg overview
The icon to select them can be a bit hard to see now (it’s located at the top right of the image above) and repeatedly tapping it toggles through those options.
A small improvement involves the dashboard navigation display. Tesla now makes it obvious which side of the road your destination is on when you reach it so you no longer have to look to the 17″ for that information.
A welcome addition is a shortcut to help you find the closest chargers to your current location. While similar to the functionality provided by EVTripping’s Chargers page, although in a more graphical form, it still lacks the ability to bring up charger amenities and details with a quick tap.
Full disclosure: I’m the creator of EVtripping.com, but would love to see Tesla make sections of EVTripping irrelevant with in-car updates and improvements.
When you plan a long trip involving Superchargers, Tesla provides a comprehensive trip overview showing all the stops and charge times.
This is a great overview of your trip and required charges and was available in prior versions too. What is different in this version is that after you start driving there doesn’t appear to be a way to get back to this wonderful trip overview. That’s a loss they should fix.
The new handling of reporting the round trip remaining charge still has me confused. I was trained to tap the bottom of the directions and quickly get my round trip range. Now I find myself awkwardly scrolling to the bottom of a list while driving to find it. And that’s if I’ve turned it on. Any list scrolling while driving should be eliminated, it is a major distraction.
Generally, the Navigation system seems much slower to update directions now. Recently, in Boston, I literally had to stop overly long at a light after a wrong turn just to wait for the map to update. Having done similar drives before, I believe performance has degraded in this area and causes the basic Navigation functionality to be less useful.
The worst, and most glaring issue involves tunnels and the dashboard navigation system. The system gets totally confused by tunnels and shows you in a tunnel when you’re not, or not in one when you are. It has been so bad that at times I’ve had to reboot the dashboard display which has been a first for me in over 2.5 years/70,000 miles of experience.
Rebooting the dashboard display is much more concerning than rebooting the 17″, especially when approaching a turn that you know you need to make soon and while driving in traffic.
8.0 Navigation Summary
Like the media player updates, I believe the improvements are a good step forward in many areas in terms of the user experience. The issues that I’ve run into need to be addressed in an upcoming patch release or the 8.1 release.
The elephant in the room on Navigation are all the basic deficiencies that are missing in Tesla’s Navigation system, but present in other cars for almost a decade. Waypoints, alternative routes, route preferences, etc. Even some small usability issues, like the random sorting of favorites in the Navigation system, have not yet been addressed and would require very little time to fix.
While I appreciate the improved looks and the few improvements added in the 8.0 Navigation system, as an owner I’m wondering if Tesla is listening to the owners and what they really need for basic everyday driving and Navigation versus spending time on the kinds of things you see above. Those masses coming to the Model 3 from the Audis, BMWs, Acuras etc are not going to be as forgiving as us early adopters with missing basic functionality.
And, no, a special 105 degrees Fahrenheit limit is not a great new safety feature for pets or kids. Please don’t cook them. More on that next time.
Tesla Owner said:
You didn’t mention my pet peeve about maps 8.0 — the automatic zooming. Most of the time when I’m driving I don’t need to see the details of the road as anything that is relevant is on the dashboard. I want to be able to control the zoom myself as I did in v7, and in any other map program. Its my #3 complaint. https://teslaowner.wordpress.com/2016/10/03/8-0-update/
I’ve found that on heading up or North up modes it seems to stick with the zoom level I pick. The auto-zooming only seems to happen when using the leg or overview views. Is that your experience too? I generally use the latter two for automatic views/zooming and the other two for sticking with a certain view which seems to be how they intend them to be used and why they haven’t bugged me.
Tesla Owner said:
I only like North heading up maps. The other options drive me batty as I have a sixth sense of direction. What is the default? I’ve never looked at it as I assumed North heading was the default.
Generally, the automatic ones (leg or trip overview) are shown. They are always north up but are not the specific north up view. Tap the view mode until you see a compass like indicator and then see if you can pick a zoom level and keep it.
Tesla Owner said:
I played with this today. Its a total pain to play this around. Guess if I were 6′ 5″ with long arms and 22 years old again with great eyes. I believe I was in the north up view. North up zooms in even when your not in trip mode! Why is there a “north up” and a “specific north up”. I never read the release notes and don’t feel I should have to.
Even from the beginning (of my ownership at least), the map would zoom in at times when the complexity was too much and it wanted to reduce the amount of data. Generally, the north up or heading up modes are more “sticky” than the other two.
I think that the entire 17″ display could really benefit from some level of “persistence”. When I move an app to an area, the display system should “learn” that I want that app there. Also when I tap the NAV display to show the LTE signal strength, it should “learn” that I want the NAV in the upper position but show all the APPS and status bar. It should not grow again to cover the APPS area. I am sure that would be fairly easy to accomplish. And as such, the persistence would allow total personalization of the center display. So simple.
