HalcyonRider

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I'm very interested in Rivian's built in Navigation and how it manages optimizing charge intervals and time, inherently, on road trips and adventure travels.

https://rivian.com/technology

I know there are APPS for this such as ABRP and Plugshare, but I'd much rather the route be based on the ongoing calculated performance of the machine I am riding in.

I know variables such as charging performance and available stations on route impact route planning, but my point is I'd rather Rivian tech handle those decisions for me (with custom filtering base on user preference), informed by the live performance of my vehicle and the way I personally drive it.

Any thoughts or insight into how they may do this, and the pros and cons of using a built in Navigation app vs a third-party?
 

azbill

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Trip planning is really not that hard, once you learn your vehicle performance. The main issue you have is knowing where the chargers are and also knowing how reliable they are. Unfortunately charging stations are nothing like gas stations. They are fewer and farther apart and they are unmanned. When they do not work you are at the mercy of someone on the other end of a phone trying to reset the charger and hopefully getting it to start.

This is why Plugshare is such a great app for EV drivers. The chargers are rated on the app and when one is broken, users flag it right away. When trip planning I know about how far I want to go before a charge and then check out all the chargers in that area on Plugshare to know their status. A secondary thing I do is check the company apps, Electrify America, Chargepoint, EVGO, etc. to see what they show for real time status. It is unlikely a Rivian navigation system will have that capability, but maybe. Tesla is different, because they own all of their chargers and everything is connected. Not the same with all these other companies that are not owned by the car manufacturer,

There is also the fact that there are relatively few high power chargers available, i.e. 150KW to 350KW. You will have to accept charging at 50KW in many cases or even dropping down to a Level 2, which is typically 6.6KW. The EA chargers are typically 120 miles apart so there is no science or math needed to know when to stop at one on a long trip. Simple example, a Rivian with 300 mile range will need to stop at every other one, but even with a 400 miles range, it would not be a great idea to push through 2 stations without charging (360 miles with only 40 mile buffer, under ideal conditions).
 

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One other thing about Plugshare is that it is more than just an App, it represents a user community. For this reason it is kept up to date in real time. Even Tesla owners use Plugshare a lot, since they also charge at many J1772 or Chademo stations using adapter plugs.
 

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I'm very interested in Rivian's built in Navigation and how it manages optimizing charge intervals and time, inherently, on road trips and adventure travels.

I know there are APPS for this such as ABRP and Plugshare, but I'd much rather the route be based on the ongoing calculated performance of the machine I am riding in.

I know variables such as charging performance and available stations on route impact route planning, but my point is I'd rather Rivian tech handle those decisions for me (with custom filtering base on user preference), informed by the live performance of my vehicle and the way I personally drive it.
The thing that's really weird about this is that you list your occupation as "electrical engineer". Usually it is poets and professors of Renaissance Italian Painting that feel this way. Engineers generally have a healthy skepticism about any solution determined by a machine.

Any thoughts or insight into how they may do this, and the pros and cons of using a built in Navigation app vs a third-party?
The pros and cons of in-vehicle and third party pretty much turn on whether, in your opinion, A Better Route Planner is really better than the on board application and, of course, the way to find out is to try them out. In the short time span I have been using them both have improved. Both run on engines with substantial real time computing power and both are connected to the internet from which they can get near real time information on the status of chargers, traffic conditions, terrain and weather. Note that you must pay a fee for weather, traffic, and real time charger status to ABRP as they, in turn, must pay for that information.

As to how the programs plan a route: clearly it is an optimization problem. It is a big enough one that it is solved at the mother ship - not in your car's computer or your smart phone. Thus if you are out of cell phone coverage in a place where there is no WiFi you will be unable to obtain planning services. Only the programmer knows the optimality criterion. Clearly getting you from A to B in the least amount of time is part of it. With Tesla minimizing your time on chargers in busy areas may be part of it. I think there is an option to exclude toll roads. Given all the complexity I expect that some methododology like simulated annealing is being used but that takes a hell of a lot of computing and the answers come back fairly quickly.

I nearly always find that I can come up with a "better" solution than the planners do. That's because I can put in constraints that they can't. For example if the loos are filthy at Sqeedunk but OK at Podunk which is only a few miles further down the road or if Squeedunk has a restaurant you like you can modify for that. You can do some of this now with the "avoid this supercharger option" in ABRP in which you can also add waypoints, specify the time you wish to spend at a SC or the SoC you want at departure etc.

We'll have to see what Rivian ultimately gives us, of course, but I certainly think it will be commensurate with what we have from Tesla.
 
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HalcyonRider

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@ajdelange lol, would it surprise you that I am an EE and an Art lover?

Thank you for the comments! This is great conversation and exactly what I was hoping for.

Personal preference indeed. Time will tell I suppose.

Here are some reasons why I would prefer a Rivian solution.
  • Single screen to manage
  • Larger screen - Think topo
  • Calculations based on stored vehicle performance
  • Rivian Adventure network
  • Autopilot feature integration
  • Single subscription
  • ...
I did mention "filtering based on user preference". I do want to retain ultimate control and have the ability to tweak the route or exclude certain stations, etc. I am certainly not one of those people that turns left just because Google told me to. If it doesn't make sense to me, or I don't approve, I will obviously make my own decisions.

Now, with regards to the mother ship... I am an adventure motorcyclist and often find myself off in the boonies with absolutely no cellphone coverage. I plan ahead for these cases and download offline maps for just this case. (I also carry paper maps just in case) I would hope that Rivian would also offer offline maps for adventure enthusiast who find themselves out of contact with the mother ship.

