FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

There are plenty of electric vehicle apps. What’s different with Power Cruise Control® ?

  1. Power Cruise Control®  is connected in real-time with the car. By using a Bluetooth OBD dongle, PCC always knows SoC (State of Charge), SoH (State of Health), speed, power and many other parameters.
  2. PCC knows orography, up and downhills of the trip.
  3. PCC calculates energy required for the trip, considering regeneration during downhill, ambient temperature, A/C and climate consumption, weather and other affecting factors, to provide reliable driving directions.
  4. PCC suggests charging point along the route and calculate how much charge you need.
  5. PCC gives constant feedback to the driver, via an intuitive interface called Heaven-Hell indicator.

What do I need to start using Power Cruise Control® ?

  1. Find the version of Power Cruise Control®  for your vehicle on the Play Store.
  2. After install, go to PCC settings menu, open the HELP manual and follow the 10 minutes procedure for PCC activation. This is easier done on a computer, rather than on a mobile phone.
  3. Get the suggested OBD dongle as specified in the HELP manual. If you already own an OBD, there’s a good chance it will work with PCC also. Try it by following the step-by-step guide for your first connection, as described in the manual.
  4. Use a stable phone holder for your car, keep your phone visible all the time while driving, and connect it to a phone charger during the trip.
           

What is an OBD Bluetooth dongle and why Power Cruise Control needs one?

An OBD dongle is a device that allows a connection between your car control unit and your phone.
Note that this is NOT the same Bluetooth connection you may are already using for hands-free calls.
PCC is always connected to your car: this connection allows PCC to provide a constant assist during your trip, by answering the fundamental questions that no one can really answer by himself:

  1. Do I have enough energy?
  2. Can I reach my destination with my actual driving style?
  3. How much energy do I need for my trip?
  4. How should I drive to reach my destination with my actual level of charge?
  5. How long should I charge at the next stop, to reach my destination without wasting time?

Why an electric vehicle should be driven looking at the available energy and not at the remaining kms?

That's because the GOM (guess-o-meter) is calculated by the car based on your driving history, depending on carmaker rules: some estimate range based on the last trip, others average just the last 50 kms. These aren't good methods, because they are not error-proof. For example, if your last trip was uphill, available range will be calculated as if the world would be completely uphill. At the opposite, if your last trip was downhill, available range of the car will be way too optimistic, because the world is made of up and downhills.
What is the solution?
Power Cruise Control®  calculates every trip, every time, with up-to-date data (orography, temperature, battery health, ...) starting always from the available energy, not the available range. Using this approach, we are able to predict, with high accuracy, the energy consumption for a trip, allowing the driver to fully use his battery at its best: no energy surprises will occur, thanks to PCC reliable calculation method.
Do you see now why an electric vehicle should be driven with Power Cruise Control® ? To solve, every time, every range problem.

Is depleting the battery harmful for the car?

Reaching the minimum allowed charge level is not harmful: it's just the lower limit set by the car maker, and it's way far from the deep discharge level that would damage the internal battery chemistry.
The real 0% is impossible to reach while in motion, because the on-board software doesn't allow it.
When the car stops, the real charge level may be 7, 8, or even 12%, depending on the battery health.
The same applies to the maximum charge: when we read 100%, the real value may be as low as 92%, again depending on the battery health.
Our advice is: use your battery at its best capacity, that means "to its full capacity" and Power Cruise Control®  will help you.
What really hurts an electric car is leaving it at rest for a long time with extremely low or high charge levels: so do not leave it parked 0% or 100% for several days.

I can’t find Power Cruise Control®  on iOS App Store

The Power Cruise Control®  development team is actually giving priority to supporting as many vehicles as possible: porting to other platforms will follow.
In the meantime we suggest using a dedicated Android device, running only PCC, with the Bluetooth OBD dongle suggested in the HELP manual.
Connectivity can be provided by the iPhone via Wi-Fi hotspot: a SIM for the Android device is not required, and since the PCC requirements are pretty small, an old, dismissed Android phone can be used at no additional cost.

Why is the energy, shown by Power Cruise Control® , different from the one I read in other apps?

