Phone app enhancements

Phone app enhancements

1. Would love a notification of a completed charge. That way when it finished i could go unplug and open the space.
2. Would also love a notification if charging stops when the car is locked. This way i know if someone disconnected me or if the charger malfunctions.
3. Supercharger availability and map locations. Its seems to me that between the cars computer and the superchargers computer we could have a map of all the chargers locations and status. Even more info would be great like time till the current plugged in cars are finished and at what station. Even better is if someone is waiting and they could send a message in app that could notify the current person and they could respond.

Great tech could be even better.... | April 24, 2013

Great ideas!

Interestingly, I believe Tesla recently got a patent on #1, so perhaps it's in the works.

dbfish | April 24, 2013

I think #3 is coming soon in a software update to the car. Only makes sense to do it in combination with the additional Supercharger announcement coming RSN (Real Soon Now.... aka, whenever they feel like it).

For #1 and #2, if you are handy with the API, you could do this by polling the car's status and then sending a notification.

I can set up a web app that does this, server based that sent SMS messages, but would people trust my server with the passwords to their car?

suidanm | April 24, 2013

I really like number 3. In addition to app enhancement, it would be great if the car screen can project the smart phone user interface and sound. It projects sound for phone and music, but would be great if you can make it across the board to listen to other apps.

riceuguy | April 24, 2013

Love it. @suidanm, I don't think we'll see the phone screen on the car screen since that would potentially allow very distracting video...

village33 | April 25, 2013

I would add to the list (4) an optional iPhone alarm/chime/reminder when you turn on heat/AC that goes off when the car hits the set temp (i.e. I turn on the heat and read the paper on the couch until ready but have to keep checking). Also (5) an optional alarm/chime/reminder when the car has been unplugged for __hrs or range drops under __mi when parked (I space out and forget to plug in sometimes and then get annoyed with myself). Setting charge end time is a must and I guess is coming and setting start time is on car in v4.4 but (6) both should be available on iPhone app.

dbfish | April 25, 2013

I can set up a tiny web server device (about the size of a deck of cards) you plug into their home internet connections that would give you full access to automate any of the car's features and log data into Excel or nice graphs, all using a web browser or smartphone. It could pre-heat your car automatically in the morning, text you when charging is done wherever you are, log a GPS track of your trip, show you a "score" for your energy usage for your daily drives, sky is the limit.

That way you own a small device, you own all your data offline, and your Tesla account and none of your data ever touch the "cloud". Would anyone be interested in that?

Getting Amped Again | April 25, 2013

I'd like to add:

1) Remote activation of seat heating. The car interior air warms up very fast because of the instant warm air from the vents, but the leather seats stay coooold... Please let the user select Driver and Passenger seats separately.

2) All the functions of the fob. My iPhone is more secure than a fob (it's PIN protected), its battery won't die and need to be replaced (hey - I have a 60 kWh battery to keep it charged), you can update its functionality remotely, and you won't have to pay $400+ if you lose it. I'd rather leave the fob at home.


EclecticCitizen | April 25, 2013

It seems logical that the car should push notifications to the phone app for events like
1) car alarm activated
2) charge level dangerously low
3) charge complete (as noted above)
4) charge stopped before complete
5) 12V battery low/malfunction

I agree that the app should be able to do the fob functions, but probably only via Bluetooth so you have to be in range of the car too.

TFMethane | April 25, 2013

@dbfish: I think everyone would be interested in your dev ideas, and many would probably use it. However, I imagine people would be wary of giving passwords to their cars to you. In addition, I think you might be opening yourself up to a lot of liability if your site were hacked. I'd mitigate my willingness to help a bit, if I were you. Remember, no good deed goes unpunished. If you want to develop it yourself and publish screenshots, I bet TM would pay attention. You could share your code with others to put on their own personal private websites or whatever. Just don't offer to host all that sensitive data... not a good idea for you personally.

dbfish | April 25, 2013

@TFMethane - Read my second post about the tiny home server device - this way you run the server in your own house on your own network, no data or passwords provided to "the cloud" ever. The home server just talks to your car using the same secure channel your phone does, but it can log data unlike your phone, and give you access to a world of information, all stored on a tiny box in your house. This way, I don't have to manage a central database, and nobody has to trust me.

If people are interested in this I may develop a few test units. They could receive one-way software updates just like your car, to keep up to date with new features as Tesla makes them available (I don't think you can turn on seat-heaters right now via the API, but if the app adds it, we could update your home server to allow you to create a schedule to turn them on every morning 10 minutes before you get to the car if the ambient temp is less than X, for example).

DouglasR | April 25, 2013

@dbfish - would we have to leave a computer running, or would this device function as a computer?

dbfish | April 25, 2013

@DouglasR - Think something like a Wifi Router but the size of a deck of cards - A tiny box that would take only a few watts of power, probably 5 watts or less. If I find the right device, it could do some neat other things, act as a Wifi extender for your home network, plug in an LCD display to show state of charge... sky is the limit...

DouglasR | April 25, 2013

I'm interested. Have you seen some of the Edimax gadgets?

dborn | April 25, 2013

@dbfish - sounds interesting... any idea of cost? At least, cost for your time and expertise?

myc | April 25, 2013

@dbfish, I am interested. Please give me an estimated cost. Thanks!