As I was saying, I am an adventure motorcyclist and do very much enjoy the planning and route discovery aspects of the whole thing. I would just love for Rivian to offer those same tools I use in the vehicle, and paired with a mobile app and web portal.
 

ajdelange

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@ajdelange lol, would it surprise you that I am an EE and an Art lover?
No. While I have known engineers who pride themselves on the fact that the last book they read that was not an engineering text was one they read in highschool (I'm not kidding about this) I have also known some that were, as we used to call them, renaissance men.

I do want to retain ultimate control
What I am really getting at is that I think you will enjoy the car more the more you interact with it.

As I was saying, I am an adventure motorcyclist and do very much enjoy the planning and route discovery aspects of the whole thing. I would just love for Rivian to offer those same tools I use in the vehicle, and paired with a mobile app and web portal.
Perhaps they will do something like that. Tesla does not at this point. You can transfer a destination to the car and when you go out to it you will find a route planned and laid into the navigation system but you can't do any of the tweaking you can do with, for example, ABRP, and then transfer the tweaked plan to the car.
 

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I had not even looked at my Chevrolet Energy Assist App in quite a while, but they have made some improvements to it. They now include at least 9 different charging companies, but only 2 of them, Charge Point and EVGO have actual live status. Electrify America is in the route planner, but reads status unknown. So I have to jump over to the EA app to see that status, not really user friendly.

I think it would be great in the future if all the auto companies could get access to all the charging companies statuses in real time. For example, in the Energy Assist app, all chargers from EVGO and Charge Point that are available, show up as green. It also tells me how much battery I will have left when I arrive.
 
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HalcyonRider

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I had not even looked at my Chevrolet Energy Assist App in quite a while, but they have made some improvements to it...
Ahhh the power of software. My buddy who owns a Model S told me once, "This is the only car I've ever owned that got better over time."

I think it would be great in the future if all the auto companies could get access to all the charging companies statuses in real time...
This would be great! Or at least strategic partnerships.
 

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One other thing I will add about GM, is that the range estimates in the car and the one used on the planning App, both use historical actual data, not EPA estimates. In the car I get nominal miles remaining, minimum and maximum values as well. It also has a trend vector that tells me if I am reducing range toward minimum value, or increasing toward maximum. So if I see the trend decreasing and want to conserve miles to get to the next charger, I can slow down and see the effects in real time.
 
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One other thing I will add about GM, is that the range estimates in the car and the one used on the planning App, both use historical actual data, not EPA estimates. In the car I get nominal miles remaining, minimum and maximum values as well. It also has a trend vector that tells me if I am reducing range toward minimum value, or increasing toward maximum. So if I see the trend decreasing and want to conserve miles to get to the next charger, I can slow down and see the effects in real time.
Is the planning app a GM product paired with the car?
 

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I wonder if the planning apps could be made sophisticated enough to use the historical mileage based on the anticipated driver. My wife gets great range in our i3s. I try to melt the tires at every traffic light.
 

ajdelange

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One other thing I will add about GM, is that the range estimates in the car and the one used on the planning App, both use historical actual data, not EPA estimates.
Historical data is about as useless as EPA data. At the same time they are about as useful. The point is that interpretation is required. The Tesla gives you a display of actual consumption with the rated consumption line and a line based on a window of the last 5, 10 or 30 miles. A projected range is given based on the average. If you make a run to a town at a lower elevation that your starting point with a tailwind and arrive with 50% battery the remaining range estimate is going to show that you have plenty of range left to get back home because the Wh/mi have been much lower than the rated miles. If you turn around and head home without charging based on this generous range estimate you are going to be in trouble. If you happen to notice that the dashed line (average) is way below the rated line you will understand the reason for the optimistic remaining range number and take on charge before heading back. The thing I fear is that the interpretation I have just described is well beyond what many drivers will be able or willing to do.

Tesla has another display which is only available if you use the navigation system prior to departure. It draws a graph of SoC from your departure point to the destination. In drawing this graph it uses rated miles and what it knows about the terrain thus it does not take weather into account because it doesn't know what the weather will be. SoC at your destination is displayed on the graph and SoC at your starting point should you return by the same route is also given. Statisticians will recognize that these are Maximum Liklihood estimates of the SoCs. As you drive a second line is traced on the graph. The line representing road behind you is the actual SoC at each point along the way. The line forward to the destination is the ML estimate of SoC at each point up to and including the destination. By comparing the original trace with the projected trace you can see whether you are doing better or worse than the original plan and decide when to charge based on that. Again you, the driver, need to understand that better than expected performance from a tail wind on the way out will spell worse than expected performance on the return.

There are obviously many ways to skin this cat but I am expecting that the Rivian guys are at least as smart as the Tesla guys and that they will, therefore, give us something very similar. Unless, that is, something in the Tesla system is patent protected. The MLE approach is as good as you can get under the circumstances. I sometimes think it would be beneficial if these programs could incorporate winds data as well (you can get that through a third party app) but then the sampling is so coarse (the nearest airport generally) that I'm not sure how valuable it would really be and it would cost Tesla or Rivian a fair amount which they would have to pass on to us.
 

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ajdelange

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I wonder if the planning apps could be made sophisticated enough to use the historical mileage based on the anticipated driver. My wife gets great range in our i3s. I try to melt the tires at every traffic light.
They are clearly sophisticated enough at this point. The only difference would be using individual driver's Wh/mi numbers rather than the rated Wh/mi in calculating projections. A window in which the user could set the number he wants to use for projections, a la ABRP might be nice but I have a feeling that Rivian might consider this way too sophisticated for the average driver.
 

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