PCC is different from other apps, it shows not only the energy parameters using the OBD connection to the car, but it also allows to plan and manage trips.
Energy shown by PCC is the one available for moving the car, thus real available energy, not the theoretical one. It is computed from the real SOC usable limits, and from actual SOH.
The kWh counter from PCC allows for trips planning up to 0 kWh, that means up to complete battery depletion and stopping of the vehicle. This is allowed just to give the chance to solve trip problems that might otherwise require a tow track intervention. Even if it’s possible to navigate up to 0 kWh, i.e. complete battery depletion, we always advise to leave a safety margin of at least 1.5 / 2 kWh to your destination, and to get progressive acquaintance with PCC navigation in progressive steps. Always remember that 0 kWh means the car will stop, so if you choose a strategy with zero energy at destination, the vehicle may stop just a few meters before reaching your target.

Why is the percentage of charge, shown by Power Cruise Control® , different from the one I read on the car itself?

PCC shows the Real SOC, the true battery value, and it never reaches 0% or 100%, as with Displayed SOC, the one on the car dashboard.
The SOC displayed by the car, doesn’t represent the real state of the battery, but it’s engineered by the car manufacturer to influence driver’s behavior.
The on-board computer of most electric vehicles is devoid of any energy tutoring, so the car maker keeps an energy amount hidden from the user, to cope with unforeseen situations.
Some vehicles have a SOC display logic that is not linear: at high levels, the displayed value is higher than the real one, while at low levels is lower.
PCC, instead, reads data directly from the car BMS and shows real, unfiltered, data. This data is used to compute available energy in kWh.
kWh count is the only real measure of the battery state of charge and available energy.

Why can't I use PCC planning from home?

All Power Cruise Control®  versions rely on Google Maps Routing services.
These services ensure the best experience while driving, solving wrong turns, queues and unexpected events that other free navigation systems can't handle. This reliability has a significant cost, actually covered by the internal APIKey of each PCC copy.
We're planning an easier way to manage a personal APIKey, so "sofa" calculations will be available.
For more information about APIKey generation, management and cost (which allows a free usage limit each month), please look at the dedicated section at the bottom of the FAQ page.

Where is the OBD port in my car?

The location of the OBD port vary depending on car models.
The HELP manual shows locations for some cars.
For the Renault ZOE, you can have a look at this video: https://youtu.be/gun8vCifawo
If you’re unable to find or remove the plastic cover or the OBD port, you can ask your car dealer to assist you.

If I change my phone, do I have to buy Power Cruise Control®  again?

No, PCC purchase is linked to your Google account: as long as you use your Google account, PCC will follow you on your new device.
You can even use multiple devices with the same account and have PCC installed on all of them.

What's the meaning of the first green/red screen?

The first screen is the Heaven-Hell indicator (Thengoku-Jigoku meter).
The car position is affected by several parameters like power and speed and you can control it with the accelerator pedal. By keeping it in the green area, you can have full confidence you’ll arrive at your destination with the energy forecasted by the trip strategy you have selected at the beginning of the trip.
PCC provides constant, real-time, assistance during the trip, to reach your destination.

Why my screen is all green instead of green/red?

Depending on car model, PCC has different thresholds for energy at destination that is considered safe enough to keep the speed chosen by the driver.
Over those thresholds, the #allyoucanGo mode is automatically enabled. If you have “a lot” of estimated energy at destination, PCC automatically selects the fastest available strategy and the main screen will be all green.
  1. No warning sound will play if the car crosses the reference line.
  2. Driving under the reference line, we’ll have an energy consumption higher than what was forecasted, causing the energy at destination to reduce at every checkpoint.
This is no problem, since PCC is always monitoring the driving conditions, and as soon as the energy at destination drops under the safety margin, PCC will automatically switch to the classic green/red screen.
This is because driving faster we consumed the excess energy we had at the start, so to get to our destination safely, we’ll have to respect the strategy from now on.
If you want to arrive at your destination with the amount of energy forecasted at the start, you’ll need to respect the chosen strategy. Strategy is maintained by keeping the car wheels on the horizontal black line across the screen.
If you are in #allyoucanGo mode, you can go as fast as you like, because you have more than 8kWh at destination (I-Pace reference value is used here as an example). Keep driving fast and, as soon as the energy at destination drops below 4 kWh, the green/red guideline will appear.