AlMc | April 25, 2013

Count me in as someone interested as long as it is private/secure.

Brian H | April 25, 2013

Seems like the opening shot in the digital Tesla aftermarket!

Norbert.Vienna | April 25, 2013

@dbfish, I am interested. Please give me an estimated cost. Thanks!

dbfish | April 25, 2013

Wow, awesome to see some interest in my crazy idea! To answer some questions:

@DouglasR - I didn't say specifically above--- YES! No computer needed! No programming skills needed! This would be a standalone tiny device, it would be constantly on just like your Wifi router at your house, and enable you to schedule commands to send, provide alerts/status updates, and collect data in real-time constantly from your Model S (or as constantly as Tesla's server's allow). It would be configured from a web browser, and need access to the internet to talk to your car. - What are the Edimax gadgets? You mean the mobile wifi routers? Yes, looking into that size of device depending on software/hardware capabilities.

@Myc and @dborn - I haven't a clue what this will cost in time and effort other than I know I can do it - I ordered a test device already! ... I just need a Model S to test with (I'm on the Gen III pre-waitlist). I will say, expect it to be very reasonable given the capabilities. I have a big list of planned features, and some are really, really cool (but I'll keep quiet until I know they will work). This will also be a never-ending project - Tesla constantly changes the software in the car, and this device's software would need to be updated to match changes or new functions, to continue to work well into the future. I have heard through another owner that Tesla will officially support the API in the long run, but isn't providing any help until they get around to it. That's great news!

@adamjr - This device will be secure, since it will have a private changing IP address behind a firewall (Your home internet router), with restricted ports, and will talk to Tesla's servers exactly like a smartphone running Tesla's app on your home Wifi network. The account and password, and all the recorded data for the car will be stored encrypted on the device and only decrypted on the fly for authenticating to Tesla's servers or exporting for your use in Excel, etc. The encryption's public key would be stored on my web server along with a unique serial number so I can authenticate your device, and provide software updates for new features and fixes. That way, even if someone stole your device to try and gain access to your car, the encrypted account information and log data would be useless.

So I can start to measure interest and get some more feedback, if you are interested, please fill out this quick form so I can be in touch with you all directly!

And of course discussion is open on this forum!

ChristianG | April 26, 2013

why would you want to make an own device? A phone app could do the very same thing and no additional hardware is neaded.

pebell | April 26, 2013

@dbfish: did you consider the Raspberry PI for your device? I think it fits the bill wonderfully, it's tiny, very cheap (about $30), USB powered, and has processing power in abundance for running a web server. I have one and use it as a XBMC media server, it is brilliant.

skulleyb | April 26, 2013

Dbfish where are you located?
Am am a super tech head and would live to donate my tesla for testing!

I'm in encino ca

GeirT | April 26, 2013

Like this initiative and has signed up. Unfortunately no car yet besides on a different continent, but of interest nevertheless as the issues are the same. Just remember to also make it 220V capable if external power is required, if not directly connected to the router...

dbfish | April 26, 2013

@ChristianG - Very true, another phone app could do all this, but then I would have to make apps for a thousand types of phones (Android developers, I feel your pain). Also-- not everyone uses a smartphone! My Dad still swears by his flip phone, but could use this device with a web browser to enable schedules and data logging, since he loves having access to lots of data!

@pebell - I am looking closely at the Pi, however, for this purpose, it is actually overkill, but I can see making the software stack hardware-independent, so you could run it on any platform you wanted (of course, I can't help with that, you'd be on your own!)

@skulleyb - I'm in Sacramento. I'll definitely need some alpha/beta testers. Sign up on the form link above!

@GeirT - I don't have a car either - I'm waiting for the Gen 3. As for 220v, I want to make it USB powered, if at all possible, so the country/power standard would not matter. However I believe there are differences for European Wifi standards? I'll look into it. Of course, it doesn't have to have Wifi at all, since you can plug into ethernet for your home network, but Wifi makes it more capable and convenient.

Thanks to everyone who has signed up on the form!

pebell | April 26, 2013

@dbfish - thanks for that link to the REST API documentation! It's brilliantly simple and I wish I would get my car earlier than November this year (lease contract) so I could start playing with it myself.

Regarding that issue about people trusting your server with their username/password - we should ask Tesla to provide OAuth 1.0 authentication. This would solve that problem completely, and really open up all kinds of third-party aftermarket possibilities!

Meanwhile, I think I will try to find a Model S owner that will trust me with his/her password so that I can start implementing some of my own ideas :)

qphan79 | April 26, 2013

My previous car was a BMW that allowed you to send an address from your iPhone app to the car so that the car would be ready to navigate to that address once you got into the car. Would love to add that feature to the current Tesla app.

dbfish | April 26, 2013

@qphan79 - This is actually a pretty easy idea to implement. The Model S has a feature that lets you tap on an address from the web browser to send to the built-in Navigation. So you would just log into your home controller from your phone, paste in the address, then on the Model S touchscreen, bring up a bookmark that shows those navigation addresses, tap one, and go! No re-typing.