Monday, March 25, 2013

Traveling on reserve power

Or how a new kind of electro-mobility can be fun. A guest post from Thomas Fleischmann of Elektrobit Automotive.

Thomas Fleishmann
Imagine you are always driving on reserve power. You find this difficult? Get used to it — and welcome to the new era of electro-mobility! Vehicles like the Chevy Volt, with its secondary combustion engine, are already addressing this challenge — but having to support two types of driving technology can be challenging and costly.

So how can electro-mobility, which is supported by software, be implemented meaningfully? And how do we get drivers to accept it? Certainly not by abandoning the driver with nothing but a nicely animated display of the car’s battery condition.

Let's assume you live in a big city. You don’t even own a car. Instead, you subscribe to a certain number of hours of travel time with your favorite car brand. In addition to your S or XL subscription for four weeks a year, you get access to a fossil-fuel engine for your vacation in another state or country twice a year.

In the morning you find and reserve a car with your BlackBerry phone and get into it at a nearby charge-point. The HMI adapts to your profile settings automatically — your friends, contacts, addresses, and music are already there. The navigation system is your energy consultant; it tells you, based on traffic conditions and topography, how far you can drive with this car and, at the appropriate time, suggests an available electric socket within easy reach. Or the system warns you to turn back soon if you want to arrive home safely. After parking the car successfully, your smartphone guides you for the last few kilometers by bus or subway to your destination — it knows the way and easily adopts the data of your navigation system.

Using software solutions like EB GUIDE or EB street director and frameworks like the QNX CAR application platform you can concentrate on creating the end-user experience and transform the journey on reserve power into something fun and convenient — suddenly an electric vehicle becomes a smart mobility concept.

Check this out; I fried it last week. The yellow center represents the area in which you can drive and go back home. The white area represents the range you can drive, depending on traffic or topography:

Thomas Fleischmann is Senior Product Manager at Elektrobit Automotive responsible for the HMI solution EB GUIDE. Contact him at

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