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Smartcar achieves SOC 2 Type 2 compliance

George Szundi

2 min read

August 25, 2021
News
Live SiteStaging Site

We are proud to announce that Smartcar is SOC 2 Type 2 compliant. This is another important milestone in our ongoing commitment to data security and privacy for our customers.

At Smartcar, security and privacy play a big part in our engineering decisions and our culture. Earlier this year, we embarked on a process to formalize our approach to data security, and today we're thrilled to share that Smartcar has successfully completed the SOC 2 Type 2 examination!

Why is SOC 2 Type 2 compliance important?

As a trusted vendor, we are dedicated to continuously improving our security posture with the highest level of data protection and controls. For our customers, SOC 2 Type 2 serves as a key piece of documentation that Smartcar consistently provides its service in a secure and reliable manner.

“SOC 2 Type 2 is the gold standard for accountability,” said Sanketh Katta, CTO and Co-Founder of Smartcar. "We’re proud that Smartcar’s SOC 2 Type 2 report met all security trust services criteria without exception!”

Our ongoing commitment to data security and privacy

At Smartcar, we take a number of important measures to ensure our platform's security, reliability, and privacy on an ongoing basis.

For starters, all requests to Smartcar services must be encrypted using HTTPS, and all data stored on our platform is protected with Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit encryption. This requirement ensures that data communications and storage are always secure.

Our platform runs on industry-standard cloud infrastructure, where we maintain security best-practices at every level of the network stack. These include the isolation of components and services to prevent unauthorized access to the Smartcar platform.

Smartcar is also compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This ensures our platform processes only the necessary data to serve our customers. With Smartcar, vehicle owners are in complete control of their shared data and can revoke their consent at any time.

Learn more

Visit our Data security page to learn about the measures we take to ensure the safety of the Smartcar platform. Smartcar customers can also reach out to their Customer Success Manager to see our SOC 2 Type 2 report. Or, if you’re evaluating Smartcar, you can contact our Sales team to request a copy of the report as part of your vendor security and compliance process.

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Carge gives EV drivers a seamless charging experience

George Szundi

3 min read

August 18, 2021
EV charging
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Athens-based Carge is a mobile app that unifies thousands of electric vehicle charging stations across Europe. Carge integrated with Smartcar to launch EV Connect, a new feature that gives Carge’s users real-time insights about their vehicle’s battery to enhance their charging experience.

The idea for Carge was born in 2020, when Eleftherios (“Lefty”) Karabatsakis took his first road trip across Europe with an electric vehicle.

To charge his EV, Lefty needed to use multiple apps to access different charging stations along his journey. And because of network exclusivities, he also had to pay a fixed deposit to each charge point operator in advance. It was a complicated, costly, and frustrating process.

“The driving experience was awesome, but I had to download and use five different apps to charge my car,” said Lefty. “I knew there had to be a better way.”

When he returned, Lefty discussed his experience with his colleague Peter Benos. Together, they decided to step down from their jobs and start building an app that could unify all charge point networks in one place. It wasn’t long before Lefty and Peter founded Carge, and embarked on their mission to become the largest electric mobility service provider in southeast Europe over the next five years.

Seamless charging across Europe

With Carge, EV drivers can find, book, and navigate to thousands of charging stations across Europe. Once there, users can manage their vehicle’s charging and seamlessly pay without extra fees — all through a single app.

“We recently heard from a user who took a road trip across Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece,” said Lefty. “He was able to charge his EV for the entire trip using just the Carge app. Otherwise, he would have had to download apps from 11 different charge point operators — without historical charging data, international billing, and of course battery-efficient route planning.”

Smartcar helps Carge enhance the charging experience

In their latest update, Carge turned to Smartcar to give users more insights about their EV batteries and to improve the overall charging experience.

All it takes is a few simple steps for users to connect their EVs to the Carge app.

Carge EV Connect powered by Smartcar

As part of this process, Carge’s users grant permission to share data about their car’s battery and odometer. Once connected, the Carge app uses Smartcar’s APIs to access the battery level, charging status, and odometer from 40+ EV models in Europe.

As a result, Carge was able to quickly introduce innovative new features for their users. The Carge app can now help EV drivers monitor their battery level, designate when they prefer to stop charging, and even proactively reserve a charging station when the remaining battery range is below a certain distance.

“Building connections to different EV makes and models would have been difficult to achieve,” said Peter Benos, Co-founder of Carge. “Smartcar instantly solved that problem for us, so we could continue to deliver more value for our users.”

Carge is also using the Smartcar platform to develop proprietary algorithms for smart charging. Data from connected EV batteries allows Carge predict the best times for an EV to start charging to help balance the grid.

“Carge is a must-have app for EV travel,” said Sahas Katta, CEO of Smartcar. “We’re thrilled that our technology is helping to improve the charging experience for EV drivers in Europe.”

Currently, Carge works with over 180,000 public charge points across 16 different European countries. Before you take your next EV trip, be sure to download the Carge app for iOS or Android today!

 


Vehicle brands, logos, and model names belong to their respective trademark holders and do not indicate endorsement or affiliation with Smartcar or Carge.

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New at Smartcar: Connect Your Car, Compatibility API v2.0, and updated SDKs

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

August 6, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

This month, we’re excited to announce a brand-new design for Connect Your Car, a new version of the Compatibility API, and updated back-end SDKs.

