Smartphone apps for electric cars

The first Sustainability Hackathon was held from 27 – 29 April in Mountain View. The purpose of the event was to share ideas and develop new apps in the areas of electro-mobility and sustainability. The winning app is designed to help electric-car users communicate quickly and simply with one another on an anonymous basis in … Continued

The first Sustainability Hackathon was held from 27 – 29 April in Mountain View. The purpose of the event was to share ideas and develop new apps in the areas of electro-mobility and sustainability. The winning app is designed to help electric-car users communicate quickly and simply with one another on an anonymous basis in order to use charging stations efficiently and minimise waiting times.

A total of 80 software developers and computer programmers participated in the two-day “hack event” from 27 – 29 April at the BMW Technology Office in Mountain View, California. The event’s main sponsors were the car-sharing service DriveNow and ChargePoint, operator of the world’s largest charging network for electric vehicles. 15 apps for smartphones and mobile phones competed for first place in seven award categories. A total of USD 3,000 in prize money was awarded to the most practical, creative apps.

A widespread problem, currently, is the less-than-optimal utilisation of electric-vehicle charging stations, which are often used by only one vehicle for an extended period of time. For example, electric vehicles may be parked at a charging station during an entire workday. The winning apps enable electric-car owners to communicate with one another in order to use charging stations more efficiently and maximise their utilisation.

For example: One car is parked at a charging station; the other arrives at the station and needs ten minutes’ worth of electricity to reach its destination. The driver of the second vehicle can use the app on his or her mobile phone to contact the driver of the first car quickly and anonymously to request permission to charge the vehicle for a short time – naturally, with the assurance that the first car will be plugged in again afterwards.

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