What is the -/+ % (i.e. +0.3 % or -0.5 %) number on the first screen?

It’s the % Delta value. It measures your trip performance from an energy point of view.
At every checkpoint, the energy usage is compared with the planned value.
A positive delta i.e. +0.3 % means you are consuming less energy than expected, so you will arrive at your destination with more energy than expected; the "energy at destination" counter will be increased accordingly.
A negative delta i.e. -0.5 % means you are consuming more energy than expected: PCC will try to compensate by adjusting the trip strategy, just keep the car in the green area; the "energy at destination" counter will be decreased accordingly.

Wheels over the line -> less consumptions -> +0,5 % -> more energy at destination
Wheels on the line -> exact consumptions -> +0 % -> energy at dest. as predicted
Wheels under the line -> more consumptions -> -0,5 % -> less energy at destination

If I need to keep PCC in the foreground to see the indicator, how can I see the navigator instructions?

After selecting the trip strategy, you are asked about opening Google Maps. Select YES and Maps will open with the destination already set by PCC.
Select “START” to begin navigation and then use the Android Home button to open PCC again.
Starting from Android 8, Google Maps will be shown in a Picture-in-Picture window, that can be moved on PCC screen, so you can see both at the same time.
For previous Android versions, the navigator thumbnail is not available, but it will still be active in the background, providing directions with vocal messages.
It’s also possible to follow the route on the third screen of PCC, where a north-oriented map is shown.

When I choose a destination, how can I set the way back home, for a classic round-trip?

You can use + ADD DESTINATION to add home as a last waypoint for your trip.
You can also use the same option to force path through a specific waypoint, and select to avoid tolls and/or highways, to better match your travel needs.

What are the travel options on the third screen?

Avoid highways will force the navigator to skip them from your route.
Avoid tolls does the same for roads where a payment is required.
Select the correct number of passengers (including the driver) for accurate energy estimate.
Select the number of baggages, by airline standard luggage weight.

How much time do I need to wait while charging at the start of the trip?

Every time you charge, you need to know much time you have to stay plugged in.
Usually you look at the guess-o-meter and the distance you have to travel, but this is really heavily dependent on where you are going and what speed you want to travel at.
By charging too much, you don't only waste time, but also money, if you're using a non-free charger.
If you set your destination in Power Cruise Control® , the trip starting time and the charging stop time will be displayed, for each available strategy.
Sometimes, especially at high SOC levels, charging power will decrease significantly, and the arrival time will be negatively impacted: unoptimized charging will lead to longer charging times, longer trip times and higher fares.
The best strategy is displayed by Power Cruise Control®  Calculate Charge function, suggesting you the optimal choice to ensure your arrival in the fastest time, saving time and money with no range anxiety.

Where can I find the elevation profile of my trip?

Each trip is different from the previous, and orography plays an important role in energy consumption.
Power Cruise Control®  will calculate your energy needs, using elevation information also, considering higher consumption when driving uphill and energy regeneration while driving downhill.
The elevation profile of the trip is displayed on the screen, and a grey point will appear, indicating your current position, updated at each checkpoint.
For example, while driving on a mountain road, the car guess-o-meter may say that your range is not enough to reach your destination, but PCC, using altimetric information, knows that using regeneration in the downhills you'll safely reach your target.
Altimetry data is often ignored by the car on-board computer of many car models.
Drive with Power Cruise Control®  at your side, and your trips will always be under your complete control.

While travelling, do I need to keep PCC always on the screen?

PCC works correctly if kept on the foreground: you can answer phone calls, but it’s best to switch back to PCC once the call is established: it won’t be interrupted.
Latest versions of Android have limits on running background applications, so keep it open all the time.
The best solution, and the safest driving option, is using a dedicated device: an old, dismissed, SIM-less Android phone is able to run PCC efficiently. Your main device can provide connectivity to the PCC phone via Wi-Fi tethering.

What is the percentage shown under the charger icon in the multicharge selection screen? What if I change it?

