Open Vehicle Management System

Being a software developer and general all-round techie, I decided that I should get involved with the Open Vehicle Management System (OVMS) project.

OVMS is an open, community driven, project to connect cars, specifically EVs, to the internet. This connection offers a huge potential for connected services via the web or phone apps such as vehicle systems control, starting/stopping of charging, locking/unlocking of doors, reporting of location, starting/stopping of heating and a/c systems… to name a few.

Being an open system and being community driven it opens up a future of almost unlimited potential. It is impossible for me to list here the potential for OVMS. It can offer many services now but the real power lies in the open architecture and the community aspect which allows development of the OVMS system in any direction that we can imagine!

So what does it entail?

OVMS Module and Antennas

I bought my OVMS kit from Zero Carbon World but unfortunately the ZCW shop has now closed but the same kit is available from Hong Kong via international post from www.fasttech.com

It consists of a OVMS module, a GPS antenna, a mobile phone antenna and a cable to connect the module to the car via the diagnostic (OBD2) port. You need to purchase a mobile phone SIM to allow the module to connect to the internet via the mobile network but that is only about £15 per year with GeoSIM.

So I ordered up the kit and it arrived a couple of days ago. Installation was pretty straight forward. The SIM was activated via the SIM card web site and then installed into the module. I will not explain it too much here as there is a great primer video from Transport Evolved which I strongly recommend you view before installing yourself. I found it hugely helpful.

I then had to go onto the openvehicles.com web site and provision, or activate, the module. Again, this was pretty straight forward and if you have a Tesla Roadster or Renault Twizy then a model-specific instruction manual exists. If like me you have a Vauxhall Ampera/ Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf then there is no tailor-made manual for you yet, but by reading the manuals for the Roadster and Twizy and a bit of digging around the forum I was easily able to install and provision the module. If you get stuck with this then by all means get in touch and I will help if I can.

So, once the module is installed into the car and provisioned on the web site I installed the mobile phone app onto my Android phone and connected. The car showed its state of charge and position. There are many more functions activated for the Roadster and Twizy and many more functions to come on the Ampera/Volt and Leaf but development for these models is still pretty new so don’t expect too much right now. However, there is a lot more to come for all models and I have to admit that it is very exciting to see details of the state of your car and its location on your mobile phone for the first time!

So there you are. That is about as far as I have got so far. I have volunteered to help with the development but at the moment I am still very much a beginner and so I am not helping much but I am sure that in due course I will start to contribute to the project.

If you are a techie and feel you might want to help then please contact the OVMS development team via the openvehicles.com and say hi. they are a very friendly bunch and I think anyone who wants to get involved would have fun and enjoy the experience.

Watch out for more news on my involvement and experiences with OVMS.

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