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BMW App Gives a Taste of the EV Life

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author photo by Autotrader April 2011

Electric vehicle owners have to endure some hardships. Many drivers long for freedom from the pump, but the realities faced by electric car early adopters means it’s not for everyone yet. While a person who works at home may never have to worry about range anxiety, someone with a long commute might find the EV switch a hard pill to swallow.

BMW is looking to help drivers come to their own conclusions with an app that it recently released in Apple’s iTunes Store. The app, called EVolve, calculates a driver’s habits and informs them what their life would be like without gasoline.

The big change when switching from a gasoline-powered car to an electric vehicle is charge time. When a normal car runs out of gasoline, all it takes is 5-10 minutes at any gas station before the driver can continue on his or her way.

An EV’s batteries are not so quick to recharge. Charging a car depends a lot on what type of outlet you use and how depleted the batteries are when you start. In a worst-case scenario, it can take most of a day to fully recharge an electric car. High powered charging stations can cut that down to as little as 30 minutes, but depending on where you live, they can be hard to find.

The EVolve app tracks a driver’s habits through the phone’s map application. Users can log their daily commute, joy rides and errand runs. Using that data it will tell the user at which point a battery would need recharging, or how much life would be left in the car after charging overnight. This way prospective EV buyers will be able to get a sample of the electric life without making the plunge into something they are unsure about.

The app goes on to inform drivers of how much gas money and carbon dioxide a driver will save by switching to an electric car.

EVolve is free in the iTunes Store and is set to launch in the Android Marketplace later this month.

BMW is familiar with electric cars, it has been running a test with electric-powered Mini Coopers (called Mini Es) since 2009 and the app includes advice and tips from the Mini E owners.

BMW has been collecting input from its Mini E project, and will be using that information on its new electric cars. BMW is set to launch its first all-electric car in 2013.

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BMW App Gives a Taste of the EV Life - Autotrader