The percentage shows the State of Charge that should be reached in that charging session. You can change it if you want to charge more or less than suggested.
Be aware that, by charging less, your next destination may not be reachable anymore and you will have to stop earlier for a new charge.
If you charge more, you’ll be able to go further than scheduled, but your charging session will be slower. Charging to the maximum is not always advisable: charging power decreases when the battery is nearly full, the temperature will also increase, so we advise you to stick to the default settings, unless you are forced to charge at maximum to reach the next stop of your trip.

How can I search and select a charging point?

On the left side of the destination input field, you can select the charging point icon, and a map of nearby charging points will appear. You can select one and set is as the next destination.
If you select a destination in the charging points map input field, nearby charging points will appear, so you can select one as a new destination.

How can I search and select charging points along my route?

Enter your destination in the third screen and select CALCULATE TRAVEL.
If the destination is within your available energy, a SET button will appear next to each available strategy.
If the destination is out of reach, a SET button will appear next to MultiCharge strategy: select it and a list of charging points will appear. Some of them will be reachable and selectable. By selecting a reachable one, subsequent chargers will became available and again until the final destination will be in range.

Which charging points database is used by PCC?

PCC uses OpenChargeMap.org: if a charging point is available on Open Charge Map, it can be used in PCC.
If your preferred charging point is not listed in PCC, you can simply add it on OpenChargeMap.org at it will appear in PCC also.
If you notice inaccurate information about a charging point, you can update it in OpenChargeMap.org, so PCC will have it updated as well.
In selected parts of the world, like Italy, we also display real time status of charging point connectors: green if available, yellow when in use, red when out of service or unknown.

What about kW and kWh values?

kW and kWh are not the same unit.
Power (from motor, regen or charging) is measured in kW.
Energy (contained in the battery or bought from a charging point) is measured in kWh.
You can think of kW as the equivalent of the old hp measure for ancient cars, and kWh as litres or gallons of fuel.
For example your Leaf 40 has 38 kWh of available energy when new (i.e. SOH 100%) and can charge at 44 kW power from the CHAdeMO.
If connected for 5 hours to a slow charger, single-phase 32A, it can theoretically charge at 7,36 kW (32 A * 230 V). Conversion losses from AC charging point to DC car battery amounts to at least 10%, so you will end up charging at 6 kW, filling 30 kWh in 5 hours.

I don’t hear any sound from PCC

Turn on, or increase, your mobile volume setting: be sure to select the multimedia volume, not the ringer or call volume.
If your smartphone is paired with your car infotainment system, sounds may be forwarded to the car. You can disable multimedia sound redirection, while still leaving phone calls enabled, by following this video: https://youtu.be/kYsft7x-F4c
Don’t forget to enable sounds from PCC settings screen.

My Podcasts are interrupted by PCC system sounds

The only way to play audio from the phone, such as Podcasts or Spotify, while PCC is active, is to disable sounds from PCC settings screen.
This configuration is strongly discouraged because it prevents you from hearing PCC audio cues regarding speed and checkpoints. Ignoring PCC indications may cause failure in maintaining a trip strategy, thus preventing you to reach your destination, or reaching it with a different energy amount than previously established.
Audio streaming floods the Bluetooth channel with data: this may also prevent PCC from correctly communicate with the OBD dongle.

What is the Personal Google API Key, and how do I get one?

PCC inquires Google Maps to get driving directions. To ask directions to Google Maps, you have to identify yourself. The API Key is just like a password for getting services from Google Maps. The service is free for up to 500 trips per months: this is well over what anyone can really travel for personal use. To get your Personal Google API Key, follow this steps:

  1. Go to ...get-api-key link
  2. Select "Get Started"
  3. Enable all flags
  4. Select "Yes" and "Next"
  5. Select "Create"
  6. Select "Accept and Continue"
  7. Fill out the form with your data, including Credit Card information (it won't be billed)
  8. Select "Next"
  9. Copy your key in an email message and send it to your phone. Paste it in the API Key field of the PCC settings screen

I don’t have a credit card, how can I activate the API Key?

