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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