[Ovmsdev] Request for Comments - Charge Bay Alert

Paul Churchley paul at churchley.org
Mon Nov 18 23:58:59 HKT 2013

First, hello to everyone. I am a software/web developer in the UK. I own a
Nissan Leaf and a Vauxhall Ampera.

As more and more EVs get on the roads so the public charging locations are
going to become more and more busy. Waiting to charge might not be the norm
at the moment because there are still low numbers of EVs out there but as
they become more popular so the public charging bays will become congested
and having to wait while another car finishes its charge will become more
the norm.

Already we are seeing EV drivers leaving their mobile numbers on the dash
so that drivers of EVs that arrive later can call to let the driver of the
charging car know that someone is waiting to use the charger. They can then
ensure they return to the car as soon as the car is charged to unplug and
allow the newcomer to start their charge. Without this communication it is
very possible that the driver of the charging car may not know someone is
waiting and so may not return for some time after his car has completed its
charge. Unplugging a car that has completed its charge is sometimes
possible but in some jurisdictions this may be illegal and sometimes the
charge post fails to allow further charging if the car is unplugged without
using the original card. So we need an easy and simply way to contact the
owner of a charging EV to inform them someone is waiting.

Also, some people may not want to publicise their cell number on their dash
for security reasons.

About 18 months ago I developed a standalone web site that allowed an
arriving EV driver to send an SMS message containing the licence plate
number of the car charging in the bay and the web site would then look up
the licence on its database to get the mobile number of the owner and then
send a SMS message to that owner informing them that someone was waiting to
charge. They could then send an SMS back to the web site with an expected
return time. The web site would then SMS the waiting EV driver the expected
return time and optionally the charging drivers mobile number. Using this
system EV drivers could establish 2-way communication without any driver
having to make their mobile number public.

The only requirement was registration on the web site prior to use to allow
the mobile number look up to take place. Once registered a window sticker
was sent out with the web address showing that the car was registered.
Registration could be done via mobile too so an arriving driver could see
that the charging car was registered and could then register themselves
immediate and then use the system.

I bulk purchased SMS messages from a provider that provided a API so I
could send and receive SMS messages via PHP on the web site. I paid for
these myself for testing but I would imagine that there must be some
registration andor use fee to cover these and hosting costs. I wouldn't
expect it to be much though as the emphasis is on providing the service and
not profit.

The system was tested in the UK but there simply were not enough EVs in the
UK at that time to justify having the system. Now things are getting busier
I wondered is such a system might be benefitial so I would like to ask for

I thought that now we have OVMS perhaps there would be scope to interface
it with OVMS in some way? I know that OVMS and Open Charge Map are
potentially interfaced so it would make sense to leverage these systems
where appropriate.

Any comments would be appreciated.

Paul Churchley

Bio: I am a self-employed software/web site developer of 30+ years. I have
PHP, mySQL and other programming skills and could contribute towards
developing such a system or perhaps developing similar functionality in
other systems such as OVMS.
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