PCC is a one-time purchase, unlimited use app. To allow this, a Personal Google API Key is required.
Each Google account has a free traffic bonus of $200/month. A private/family use of PCC could generate $5 of traffic each month, so no charge will be applied to your Personal API Key.
To get a Personal API Key, you’ll need a valid payment method. On a monthly basis, Google Cloud Platform will send you an invoice with 0,00 amount to pay, because you will always stay under the 200$ free-of-charge monthly limit.
If you don’t own a credit card, there are other methods to generate an invoicing account on Google Cloud Platform, as described here: https://payments.google.com/paymentsinfofinder

The map on the third screen in not shown, I can’t see my position

This is related to the Personal Google API Key. Make sure you followed the procedure to generate it. A step-by-step guide is available in the HELP manual, from the settings menu.
Make sure your key was generated from a desktop computer and not from a mobile.
If you already own a working Personal API Key, you can copy it from another installation of PCC: make sure you copy and paste it from the proper field in the PCC settings menu.
The Personal Google API Key is not linked to your mobile Google account, so you can use another account to generate a new key.
After setting the API Key in PCC, the app should be restarted.
NOTE: your API Key is just like a password: keep it safe and do not publish or send it to anyone.

There’s a black overlay on the map saying “MISSING OBD DATA FROM CAR, VERIFY YOUR OBD CONNECTION”

  1. Have you correctly paired your OBD dongle with your phone?
  2. Is it shown in the Bluetooth device list?
  3. Make sure you have selected your OBD in PCC first screen, by tapping the Bluetooth icon. You’ll have to repeat the procedure whenever you change your OBD dongle.
  4. Verify that the OBD dongle is correctly plugged in the car connector: most of them have some LED lights to check if they are correctly connected.
  5. Make sure the car is turned on.
  6. Try removing and inserting the OBD dongle again.
  7. Verify that the correct car model is selected in the app settings screen.
  8. Make sure you’re using a supported OBD device.

I’ve set a destination, but I’m unable to select CALCULATE TRAVEL

  1. Make sure the destination address is complete, with street number and city, or choose a proposed auto-complete option.
  2. Your starting point (i.e. your current position) may not mapped on Google Maps: try moving your car to the nearest public road and try again.
  3. Check that you have data and GPS coverage on your phone, moving around a little if it’s not the case.
  4. If you have entered multiple destinations with the + ADD DESTINATION button, one of them may be incorrect: adding a civic number or setting a nearby street may solve the problem and enable the CALCULATE TRAVEL button.
  5. Verify that the payment method of the API Key is valid (i.e. your card is not expired or about to expire). Update your payment method with a new, valid one.

How/Where can I recover my Personal Google API Key?

  1. Open the PCC settings screen and select HELP.
  2. On the second page, click on the DASHBOARD link.
  3. You will be redirected to “console.developers.google.com”.
  4. Click on the drop-down menu at the left of the “Google APIs” title.
  5. Click on “API and services”.
  6. Click on “Credentials”
  7. A page with your API Key will be opened: click on the sheets icon to copy it into the clipboard and paste it in PCC Personal Google API Key field.

Acronyms dictionary

Acronyms dictionary Dizionario degli acronimi
BMS
Battery Management System. Electronic unit that keeps information about charge and health.
BMS
Unità di gestione della batteria. Componente dell’auto che mantiene le informazioni relative alla salute e al livello di carica.
ECU
Electronic Control Unit. Computing device that manages one or more car components.
ECU
Centralina elettronica che governa una o più parti dell’auto.
kWh
Kilowatt-hour, unit of energy for measuring battery content, just as litres or gallons are used for fuel tanks.
kWh
Chilowattora, unità di misura dell’energia contenuta in batteria. Significato equivalente al litro per le auto tradizionali.
OBD
On Board Diagnostic: usually referred to the device used to connect to the car internals.
OBD
Solitamente riferito al dispositivo di connessione alla centralina dell’auto.
PCC
Power Cruise Control® , the most reliable driving system for electric vehicles in the world.
PCC
Power Cruise Control® , il più affidabile sistema di guida per veicoli elettrici al mondo.
SoC
State of Charge, level of battery in percentage.
SoC
Livello di carica della batteria, in percentuale.
SoH
State of Health, percentage value of battery capacity compared to a brand new unit.
SoH
Stato di salute della batteria, in percentuale rispetto alla capacità potenziale a nuovo.

You didn’t find answer to your question?

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