Electric vehicles are complicated, and you have to go about using and maintaining them differently. Navigation software therefore means a lot to an EV. That’s been General Motors’ excuse for removing CarPlay and Android Auto from its future products, and pointing owners toward its own Google-based built-in map app. However, allowing CarPlay doesn’t necessarily have to mean forgoing such features, as Porsche has reminded us today with an announcement that the Taycan has just gained support for Apple Maps EV routing.
This update actually lives within the latest version of the My Porsche App for iOS, and is supported by every Taycan ever made. Model years 2021 and older will need a free update to the car’s own software that must be performed at a Porsche service department. Otherwise, it’s all very convenient. Here’s what EV routing in Apple Maps does, as Porsche explains in its own press release:
Every Taycan comes equipped with the Porsche Charging Planner, which optimizes stops based on anticipated state of charge (SOC) upon arrival, traffic conditions, and your average speed. However, because drivers interact with their vehicles in a multitude of ways, including Apple® Maps EV Routing offers more choice in configuring a journey.
Apple® Maps EV routing uses real-time vehicle information to help customers navigate to their destination, recommending charging stops when needed. By analyzing elevation changes along the route and other factors, Apple® Maps identifies appropriate charging stations along the way. If a customer drives until the charge gets too low, they are offered a route to the nearest compatible charging station.
This sort of “smart” navigation that incorporates information about the vehicle’s state of charge and how a planned route will impact range exists in Porsche’s nav app, as well as those of many automakers that sell EVs today. However, Apple and Google haven’t exactly been sitting idly by and letting their software fall behind; much of the same data can now be shared through phone projection, for the automakers that choose to take advantage.
One GM exec used the example of battery preconditioning — preliminary warming up of the battery to accept the fastest rate of charge en route to a station — as something CarPlay and Android Auto just can’t offer. But if the line of communication with the car is already there, what’s the issue?
Of course, the quiet-part-loud is that GM isn’t really too concerned about drivers being stranded on long trips because they ran out of juice, but rather that ceding the entire screen to Apple or Google makes it harder for the company to push its brand and services, which tend to cost money. This is something you’d imagine GM, a company that’s desperately strived to be cool for decades, would be concerned about. Our old friend Patrick George recently summed all of this up so well in a column for The Verge:
Ultimately ... this is about control. Whether drivers want it or not — and I suspect a great many do not — this next generation of cars will be about consumer data and subscription features as much as they’ll be about instant electric torque and eliminating carbon emissions. The auto industry is banking on data and subscriptions being massively lucrative revenue streams. GM alone hopes to grow its subscription revenue more than tenfold to $25 billion per year by 2030. Why would any automaker want to cut Apple in on that or be forced to play ball with its software? And neither Apple nor Google charges car companies to use these features; owners don’t have to subscribe to them monthly, either.
Porsche, which spun itself off on the stock market and made a killing in the process, doesn’t have any brand awareness problems. It has more pressing matters to worry about than stopping its customers from using the dang app that makes them happy. People tend to like Porsche. If GM wants people to like it, maybe it should take note.