Apple CarPlay will help BMW i4 electric car find chargers along the way

BMW confirmed Monday that many of its vehicles in the near future will use two useful tech pieces just announced by Apple. 

A new iPhone-based digital key will be offered soon on many BMW models, first on the 2021 BMW 5-Series, and Apple CarPlay-based electric-vehicle charger routing will be included in the upcoming BMW i4 electric car due in late 2021

With the new EV routing feature, BMW said that Apple Maps “will pick the optimal route based on electric range and the locations of charging stations along the way.”

Apple Maps EV navigation

Apple Maps EV navigation

The digital key will be offered with the iPhone XR/XS or newer, or Apple Watch Series 5 or newer. 

The system uses near field communication—similar to the Tesla Model 3 and its card system—but the features are managed in a secure area of the iPhone software that’s part of Apple Wallet. The digital key also taps into a power reserve in which key functions will still work for up to five hours if the iPhone runs out of normal battery capacity. 

Apple CarKey

Apple CarKey

The system also can share access with up to five friends and allow parents to put limits on top speed, horsepower, and sound-system volume. 

BMW announced support for the new digital key its 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-, 6-, and 8-Series ranges, plus the X5, X6, X7, X5M, X6M and Z4—if manufactured after July 1, 2020. Note that BMW’s current all-electric offering, the i3, won’t immediately get the system.

2020 BMW i3

2020 BMW i3

The features are part of a major operating system update that Apple introduced Monday for its iPhones that also includes route-guidance settings for two carbon-reducing modes of transportation that haven’t before been included in its native Maps app: electric cars and bicycles. 

Apple Maps’ EV routing now has charging stops along planned routes “based on current vehicle charge and charger types,” according to the Apple’s first information regarding iOS 14. 

Cycling directions take into account traffic and elevation, and even stairs along the route. 

Waze and Android Auto

Waze and Android Auto

Google has offered charging station information through its Maps app since 2018, and last year it added dynamic routing to them, although it remains available only on the Android version of the app and via the Android Auto interface in cars—not on iPhones running Google Maps.

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