It wasn’t long ago where vehicles kept track of nothing but miles.
Our cars are now computers on wheels that collect trip-by-trip miles, efficiency, routes, climate control usage, and more — though often their fancy screens can crash on us.
Tesla does a good job providing this information, but third-party apps like Teslafi have come to the scene to turn your data into useful, easy-to-understand, and socially sharable insight.
With Tezlab, Stats for Tesla, Teslamate, and other up-and-coming alternatives, however, is Teslafi still worth $50/year?
Here’s my unbiased Teslafi review.
We’ll discuss the app’s most appealing use cases — and whether the app still has a competitive edge worth paying for.
What Is Teslafi — And Why You Should Care?
In essence, Teslafi is a data aggregator for Tesla owners.
Think about it as a Tesla journal — your car provides the data, Teslafi logs it all and keeps it organized.
Curious about the maximum speed your kids drove at when you lend them your car?
Want to know the exact amount of business miles you put in last year?
Need evidence you were in a location at a certain time of day to fight a lawsuit?
Teslafi has logged all those data points for you.
⚠️ Warning: Is Granting Access to Teslafi Safe?
To get started, Tesla owners visit Teslafi’s website and allow access to their car’s data by logging into their Tesla account.
“Wait a sec… Is this safe?” you may be thinking.
Fortunately, it is… kind of.
Just like the “Sign Up With Google” feature many applications have, you’re actually not giving your login details to anyone.
Instead, you’re allowing the two applications to talk to each other and share information.
Technically speaking, when you log into your Tesla account, Teslafi simply requests an API token to access the car’s data.
If you’re savvy enough, you can actually enter the API token without ever giving away the credentials of your Tesla account.
Do keep in mind that Tesla’s API isn’t publicly documented for third-party apps.
Whenever Tesla makes changes, third-party services like Teslafi may be unable to communicate to Tesla’s servers for a while. (It’s happened a handful of times already.)
Just like it happened to Farmville on Facebook, people debate whether these data apps will be forced to shut down in the future due to Tesla’s changes.
The Weirdest, Easy-to-Fix Problem With Teslafi
I immediately noticed something after visiting their website (and this is putting it lightly)…
Their interface isn’t the easiest to navigate nor the most aesthetically pleasing.
Their entire website looks like it was built in 2005…
C’mon, Teslafi founders! You can do better.
With 14,000+ vehicles in their fleet, I bet you can afford a UI designer — even if it’s a $25/hour freelancer from Upwork.
I’d go as far as saying you can’t afford NOT to level up your user experience with so many competitors emerging.
Compared to newer apps like Tezlab, Teslafi’s visuals are flat-out embarrassing.
Looking beyond aesthetics, though, forum threads mostly agree that Teslafi is the app with the widest and most useful data set.
Even folks that actively use other apps claim, “If you want the ultimate in data, it’s got to be Teslafi.”
Another potential risk with Teslafi — and similar apps — is battery drain.
Although Teslafi falls asleep in 15 minutes and you can adjust settings to make energy consumption negligible,
Many users still complain about phantom drain, some of them abandoning the service for this very reason.
Keep this in mind if you don’t have access to charging at home.
A Teslafi Features Walkthrough
Main Dashboard & Primary Data Points
When you sign up and sync your Tesla, Teslafi will present some basic data points at the top of the screen:
- Current Idling/Sleeping Time
- Doors Status (Locked/Unlocked)
- Rated Range
- Estimated Range, which has proven to be more accurate to many Tesla owners
- Inside & outside temperature
- Miles driven (Odometer)
Below those data points, every driving, charging, sleeping, or idling session is presented in a timeline — and can be analyzed day by day.
Different events can also be toggled on or off based on your needs.
Let’s dive into what each major Teslafi feature can do.
Automating Your Tesla Life
This may be the coolest Teslafi feature of all: command scheduling.
From daily locking the doors at 8 PM to reminding you to plug in every week to flashing the lights at 5 AM to scare the neighbors (ha!),
Teslafi enables you to automate things you’d otherwise have to do manually all the time.
Sure, Tesla’s app can automate some of these tasks… but not all of them.
This feature is a time saver and a major reason many Teslafi users happily pay for the service.
Know Your Miles (And Your Gas Savings) in Extreme Detail
Ever wanted definitive proof of your gas savings to justify the car purchase to yourself and your spouse?
Then look no further.
Insert your electricity rate and a miles-per-gallon reference (e.g. your previous gas car) to see how much each drive cost you — and how much you save on gas on each trip.
You might be pleasantly surprised to know how cheap those family trips are…
Or you may realize those gym trips, 15 miles each way, are adding up to $20/month, prompting you to reconsider a gym closer to home.
Whatever it may be, you’ve got the data to gain insights from — and that’s the benefit of a vehicle built for the 21st century.
Detailed Charging Sessions
Enumerating the total numbers of charges you’ve done, Teslafi provides a summary of each charging session — along with its efficiency, total time, location, and more.
You can also see charging data from a high-level view (e.g. avg. time per charge or total charging costs over the life of the vehicle).
Whenever that friends of yours asks, once again, how much it cost to charge…
You’ll have a clear answer based on your Teslafi statistics.
How’s Your Battery Holding Up?
Degradation myths are all over the place.
It pays to have a detailed log of how your estimated range has changed over time.
Although not as comprehensive as an actual app that tracks your battery’s health like TM-Spy,
Teslafi gives a quick glimpse at the metric most people care about: estimated range over time.
See Your Recent Data At a Glance
Each drive is mapped out on a calendar for you to remember where you’ve been recently.
