Charging planning is key on e-car long trips. Lots of electronic car drivers. With the updated route planner, BMW now wants to outpace the electric company Tesla.
With the i3, BMW has long been considered a leader in electric mobility. As far as cargo convenience functions were concerned, the Bavarians were still far from being the pioneers. Tesla secured this very early on with its supercharger network, which is originally linked to the infotainment system, and even early versions designed for happy long-distance e-car drivers.
At BMW, the infotainment systems for electric cars for the first watch were complemented only by a few focus points at charging stations. It was not well thought out. Optimized route planning for true charging that supports the e-car driver on long trips and calculates the route based on driving behavior, route, charging infrastructure, battery characteristics or state of charge (SOC) in vain while researching Tesla for years has shown everyone how charging works appropriately.
If you want to charge the i3 on the go, you have to manually enter an intermediate destination if you think it makes sense to charge in that area. Whether the charging station is available at that time is another matter – and if not, all you have to do is push it.
New route planner four times faster
BMW e-track, that is, the true charging route planner, has been present only with newer electric cars, such as the BMW iX3, which have been produced since the end of 2020. However, the current program as of 7/21 still does not make the hearts of electronic car enthusiasts outperform faster. The charges are that it’s too slow, too few setup options and too little information about charging – plus, some of the layout doesn’t seem well thought out.
BMW seems to have recognized this and accepted customer requests. Because with the 7/22 update, BMW is completely transforming the eRoute from the inside out and the cars and sports have already been able to get an exclusive look at parts of the new loading road layout.
As the video impressively shows, the load path layout using software version 7/22 is much faster than the version from the previous year (21/7). According to BMW, the average time savings is three to four times. Since the navigation system already suggests charging stops when planning a route and doesn’t ask first if you actually want to charge en route. As if one had absolutely no other choice in the iX 40xDrive, where the video was recorded, to drive from Munich to Berlin.
Routing is running on the server
Nothing has changed in the basic process of planning the route. The vehicle continues to send vehicle and destination coordinates to the rear end of BMW vehicles, provided network coverage permits are obtained. Then the path is calculated there on the server, including traffic jams and everything that goes with them. In addition to the improved algorithm, according to BMW, the speed with which the trajectory can be returned to the car is much higher – everything including charging points.
The menu structure has also been revised. Whereas previously it was relatively difficult to view target shipping breakpoints on eRoute and to get an overview of the entire route, this is now possible with just one click.
The route chart was not yet very informative about the charging process itself – i.e. duration, percentage and which charger to charge. Only the expected arrival time, the expected charging time in minutes and hours, and the name of the operator of the charging station are shown in the route overview.
The system didn’t say in which SOC you get there and what percentage you should recharge. Very unfortunate: when I got to the charging station, there was no indication if the previous forecast had changed due to driving style, traffic, weather or any other external influence. All the points that Tesla has been offering for years and that Mercedes has also been offering to customers of EQ models.
More information about the store
At BMW, this is about to change with software release 7/22. It should now contain all of this information and also show when the shipment is expected to end and at what SOC it will reach your destination.
Also new: SOC can now also be set in the destination. While fixed SOC access was set at 10 percent with the legacy software, that decision is now up to the driver. He can choose a value between 5 and 50 percent with which he can reach the destination and an SOC value between 5 and 25 percent of the intermediate destination at the charging station.
Full update only for i4, i7 and iX
An exciting question remains when the new route planner will be launched. As the name of the software update suggests, the package will roll off the assembly line in OS8 vehicles from July 2022. The full update is then available on previous works of an all-electric BMW with OS8, more precisely: iX, i4 and i7. Beginning in the third quarter, the software will also be rolled out to the all-electric OS8 fleet via an over-the-air (OTA) upgrade.
Unfortunately, iX3 customers must be satisfied with a smaller version of the update. Reason: Old OS7 generation still works in iX3. Therefore, the new setup options and extended screens of the electrified X3 are dismissed. Since route calculating and load planning are performed on the server in the BMW backend, the iX3 benefits from the faster computation speed and improved routing that comes with a software update.
With this update, BMW is finally moving on and taking care of the topic of comfortable charging. Because it is not only important how fast you charge, but above all when and where you charge. With the announced software release 7/22, BMW is doing a lot of things right and sometimes offering functionality and setup options that are not yet available in the competition.