EV Telematics Bring the Cloud to the Car
One reason why plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) haven’t sold as quickly as originally projected is that, to date, they have failed to distance themselves from traditional cars with telematics features. As we discussed in Pike Research’s Electric Vehicle Telematics report, you can see how many estimated miles you have left on a battery charge and get driving tips to increase your energy efficiency – but that’s about it. The possibilities for connecting an owner with their PEVs’ unique capabilities are virtually limitless.
The automotive industry designs in 3 to 5 year cycles and has always lagged innovations in software development and information technology, which adhere to 12-month or less development cycles. The automotive industry’s relatively slow pace of innovation is understandable given the emphasis on safety and the sensitivity to driver distraction issues.
The recent announcements of new vehicle software platforms and the advances in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, however, pave the way for PEVs to take a clear lead in telematics applications. This month both Ford and GM opened up their development platforms to third parties. Agero Connected Services recently announced a developer kit to enable telematics apps to talk to the cloud and to continually update vehicle software platforms.
Smarter Than a Smartphone
In his talk at the recent Consumer Telematics conference in Las Vegas, Agero’s Frank Hirschenberger challenged the auto industry to make vehicle applications “safer and better than what is on a smartphone.” While he was primarily referring to so-called “infotainment” apps, the same can be said for apps that help drivers get the maximum value from their PEVs.
Hirschenberger correctly pointed out that communicating with the cloud enables the data to be aggregated and processed outside the vehicle, so that the amount of code stored under the hood can be kept to a minimum. As connected vehicles, PEVs are a great arena for software jockeys to let loose their imagination in manipulating big (and small) data.
People (especially guys) love to brag about their gadgets, and adding apps that would (for example) calculate the amount of greenhouse gases eliminated by driving electric, or calculate the total energy cost, would result in lots of bragging to the neighbors. Privacy must be protected, as Brian Inouye, National Manager of Advanced Technologies, Toyota , noted during the same conference. Marketers and auto makers are looking forward to siphoning information off the vehicle, Inouye said, but consumers are understandably wary.
It is time for PEVs to carpe data. Optimizing vehicle performance, understanding vehicle health, maximizing fuel savings, and reducing emissions are just a few of the kinds of information that could be made accessible and useful for drivers, while making PEVs the most advanced telematics vehicles on the planet.
New to EVs? Start here
Electric Cars Pros and Cons
EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
Guide to Buying First Home EV Charger
You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).
Comprehensive Electric Vehicle Charging Guide for Businesses
How do you ensure that electric car owners will be happy with every visit to your charging spot?
How to Use the PlugShare EV Charging Station Tool
Locate EV charging stations and optimize their use with a powerful mobile app.
Guide to Quick Charging of Electric Cars
Add 50 to 60 miles of range in about 20 minutes. Here's how.
Calculating the Real Price of EV Public Charging
Compare the cost of charging on the road to what you pay at home.
Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.