BTW I love EVtripping.com
Keep up the great work and effort.
I agree, they should definitely be learning your preferences. That would be simple and avoid many of the negative feedback.
I didn’t mention the LTE (although mine would only be 3G) but I do miss seeing the signal strength. Again, I think that’s coming from people testing on a bench or in a metropolitan area and not getting out enough with the car in the real world.
Tesla Owner said:
Found something else nasty today with the navigation zoom that was implemented poorly. I went to a neighbors house today that I had never been to, and I wanted navigation to tell me the way. Well instead of showing up zoomed in, it should probably a 10 mile square at least. The house was about a mile away. Thats really useless too.
Was that on the trip/overview mode or the north/heading up views?
Tesla Owner said:
North I believe.
Phil Manke said:
I would like to increase the contrast of secondary roads on the map display. We like the Tesla for country sight seeing, but find the country roads unreadable in daylight!…… ALSO- the light color or grey text is not visible, and larger, more contrasting fonts would be most helpful!…. In what parallel universe is grey text more helpful?????… Does anyone know how to increase font size in all aps?? Bending forward and down is not doable it traffic or not fun even when stopped! Email me since I don’t always monitor this blog, please…………
I forgot to mention the text, but the road names on the streets are impossible to read with the color/contrast.
You can’t change the font size etc in the car.
Phil Manke said:
And that is rigidly not helpful!… Nearly any other computer has those choices! This has been a fault from the beginning! Even Toyota’s little screen is easier to read!
I also do NOT like the format and workability of the “Media Interface”! Too much commercialism and less ergonomic pattern or choices. Does anyone from Tesla read this blog??
Unfortunately, I don’t think so.
Michael Persons said:
I’m admittedly not coming from high-end automotive nav experience, but I find the nav on the Tesla to be the best I have ever seen. I especially love the real time traffic and excellent predictive algorithm. I rarely have to type more than a few letters of my destination and it immediately guesses the correct option. And while driving along without a destination, I love how much detail it provides of the surrounding area. I can tell where major landmarks and town are actually located while out in unfamiliar areas.
One improvement that I would like to see is to have distance to the next turn / direction shown in the dashboard as well as on the screen. I find myself needing to glance down every now and again to figure how much time I have been needing to take the next action.
David Ahn said:
TOTALLY agree with Michael Persons on the perks of Tesla navi, especially predictive destination entry: 2-3 taps to get a tappable destination (try entering just the street number, you’ll be amazed). Then tapping on the desired destination does something amazing that every navi app should do but NO OTHER navi does: it starts guidance. EVERY other navi I’ve used makes you tap 2-3 more times just to start guidance.
But there’s something that drives me MAD: the voice is triple redundant. Here’s what gets me:
– “In 1 mile, bear right to merge onto the I-8 West toward Beach Cities;”
– “Now bear right to merge onto the I-8 West toward Beach Cities.”
– “Continue on the I-8 West toward Beach Cities for X miles.”
Sometimes with complex, longer freeway descriptions, you could hear the voice droning off and on for the better part of 2 minutes, interrupting my podcasts to the point of driving me bonkers.
How about the option to be brief:
– “In 1 mile, bear right.”
– “Now merge onto the I-8 west.”
I mentioned this in the tesla.com forum, and some suggested turning the voice off. That doesn’t work for me. I’m forgetful; not just a little, a LOT… pathologically… I can completely forget what I’m doing in <5 seconds. I NEED that voice, or I miss turns repeatedly. But I don't need ALL that talking. I forget WHEN to turn; I don't forget where I'm going. For a company that's amazing at software development, it seems incredibly odd for the voice guidance to be this verbose and repetitive on something so common as freeway entrances/changes.
Another deficiency: at complex freeway interchanges it's easily fooled into giving you unnecessary intermediate steps. For example, if there are 3 lanes leading to off ramps to the CA-60 and then the I-215 and you need to take the I-215, it tells you to bear right toward the CA-60, then bear left onto the I-215 rather than just bear right and onto the I-215, ignoring the CA-60 as a human being would.
I never use the voice parts of navigation for just the reasons you mention. They’re all overly aggressive. While Tesla Nav can be quick to start, since 8.0 I’ve found it very unreliable. I keep getting “Navigation is initializing” right at key moments in my trip and end up with no navigation. Fortunately for tough trips I use Waze on my phone as a backup. But I shouldn’t need to do that.
David Ahn said:
Hmmmm. That (“navigation initalizing”) isn’t happening to me, thank goodness.
I’m glad watching its instructions works for you; with my ADHD, that has led to many many unintended detours. I may have to start using Waze instead of Tesla navi as my MAIN navi. Especially in SoCal where freeway changes are frequent.
David Ahn said:
One more thing. On the toll road/HOV lanes on the I-15 from SD to Escondido, it REPEATEDLY tells me to get out of the HOV lanes. Does it think I accidentally went in?!?