New Features?

Its always fun to find/hear about new features. Whether that is a feature of your car, phone, computer, whatever. In the past your discovery of said new feature was due to re-reading the manual or finding some tidbit online as your device didn’t get an update. Today, however, new features are found by simple software updates (lately every 6 months or so you get a whole bunch of new Windows 10 features–and bugs–with their semi-annual updates). Tesla has been in on this game from day one issuing software updates to their cars on a regular basis (including introducing features such as Monty Python searching, and making the car fart ! LOL).

Traditional OEM’s haven’t joined the party just yet as not many will do an over the air update to the same extent as Tesla (Ford does allow you to download Sync updates to a thumb drive and it appears that Chevy can update the radio via WiFi–my Bolt hasn’t done that yet). One easy way traditional OEM’s have been able to get in on this game is via their mobile apps: These are regularly updated and, sometimes, with new features.

I happened to be reading an Inside EVs article about GM partnering with several charging providers and read this little nugget of info:

The myChevrolet app was recently updated to enable projection of the Energy Assist feature to the vehicle’s infotainment system via Apple CarPlay2 and Android Auto3 for drivers with model year 2017 or newer Bolt EVs.

Inside EVs

Since I have an Android phone I only see the five buttons across the bottom of the screen: Map, Phone, Home, Audio, and “Car”. The Home button really only shows you a list of current things (much like the notification menu) so where could they have hidden this new menu? (On Apple Car play you get a proper home screen with icons–I’m sure the new feature just shows up as a new icon although I haven’t plugged an iPhone in to find out.)

Well after poking at the screen for a few minutes it turns out that you just have to hit the “Car” button and it lists either “return to native” (e.g. the car’s normal screen), or myChevrolet. When you hit myChevrolet you see this:

Woa..a place to show the battery % value (at left) and what it would be if you drove to home or work. Cool! But wait, there is more, tapping on the left panel (“My Energy Level”) shows the Energy Assist screen:

This is the same “how far can I go” display that you can see on the app but in the car. Better yet you see your current battery %, and your home and work programmed points. If you tap on the triangle position indicator (which seems to be hidden in this image) it zooms in to a block level view for a minute or so. You can also pinch to zoom, drag to pan, etc. on this screen. Tapping the lightning bolt at bottom left pops up a list of the closest chargers (and what your battery level would be if you drove there from your current position).

Of course this display isn’t without its bugs: Several times while exploring the feature (and leaving the map display up while driving) I would get a “lost vehicle data, next time you’re parked unplug and replug your phone to restore” (or something to that affect) message.

Still its nice having that “how far can I go” map displayed on the main screen in the car. Almost makes you want to take another road trip….

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New Features?

This feature looks really familiar?!

This morning I was playing around with the myChevrolet app on my phone. There is a menu item named “Energy Assist – Plan Your Route”. When you tap on it you are presented with a map with your location in the middle with some options. The option on the bottom right with the car on it with a circle around it presents a map shaded with your max distance at the current battery state, and your max distance if you intend to return at the current battery state:

2018-06-06 18.09.57

The dashed line represents how far you can drive and be able to return back to your starting point, the light area is the maximum distance you can go when completely depleting the current charge. This display looks really familiar…very early on in this blog I had made a google map page that would display the same information (given a starting point and some distance the map would display a diagram representing that distance from the given starting point–sadly the map page disappeared thanks to DropBox). Here is an image of that drive distance map:

drivecircle

The shaded circle is the radius entered and the green area is how far you could get driving that distance from the red push pin.

The really cool feature with the myChevrolet app here is you can tap a “What if?” button and it presents you with the display above: Note that slider–yes you can move the slider around from 0% to 100% to see how far you can go on any state of charge given the car’s current position! Nice!

 

This feature looks really familiar?!