Electric car beta group needed

  • 4
  • Idea
  • Updated 2 months ago
  • Not Planned
  • (Edited)
Electric cars can't currently use Automatic Sirius.
Photo of Nicholas Littlejohn

Nicholas Littlejohn

  • 166 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
  • sad, anxious, frustrated

Posted 10 months ago

  • 4
Photo of Nicholas Littlejohn

Nicholas Littlejohn

  • 166 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Electric car beta grpoup needed.

Electric cars can't currently use.
Photo of Nicholas Littlejohn

Nicholas Littlejohn

  • 166 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Electric car beta grpoup needed.

Electric cars can't currently use.
Photo of Derrick S.

Derrick S., Official Rep

  • 7,654 Points 5k badge 2x thumb
Hi Nicholas,

That is correct. The Automatic Pro adapter will not work with electric only vehicles or plug-in hybrids that have an electric only mode. We designed Automatic around gasoline engines and adding support for electric vehicles presents some challenges we're not quite ready to take on just yet. For plug in hybrids, we can only read data when the engine is on. When the car is in electric mode, it gives us very different data we're not designed to interpret. We don't currently have plans to support electric vehicles, unfortunately.
Photo of Robert Glover

Robert Glover

  • 202 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
I think consideration should be placed on supporting electric and plug in hybrid vehicles. By our nature, owners of such cars tend to be obsessed with performance of the cars. I would think Automatic could fill void by assisting in the automatic (excuse the pun) collection of data about our cars.
Photo of Derrick S.

Derrick S., Official Rep

  • 7,654 Points 5k badge 2x thumb
Hi Robert,

That's a good idea, unfortunately we don't currently have plans to support EVs, but that could change down the road.
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
The beauty of an EV is that it is basically a computer with a battery driving a motor.  So, it must be a fairly straight shot to collect information from it.  Are there proprietary issues that might prevent access to the information that the EV might generate?
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Are you working on an adapter that works in electric cars, such as the Chevy Bolt....

An adapter for an electric car will build on the information available from the car itself. Both web and phone functionality would be useful.  My Chevy Bolt EV has good information, but it is not detailed enough, nor historical enough.
(Edited)
Photo of Ani

Ani, Customer Care Lead

  • 9,824 Points 5k badge 2x thumb
Official Response
Hi Robert,

I merged your previous topic so we can keep everything in the same spot. I totally get your enthusiasm about Automatic for your Bolt. We have a staff member who recently got one and is also a bit bummed that they can't use Automatic in it. We, along with our parent company SiriusXM, keep close tabs on automobile development and are well aware of the rise of EVs and plug-in hybrids. The biggest barrier in supporting EVs in any capacity is our product was specifically designed to plug in to a car's OBD-II port. The entire purpose of that port is for emissions regulations and it must meet a federally mandated standard. Many EVs also contain an OBD-II port but as they are zero emission to begin with, they're not required to transmit the same data through it. 

It is not a trivial matter to simply plug in Automatic to the OBD-II port of an EV and decode the signal. Often times, the only reason an EV has an OBD-II port to begin with is for regulatory purposes, not for any diagnostics or car computer data. An Automatic product for EVs would have to be designed from the ground up and we'd have to work closely with individual manufacturers to be able to communicate with the vehicle. It's an entirely different world than what we're built for. 

In short, we're not going to create an EV beta group anytime soon. Our current product simply will not work with an EV. There's no shortage of gasoline cars out there that we'd like to get connected so we're focusing on them at the moment. EV support may come in the future, but the product for those cars will likely be very different than what we currently offer. 
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
Thank you very much for this very informative reply.  Its great!!
Photo of Eric M

Eric M

  • 194 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
Just to note, I've been using automatic for a few years. I recently traded in for a 2018 Volt and decided, what the heck.. Let's try the automatic (2nd gen) in it before I sell it second hand... More or less, it works. The MPG and cost isn't accurate, i'm not sure what the car is reporting to the automatic as all trips have been 100% EV since I've plugged the Automatic in, I assume it's reporting the marketed 42mpg gas range.


