Does Tesla Use Google Maps for Their Navigation System?

By Nicki Schill •  Updated: 08/31/22 •  6 min read

Since more than a billion people use Google Maps every month and another five million active apps and websites are using the Google Maps platform every week too, it’s safe to say most drivers are familiar with the system.

That’s why many believe Tesla is also using Google Maps for their navigation system, and they are — partially.

In this article, we’ll dive into how Tesla is using Google Maps and other platforms to power their navigation system and compare it with other popular navigation apps you might be familiar with.

Does Tesla Use Google Maps?

Tesla uses Google Maps for the display of the maps on their screen but not the actual navigation data.

The navigation portion comes from other suppliers, which we’ll get into later on.

But the overlay maps on the navigation screen are from Google Maps. And that’s why many drivers comment they can actually see the Google trademark in the bottom-right corner of the screen

does Tesla use google maps

But the traffic and routing data that power the actual navigation aren’t provided by Google.

What Navigation System Does Tesla Use?

Currently, Tesla uses Google Maps for basic pinpoints on the navigation screen but does not use it for points of interest or to locate the destinations that you punch in.

Back in 2018, Tesla went with a different software called Mapbox for open source mapping and custom-designed maps. Mapbox then uses an open source routing software called Valhalla that is a flexible routing engine that can be customized at the time a user makes a request.

Valhalla allows Tesla developers to write their own logic, so certain roads can be avoided based on specific use cases or dynamically routing your Tesla to a recharging station when the battery is low.

This makes it more advanced than most vehicles’ navigation systems.

Tesla went through some growing pains though with their navigation system. According to this owner, Tesla originally used Navigon for map data and then switched to TomTom in 2017.

Navigon suffered from limited map functionality while other drivers complained TomTom wasn’t as responsive or accurate and gave weird routing suggestions.

The introduction of Mapbox and Valhalla dramatically improved the Tesla navigation system, but like anything, drivers are always on the lookout for improvements.

How Does Tesla’s Own Navigation System Compare with Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps, and the Like?

Overall, the Tesla navigation system stacks up nicely against other providers. 

Lots of drivers love using Waze for the dynamic, live road updates, so Tesla followed suit in 2018, releasing a new Waze-like crowdsourced traffic data feature. This brought in real-time traffic information into the nav system’s estimated travel times. There’s still no feature to show where cops are hiding though, which is what a lot of users love about Waze. 

Interestingly, the data for Tesla’s crowdsourcing feature comes from its own fleet of vehicles:

“In order for these features to work, Tesla measures the road segment data of all participating vehicles but in a way that doesn’t identify you or your car, and may share that with partners that contribute similar data to help us provide the service. At no point is any personally identifiable information collected or shared during this process. You can enable or disable this feature and the collection and sharing of this data at any time via “TRAFFIC-BASED ROUTING” setting in Controls > Settings > Apps > Maps & Navigation.” 


The greatest differentiator between the Tesla nav system and Apple Maps or even Google Maps is that the Tesla system considers how far you can travel based on your current energy consumption given your speed and the traffic ahead.

It’s a system built specifically for an electric vehicle, and it’s that kind of functionality where Apple and Google just can’t compete.

On the flip side, some users like using Google Maps because you can set waypoints to your liking as opposed to being forced into routes that are based on the location of superchargers. 

If you want a deep dive into a comparison of Tesla’s system versus Waze and the map services from Apple and Google, check out this video.

Keep in mind that Google owns Waze, so it’s really a matter of preference with the interface.

Speaking of preferences, some drivers also rave about A Better Route Planner since it allows you to customize your entire trip and is built for EVs to make sure your car is charged along the way.

A Better Route Planner takes into account energy consumption and arrival and departure levels of charge, making it a hit with Tesla owners. 

The general consensus from most drivers though seems to be that the Tesla navigation system has improved over the years and is just as good as Google Maps and the others. The voice recognition makes it super simple to use, and the routing has improved substantially.

But if you’re a Google Maps enthusiast and insist on having it in your Tesla, there is a workaround for that.

Can I Add Google Maps Into my Tesla?

There’s a simple fix for getting Google Maps directions into your Tesla. Here are the steps on how to do that:

  1. On your phone, go to Google Maps and type in your desired location.
  2. Once you have the Google Maps route loaded on your phone, press the share button and there will be a Tesla option if your Tesla app is already installed on your phone.
  3. The information is now sent to your Tesla screen showing you the same routing info from Google Maps.

This is a good feature for when you want to set up your own desired waypoints for your trip and override the supercharger points that Tesla will route you to.

Here’s a quick video on how to set your route using your phone instead of the Tesla navigation.

Final Thoughts

The Tesla navigation system as it is today is totally on par with Google and Apple Maps and even Waze.

As more Teslas hit the roads, the crowdsourced data should improve even more, and who knows, maybe they’ll add in a feature to show where police vehicles are at too!

Nicki Schill

Nicki Schill is a writer and content marketer out of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. As the former Geotab Marketing Manager, she’s got loads of experience in electric vehicles and fleet electrification. She’s a tech blogger and marketing guru who enjoys all things Canadian like hockey and poutine.

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