Have children old enough to drive?
You could quickly see whether or not they’re obeying the speed limit — and if they’re going somewhere they never told you they’d go.
Sure, they deserve some privacy...
But if they’re 16 or 17, you may want to know what they’re up to.
The app has other features like maps, elevation, sleep and idling sessions, and so on. Although useful, these aren’t as popular in the Tesla community.
Let us continue with the feature I love the most…
Warning: you may feel compelled to beat your fellow Tesla owners.
Leaderboards & Gamification
I’m competitive by nature — and many Tesla owners are.
Teslafi taps into that desire to compete by aggregating data into rankings of all kinds.
Witness the longest drives the community has done (or simply attempt to beat your own personal record).
For those who love setting records and enjoy being first place, the challenge and the pressure is real.
It’s like winning a hypermiling contest… with no prize.
The Company’s TRUE Advantage
I wondered why the app has been the leader in the space for so long.
Clearly, it has an edge, but why doo Tesla owners get hooked to the app?
Trying to find an answer to this question, two compelling arguments emerged:
#1 – The developers add features continuously.
A member of the Tesla Motors Reddit group had this to say when asked about the different apps that exist like Tezlab & TeslaSpy:
“TeslaFi is pretty great. I’ve been a paid member for 9 months now, and the developers continue to add new features all the time. One time I found a bug and they resolved it hours after reporting it.”
If you find a problem or have a suggestion, your voice will be heard.
#2 – They’ve been around for a long time
Since early 2016, in fact, according to forum threads.
By being available back when the Model 3 had been recently unveiled (and only Model S & X were being produced), they established themselves as the data app to beat.
Third-Party Teslafi Reviews: What Others Have to Say
With quite an interesting name, Mother Frunker shares a video walkthrough of all TeslaFi tabs.
No comparisons are made between alternative apps but the walkthrough is very comprehensive. It gives you an idea of what the app is capable of.
If you’re a video person, I encourage to check this one out.
Matt Ferrell from Undecided, one of my favorite Tesla & renewable technology channels, discusses Teszlab vs. TeslaFi in a 19-minute video.
As a UI/UX designer, Matt’s very critical of Teslafi’s humiliating interface design.
However, Matt discusses each app’s strengths and weaknesses in extreme detail, Teslafi winning overall in his opinion.
P.S. Matt suspected at the time that Tezlab planned on selling your data as a revenue source. He posted an update after the Tezlab team reached out confirming this wasn’t the case.
Teslafi Referral Code & Pricing
As of this writing, Teslafi costs $5 per month — or $50 per year, when billed upfront.
Sign up for a 14-day free trial to determine whether the app is worth the money before you pay.
Or extend your trial to 30 days by signing up with a referral code.
As I currently don’t have a referral code, consider using “Undecided.” Matt deserves it after all.
Alternative Products & Competitive Edge
Since Teslafi’s launch, plenty of alternative apps have emerged. Many with seemingly superior technology and user experience.
How do competitors compared to Teslafi?
Let’s find out.
Teslafi vs. Tezlab
Tezlab stands out as a much, much more visually-appealing user experience and interface.
Beautiful don’t mean easier to understand, however. As Matt Ferrell explained, Tezlab shows many graphs that don’t make much sense.
The app is free for life, too.
If they aren’t charging you, however, does their business model relies on selling YOUR data?
You should be wary of “free” when it comes to apps that gather private data about you and where you go.
Tezlab’s Head of Product told TechCrunch,
“I think we can create something really meaningful, without getting into the business of selling data.”
Storage (access to your historical data) and more advanced features seem to be the monetization plan, not your private data.
The jury’s still out on whether Tezlab is superior to Teslafi. You’re free to try Tezlab out for yourself using this link.
Teslafi vs. Stats for Tesla
With a one-time purchase, you may want to consider Stats for Tesla if you hate subscriptions as much as I do.
It’s only available for iOS, though. iPhone & Apple Watch users will benefit from it but Android folks will be left behind.
Teslafi vs. TeslaMate
Being an open source app, TeslaMate benefits both from transparency on the developing end — as well as user privacy.
They’ve figured out how to make a self-hosted yet stable application:
“I’ve used TeslaFi for almost 2 years. I’ve been using Teslamate in docker for about 2 months and am impressed with [them] over some of the other self-hosted attempts I’ve tried. It is more stable and hasn’t crashed on me.”
It’s a hassle to set up, though.
Only developers and very technical people will have an easy time getting the app up and running quickly.
If you want to dive into the different points of view of Teslafi vs. TeslaMate, here’s an entire debate.
And if the app sounds like a right fit for you, get started by taking a look at TeslaMate’s documentation.
Teslafi vs. TM-Spy
Created by the developers of the very well-received Leaf Spy (a battery data reporting app for Nissan Leaf owners),
TM-Spy was built to provide the same detailed battery insights for Teslas.
By being focused on battery reports exclusively, TM-Spy reports are extremely detailed (from Voltage to Battery Temperature and much more).
As such, I see this data being confusing to anyone but engineers or Tesla owners with an electrical/electronics background.
If you’re specifically looking for battery health & degradation reports, there’s no better app than TM-Spy. (Only available for Android.)
For the driving, charging, and the other data points we’ve discussed, Teslafi is the way to go.
Final Thoughts: Teslafi Review
Overall, Teslafi continues to be the third-party data aggregator leader for Tesla owners.
With the exception of its awful interface and crappy user experience, most Tesla owners have nothing but positive things to say about the company – -and its product.
Grab your 30-day free trial while you can — and find out for yourself whether the app is right for you.