However, trip tracking and driving style still work fine, and that's most of what I used it for previously. I personally find the heat maps and other driving data pretty interesting, and it's something that OnStar, which is included with the new vehicle, doesn't offer. I get that Automatic doesn't want to support the various unstandardized EV PIDs out there, but I'll probably be keeping my current Automatic because it does seem to have basic support for my car, even though it's listed as incompatible on Automatic's page.



It also (seems to) read gas level which my previous car couldn't do, and read reported fault codes as far as I can tell:


If anything, I hope that Automatic uses any extra data as a test bed for fine tuning extra EV features and stats gained from my vehicle. Not sure if that's even available to them, but it'd be cool if they can still make gains with the data they have even if they don't have buy-in from specific manufacturers. 
(Edited)
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
Eric M.  Thanks very much for this input.  Please keep us updated.  For me the real question is how the device works with my Bolt EV.  I have a device that looks at the OBD codes already, LElink, although I only have the Volt codes, rather than the Bolt EV codes. I can read  the charging characteristics of the battery, and battery temperature, but I have not found anything else useful yet.  I would love to have the characteristics that you mention, and which I obtained on the automatic I used in the past.
Photo of Scott

Scott

  • 150 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
I absolutely would like to be part of this beta group when it gets created. Driving a Tesla. I completely understand there are many parts of the OBDII output that are emissions and gas/ICE car-oriented.  But I would think that another version/plan could be done for BEV (EV only) that would include crash notification (think road trips when some family members are home or traveling alone). An accident happened to me on a road trip and luckily it was a time I had a passenger ... otherwise, I would have been off the road in the ditch/valley bleeding by myself!  Consider an EV version with a subset of features.
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
The Automatic people are steadfastly avoiding making a version for electric cars, as you can see from their responses to my posts in the past on here.  I have tried to reproduce what Automatic does using other software, but things like Google tracking just do not work as well, nor does my GPS tracking with my Bad-Elf and so on.  Automatic is just a great device, and intuitively it should be possible to do the same thing with an electric vehicle.  However, the Automatic people see obstacles that we don't see.
Photo of Scott

Scott

  • 150 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
Yes, very frustrating I can see. Now with many EVs (BEVs) coming out like the Bolt and Tesla Model 3 it would seem they could make it a priority. Plus they only need to provide a subset featured plan.

Perhaps the Android app 'SOSmart car crash notification'   https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sosmart.app would work for some?

May need to account for your device entering the doze mode (a new feature on Android 6.0+). Doze mode is a battery optimization setting that restricts network access in background services and apps to help conserve battery. To avoid this, you must disable battery optimizations for the app SOSmart car crash notification explicitly yourself. You can get to this setting easily by going to the Settings screen in the app and touching the Battery Optimizations menu option under the Background Services group.
Photo of Robert Glover

Robert Glover

  • 202 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
In my opinion, ‘supporting’ electric cars isn’t as difficult or complicated as Automatic is claiming. Right now, I have an Automatic in two electrified vehicles. Ford C-Max Energi and BMW i3. The adapter works fine in both, and almost all functions operate as you would expect. Where they fail is in calculating MPG (which sort of makes sense).

I think Automatic should support our vehicles because this is where things are headed, and people with electrified cars tend to be more obsessed about tracking their car’s parameters, which is what Automatic is really intended for.

Seems short sided to me.
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
Which Automatic are you using, Robert?
Photo of Robert Glover

Robert Glover

  • 202 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
I have a Pro in the BMW. The C-Max has a Lite.
Like I said, they work pretty much perfectly in both cars. The only things they can’t do is tell the ‘fuel level’ or MPG with accuracy. Aside from those things, all other features work memory serve.

I would just like to see additional electric car specific features. KW/Mi. Graph out power utilization per trip. Charging stats. Etc. the more data the better.
Photo of Derrick S.

