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Electric vehicles and the Internet-of-Things

Posted in Automotive, Cloud, English, Mobile computing

Electric vehicles and the Internet-of-Things

Electric vehicles and the Internet of Things. Now isn’t that a strange title? What does it mean? Pretty simple: electric cars are nowadays connected to the Internet. An increasing number of devices too are being connected to the Internet and thru the Internet to other machines and devices all over the world as well: enter The Internet-of-Things. Electric cars are excellent examples of this emerging technology. Last December I test drove my first connected electric vehicle, a Nissan Leaf. Read below why I was impressed. I have always been fascinated by electric cars ever since the Tesla Roadster came on the market. The combination of sheer speed and tremendous torque seemed unbeatable. Of course the Tesla Roadster’s a  sportscar, while the Nissan Leaf is a car for everyday use. Since my great red (and fast) Saab is getting a bit old, I decided to see if an electric car would be feasible. In the Netherlands, until end 2013, there were a few very interesting financial government tax incentives and benefits when buying an electric vehicle. This could add up to more than 50% reduction in the final price. I did quite some research on the web and two cars stood out, amongst other things because of their relatively low price. However, there was one recurring problem I kept bumping into and that was range. There’s a term for this and it’s called ‘range anxiety’. See, the big problem with almost all electric cars, except the new Tesla, is the range you can drive before you have to recharge the battery. That range is about 200 km for the Nissan Leaf. That, however is the theoretical range. Under normal circumstances it’s more like 140 km. Now, that’s not really much, I thought, but who knows, it might do. So I went to the local Nissan dealer and registered for a test drive. And drove the thing. And to be honest I was impressed. Because of the battery, this car weighs in at about 1600 kg, and you can feel that. It feels big, safe and stable. And it accelerates pretty fast too. I really liked the big touchscreen display neatly integrated in the dashboard. It had all the functions of a board computer and more, much more. Aside from being a complete mediacenter, it was also connected to the Internet. After driving about 1 minute, I turned the corner and a friendly voice warned me about a speed camera dooming up ahead. Wherever I was, with one touch on the touchscreen display I could find the nearest charging point and the car would lead me too it. The Nissan Leaf is a good example of how rapidly subscription services are growing. It’s no longer only popular with IT Service Providers, it’s now also in the area of cars  😉 With the Leaf you lease the battery. You also pay a yearly fee for their ‘Connected Mobility’ service, enabling the car’s connection to the Internet and the connected services. The Connected Mobility service can do lots of things, like warn a central assistance post in case of accidents or find a nearby restaurant for you. So, you might wonder, did I buy the car? Well, to make a long story short: I didn’t. When I took the car for a test drive it was fully charged and the display indicated a 138 km range. When I turned the car in, an hour later, it displayed 92 km. And I certainly hadn’t driven 46 km. For me that was a problem, having customers all over the country would make it too much of a...

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