Tesla Model S + Nest = Intelligent Preconditioning, Charging

Here at Transport Evolved, we often chat about how cool it would be to make our EVs smarter, utilizing smart grid, smart car and clever programming to ensure that the Transport Evolved fleet — two Nissan LEAFs and a Chevy Volt — were always pre-conditioned to just the right temperature before we leave, are fully charged at the right time, and save us money to boot.

Sadly, neither of us have the programming smarts to make it happen (although I’m having fun trying to make it so) — but one Tesla-loving programmer has developed a subscriber-based service that does just that — and more.

Enter SmartCar, the brainchild of programmer and Model S fan Sahas Katta.  As Mashable reminds us, Katta is the man behind last year’s GlassTesla app for Google Glass and has now developed a service that leverages Tesla’s own RESTful web services to turn a Tesla Model S into a really smart Tesla Model S.

Unlike Tesla’s standard smartphone service, which lets you program the climate control or charging behaviours remotely, SmartCar adds a layer of intelligence to monitor your car use and then automatically ensure your car is always ready for you when you need it.

Essentially, it sits between Tesla’s existing telematics service and you. Instead of programming the service yourself, the service learns and programs the car for you.

Using algorithms similar to the Nest Thermostat — an autonomous, smart-learning digital thermostat which learns your family’s regular routine to both help you save money on your home heating yet always have a comfortable home — SmartCar learns when you leave the home every day for work, the trips you usually make at the weekend, and what time you leave the office for home.

SmartCar.io's founder Sahas Katta, says he wants to make Tesla's flagship car even smarter.

SmartCar.io’s founder Sahas Katta, says he wants to make Tesla’s flagship car even smarter.

Once it’s learned your routines, the service can then automatically precondition your Model S for you at the right time, so you never again have to think about stepping into a cold car again, or sweltering in a hot car at the end of a busy day at work.

SmartCar also works to ensure your Model S is charged when electricity is cheapest, without requiring you to manually enter in charge scheduling from within your Model S.

Essentially, instead of having to manually program your desired departure time, SmartCar makes its best guess at when it thinks you’ll need to use your car, based on past usage patterns. If your schedule changes, the service automatically adjusts its conditioning and charging cycle for you. Eventually, we could see the service expanding to offer other features, such as the ability to use your daily calendar schedule to ensure the car always has enough charge in it for that next important meeting.

For now, Katta is trying to raise $50,000  over the next 29 days to make the project a reality and is currently offering those who pre-order the service 50 percent off the proposed $100 per year subscription service. That might seem a little steep, but it’s worth remembering that when the Nissan LEAF first launched, Nissan talked about charging a $99 per year subscription for its own Carwings Telematics service (even if it eventually decided not to.)

With twenty-five Model S owners already signed up for the service, there’s some way to go before Katta’s goal is hit, and we wish him luck in finding another 975 Tesla Model S owners to help him reach his goal. With other automakers offering very rudimentary telematics systems on their electric cars, we also hopes he’ll consider extending the service to make cars like the Nissan LEAF a little more smart, too.

Would you pay for a service like this? Or does it seem a lot to pay for something you can already do manually?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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  • vdiv

    No, but I would gladly pay for a subscription to Transport Evolved as it is the intelligent way to keep up with all EVs, not just mine. :)nnIntelligent systems should not impede but rather enhance two of the most important aspects of EVs, fun and freedom. However the problem with smart or intelligent systems is that they can never read or predict the fickle human mind. For example I do not even have the timer set on my coffee maker as I never know when more java would be desired. Instead I see a “big brother” use for these:nn”Thou shalt not charge/precondition/drive yer EV unless and when the intelligent system says so!”

    • Mark Chatterley

      Maybe we need to introduce a modified Three Laws for these systems, just in case:nn1) A smart system may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.nn2) A smart system must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law – even if these orders go against its own predictive view of the human.nn3) A smart system must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law – This includes not allowing anyone to steal said system.

    • Thanks for the feedback.nnSmartcar can be pre-ordered for approximately $4/month for 1-year subscription. With Intelligent charging features, potentially it can pay for itself (one of the Tesla enthusiasts said the same:http://mashable.com/2014/03/03/smartcar-tesla/)nnNote on value add:nnBelow are the details of one of the commonly used PG&E plan E6 plan by electric car owners:n———————————————————————————————–nSummer (service from May 1 through October 31): Peak: 1:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday Partial-Peak: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. AND 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Friday Plus 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Off-Peak: All other times including Holidays.nnWinter (service from November 1 through April 30): Partial-Peak: 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday through Friday Off-Peak: All other times including Holidays.nnHolidays: u201cHolidaysu201d for the purposes of this rate schedule are New Yearu2019s Day, Presidentu2019s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. The dates will be those on which the holidays are legally observed.nnDAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ADJUSTMENT: The time periods shown above will begin and end one hour later for the period between the second Sunday in March and the first Sunday in April, and for the period between the last Sunday in October and the first Sunday in Novembernn(Source: http://www.pge.com/tariffs/tm2/pdf/ELEC_SCHEDS_E-6.pdf)n———————————————————————————————–nwith this plan, one has to change Tesla’s inbuilt schedule almost once is every 3 days! PG&E is one of the largest providers. Things get much more worse as we begin to analyze other small electricity providers.nnSmartcar introduces following features, which is very useful depending on how much one is involved in taking care of the car or saving money.nnEasy Charging – Set the number of miles (Yes. Not charge level) and the time you need it by. Smartcar works backwards to ensure you have enough range by then. Easy charging also makes best use of off-peak hours to provide the required range at minimum cost.nnAdvance Scheduler – Based on the plan details (like PG&E E6 mentioned above), one can provide details on how off-peak hours change with quick input to Smartcar for once. Smartcar ensures to initiate charging based on the schedule automatically.nnAuto Charging – Smartcar learns your driving patterns and automatically creates a schedule to charge your car at the right times to reduce your electric bill while ensuring you have enough range for the daynnWe have updated our website: https://smartcar.io with more details. I strongly encourage you to check it out.

  • just someone old

    Tesla does a update, and all Model S are smartcars. nI think it is more appropriate for an open source appnlinking openvehicles & open utility