Derrick S., Official Rep

  • 7,654 Points 5k badge 2x thumb
Thanks for the input, unfortunately we don't have plans to support EVs at this time.
Photo of Nicholas Littlejohn

Nicholas Littlejohn

  • 166 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
It is unfortunate because other companies are likely to focus on this growing group.
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
I was thinking about this, and considering buying an Automatic to use it like Robert Glover above in my Chevy Bolt EV, but I did a bit more exploration of GM's OnStar "Smart Driver" program, and I found that it keeps track of speed, hard braking, heavy acceleration and miles traveled, just like Automatic.  So, I am thinking of using that for a bit to see how it works out.  There is also some mapping associated with it, but it is not clear to me yet whether it competes well with Automatic.
(Edited)
Photo of Edison517

Edison517

  • 366 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
I know electric and PHEV's aren't officially supported, but I have an Automatic Pro adapter and just wanted to let people know that the adapter works in my 2014 Chevy Volt in the DRIVER's side OBDII port, and not really the passenger side OBDII port. Not everything works, as others have reported, but for trip tracking, it's helpful.
Photo of Derrick S.

Derrick S., Official Rep

  • 7,654 Points 5k badge 2x thumb
Hi Edison517,

You are right, the vehicle you are using is unsupported and shouldn't be used with the Automatic Pro adapter. Doing so is at your own risk.
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
Not really helpful....
Photo of Robert Glover

Robert Glover

  • 202 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
I find it extremely strange that Automatic (the company) does not want to support EV owners. Makes no sense in my personal opinion.
Photo of Derrick S.

Derrick S., Official Rep

  • 7,654 Points 5k badge 2x thumb
Hi Robert,

The Automatic adapter was built around the combustible engine and receives data from the engines emissions via the OBD port. Since EVs don't have emissions by design the adapter can't interpret the data that it receives. It's not that we don't want to support EV owners, it's just that the adapter wasn't built for those vehicles.
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
This is a very vague reply with an underlying implication that a user "shouldn't" plug "Automatic" into the OBD port, when all it means is that the port is not putting out certain types of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) data, so the "Automatic" does not receive the data.  Other data that the "Automatic" does see and report is the same data that an ICE puts out with the same protocols, and it sounds like it works just fine according to multiple reports in this discussion board.  Certainly, I think most of us who have used "Automatic", find that the GPS data functions are the most useful.  The rest of it is just a function of all the maintenance and emission controls that have nothing to do with EVs, and which EV owners clearly don't care about.  The fact that "Automatic" does work with an EV indicates that the OBD protocols work fine for both EV and ICE vehicles.

Nevertheless, I am not sure why all this negativity arises in the responses from "official reps".  What is the danger to the company if all EV owners start using "Automatic"?  Are there commercial reasons to do with "Automatic's" ability to access the data.  Are there competitive issues at play with the car manufacturers?  I would have assumed that the company would be pleased that EVs work with the device?
(Edited)
Photo of Robert Glover

Robert Glover

  • 202 Points 100 badge 2x thumb
Thanks for the response. So are you saying that in order to interpret the data an EV provides via ODB, a HARDWARE change to Automatic would be required?
That’s where I’m getting stuck. In my mind, it’s a question of software, not hardware.
Photo of Robert G Michel

Robert G Michel

  • 316 Points 250 badge 2x thumb
The fact that the emissions data are missing does not appear to affect how automatic works, and data that are present are picked up just fine by the device.  The negativity we are experiencing has no explanation so far.  If it works, why bother worrying about it.  If it works, why is the company fixating about it?
Photo of Ani

Ani, Customer Care Lead

  • 9,824 Points 5k badge 2x thumb
Robert Glover,

That is absolutely correct. We would need completely new hardware in order to properly communicate with EVs. It's on our radar as we're well aware that electrified vehicles are the inevitable future. However, please remember that it is comparatively a small (but growing!) market when you take into account the millions of gas powered vehicles out there that are not yet connected.

Robert G Michel,

There are a multitude of reasons why a car may be listed as unsupported. PHEVs and EVs specifically may not always use standard OBD-II protocols that we depend on to communicate with the car. We can't guarantee functionality with these vehicles.

The bottom line is—if a car is not listed as supported on https://automatic.com/cars, it should not be used with Automatic. This is not a static list, so if a car is not listed as supported now, it may change in the future.