The Chargemap route planner has already been with us for 2 years! To celebrate, we have decided to place the spotlight on the people who work backstage on this wonderful product. Stay with us to the end of the article – we will be revealing the new features that will soon be turning up in your Chargemap route planner 🤫
Cheers to the Chargemap route planner – 2 years already
Let’s go back to 17 June 2021 – a red-letter day for Chargemap. We announced the arrival of a product that was much-awaited by users of the Chargemap mobile app: a smart route planner ⚡️
A bit of backstory. Our team had already been working on a prototype of the planner for some time. Developing this type of product is so complex that we were obliged to rethink our strategy. We needed a team of dedicated specialists on board. And so, first Thomas Cordier, with Yannis Ancele hot on his heels, signed up for the Chargemap adventure and, from virtually nothing, built up the route planner that you know and love today.
The planner has undergone a number of algorithmic and ergonomic developments over time. The team continues to flesh it out on a daily basis to make it even more useful and accurate in the results it yields.
🎤 Our development wizards have accepted to give us a quick interview to tell us more about their fascinating work. So let’s slip behind the scenes of the Chargemap route planner and meet up with Yannis and Thomas!
Over to the developers of the Chargemap route planner
First things first – a little introduction. Yannis is a scientific developer at Chargemap. He contributes to the research and development of the planner’s algorithms. His companion in arms is Thomas, a back-end developer whose task is to build, improve, test and maintain the route planner and its features.
What features have you enjoyed working on most since arriving at Chargemap?
For Yannis, who has written a thesis on operational research, the development of routing algorithms is particularly exciting. “Efficiently improving our algorithms by taking into account factors such as geographical data, EV charging curves, power ratings, batteries and user preferences is no easy task.”
He adds, “I also enjoy integrating new data and sources of information to further improve the quality and accuracy of the routes proposed.”
As for Thomas, it was the early stages of the planner that particularly left an impression on him. “We started virtually from scratch. In the space of 8 months, we came up with a product that was used by 14,000 people in the very first week!”
He continues with a message to current and future users of the route planner: “Today, we clock up about 30,000 different users per week in off-peak periods – and we may hit the 50,000 mark this summer. Thank you for your trust in us!”
A little anecdote or a landmark moment to share with the Chargemap community?
Yannis comes back to the difficulties encountered at the very start of the project. “We were confronted by a massive challenge – finding the right balance between the speed of calculation and the quality of the routes, while taking into account the cost of the servers. We invested a lot of time and effort in searching for efficient solutions to come up with the best compromise.” This experience highlighted the importance of optimisation to find creative solutions that offer users a quick, smooth experience.
Working on a product like a route planner means testing a lot of hypotheses. And that can sometimes lead to some weird and wonderful findings! Thomas recalls an amusing bug he encountered recently when testing a version of the planner. “On one version where we were concentrating on just minimising the energy consumed on the road, we noted some routes that literally went round in circles at certain places. When we investigated further, we noticed that the planner recovered too much (much too much 🙃) energy on downhill runs and therefore decided to recover more energy by looping the loop on downhill slopes.”
How do you see the planner developing over the next few years?
To conclude the interview, we asked our two developers to take their crystal balls and see what the future holds. According to Thomas, “Our goals are the same – to provide greater peace of mind for the users while preserving a perfectly honed product that is easy to use.” On a more personal note, he added, “One of my ambitions is to find out how to benefit from the recent breakthroughs in AI to make the planner’s routes more intuitive and meaningful.”
As for Yannis, the focus should always be on the quality of the routes, but also on customisation. “We want each user to really feel they have been factored in and that our planner meets their individual needs precisely.”
Next steps for the Chargemap route planner
We can’t let you go without giving you a foretaste of the features that will soon be coming your way.
Logging in the average consumption of your electric vehicle
A myriad factors come into play when determining the amount of energy an EV consumes and consequently its range. This is particularly true during cold spells and heatwaves. Sometimes, the planner’s algorithm may be either over-optimistic or too pessimistic in terms of consumption.
Soon you will be able to log your EV’s average consumption in the planner’s settings. This feature will allow you to obtain more accurate, realistic results by factoring in your EV and the conditions in which you are travelling.
An alternative route with greater energy savings
Some of you have been waiting with bated breath for the planner to propose alternative routes. It’s true that for now, it automatically proposes the fastest route.
Our team will start by introducing a second route option in the near future. It will take into account travelling time and distance, but also, most importantly, the amount of energy consumed. This route may be longer in terms of the number of miles and the time it takes, but it will optimise your EV’s level of consumption. This more economical route may also be more attractive in terms of costs as it may require fewer charging stops.
Integrating the data contributed by the community
In the long term, our team wants to take full advantage of the power of the Chargemap community to enhance the relevance of the routes proposed. Indeed, the scores, reviews, reports and comments by Chargemap users are a precious source of information. This personal feedback can tip the balance and ensure that the planner proposes charging stops at truly reliable charging stations.
We are eager to see all these developments take wing and hope that you are too! So that you don’t miss out on anything, subscribe to our Chargemap news and tips and follow us on all social media.
Let’s raise a toast to the Chargemap route planner’s 2 years of existence and the many years to come by your side 🚙 A massive thank you to all users of the Chargemap route planner