On the evening of January 17th, Tesla released an update on its official Weibo that caught many car owners by surprise. The EV-maker announced that it will be switching from Tencent Maps to Baidu Maps as its provider of in-car mapping services.
This is not the first time Tesla has changed its map data service provider in China. The company’s first choice was NavInfo, who customized Tesla’s digital maps to also include the location of all Tesla Supercharger stations.
In 2018, Tesla abruptly replaced their original map data service provider NavInfo with Tencent Maps. However, Tencent is the second largest shareholder of NavInfo, owning 9.75% of the company while the basic map data for Tencent Maps was still supplied by NavInfo.
Apart from being a shareholder of NavInfo, Tencent also became the fifth largest shareholder of Tesla, after acquiring 5% of the company in 2017.
Despite the close relations between NavInfo, Tencent and Tesla, there have been complaints on the car-owners’ side about the functionality and the user experience of Tesla’s built-in navigation services. Complains centered around poor voice recognition, the inability to select routes, the inability to change routes to avoid congestion, a lack of speed limit/violation alerts, and so on.
NavInfo claims that while Tesla has switched to Baidu Maps, they still provide the EV-maker with mapping data and remain partners.