💻 Launching the new Connect Your Car

Connect Your Car is a resource that informs vehicle owners on how to set up their connected services account. We’re proud to announce that Connect Your Car now has a brand-new design and even more information for vehicle owners. Visitors can learn what connected services are and how they can connect their car to an app using Smartcar. They can also check whether their vehicle is eligible for a connected services account.

🚘 Introducing v2.0 of the Compatibility API

The Compatibility API now features a new response format with more detailed information. Instead of only indicating whether a vehicle is compatible or incompatible with the Smartcar platform, the Compatibility API now also tells developers which of the requested API endpoints the vehicle is capable of.

🐍 Updated back-end SDKs

Our Python, Node.js, Java, Ruby, and Go SDKs now support v2.0 of the Smartcar API. This major release includes usability improvements and additional features. Returned objects like odometer and vehicle info are now more similar to the response documented in our API reference. We have also added SDK methods for scheduled webhooks.

💡 Other updates

  • EV APIs for an additional vehicle model: The Ford Mustang Mach E is now compatible with Smartcar’s start/stop charge API and EV battery capacity API.
  • PIN authorization for multiple vehicles: Volkswagen owners who have multiple vehicles with different PINs under the same connected services account can now authorize their vehicles in Smartcar Connect.
  • Improvements for EV battery capacity API: Smartcar’s battery capacity API endpoint now features improved reliability.

If you have any questions, feedback, or just need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Success team. To learn more about Smartcar, schedule a free demo today.

 


Vehicle brands and model names belong to their respective trademark holders and do not indicate endorsement of or affiliation with Smartcar.

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What is connected car data?

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

July 29, 2021
Product
Live SiteStaging Site

Connected cars are one of the biggest advancements in vehicular technology. Each connected car comes with a cellular modem that allows it to connect to the internet. This allows the vehicle to share connected car data with apps and services that make vehicle ownership easier than ever. No more wondering whether you forgot to lock your car—drivers can now lock and unlock their car doors remotely using their phones. That’s just one of many features that connected cars have to offer.

With a connected vehicle, drivers can share their mileage with their auto insurance provider. They can rent out their vehicle on car sharing platforms without the need to hand over their keys. They can even allow their electric utility provider to automatically charge their EV at the most optimal times. For drivers, connected car technology alleviates a lot of the hassles that go along with car ownership. For businesses, it’s never been easier to connect to a customer’s vehicle and offer innovative products based on available and accurate connected car data.

Here’s what businesses that are exploring mobility apps and services need to know about connected car data.

What kinds of data can connected cars provide?

From location and mileage to EV battery and fuel tank level, mobility businesses use Smartcar's consent-based platform to retrieve car data from connected vehicles.

📍 Location

Retrieve the geographic coordinates of a car’s last known location.

⏲ Mileage

Verify a vehicle’s exact odometer reading.

🔋 EV battery

Check an electric vehicle’s state of charge and confirm whether it is currently charging.

⛽ Fuel tank level

Know how much fuel remains in a gas vehicle’s tank.

🔧 Tire pressure & engine oil life

Read the tire pressure and the remaining engine oil life of a vehicle.

How can businesses use connected car data?

Connected car data is extremely beneficial for businesses in several different industries. Let’s take a look at three examples.

Auto insurance providers

Instead of relying on self-reporting by drivers, connected car data allows auto insurers to verify mileage, garaging locations, and VINs directly from vehicles. Underreported mileage costs auto insurers billions of dollars in premium leakage every year. By using car API platforms, like Smartcar, insurers can connect directly to each customer’s vehicle to accurately verify mileage and other information.

Car sharing businesses

Car sharing businesses use connected car data to share a vehicle’s location with renters and to verify the car’s mileage and fuel tank level after each trip. These businesses also use connected car APIs to offer contactless car sharing, allowing renters to unlock vehicles directly from their phones.

Energy and electric utility providers

As electric vehicles become more common, electric utility providers will undoubtedly struggle to manage the strain that EVs put on the electric grid. But by using data from connected vehicles, utilities can monitor and understand EV charging behavior to better predict electricity usage and prevent rolling blackouts. With connected car APIs like Smartcar, utility providers can even go one step further and offer scheduled charging features to automatically charge EVs during off-peak hours.

📱 Building apps for cars: A beginner's guide to car APIs

What does a car API look like in action? Why should you connect to cars with an API instead of OBD dongles or smartphone telematics?

More importantly, is a car API platform the right choice for you?

👉 Learn from real examples of apps built with car APIs

Learn more about Smartcar

Smartcar is the leading provider of connected car APIs. Auto insurance, car sharing, electric utility companies, and more use our platform to connect to vehicles and access important connected car data. To learn more, schedule a free demo today.

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Case study: Zemtu enables safer car sharing through contactless rentals

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

July 27, 2021
Car sharing
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Zemtu’s contactless rental software allows car sharing businesses to offer safer, more convenient rentals during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

About Zemtu

Zemtu is a car sharing software provider based in Dornbirn, Austria. The company’s founders met through their shared interest in green technology, electric mobility, and software development. In 2015, they started Zemtu⁠—which is an Austrian dialect word for “doing things together”—to provide car sharing businesses with the software and tools to make sharing cars simple and enjoyable.

“Our mission is to care for the world and make it a good place for generations to come,” said Zemtu CEO and CTO Dominik Bartenstein. “By helping reduce the number of vehicles on the road, we aim to reduce overall pollution and resource consumption.”

Zemtu’s challenge

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, it became imperative for car sharing businesses to reduce renter anxiety and safety risks through contactless rentals. Initially, this required Zemtu’s customers to install aftermarket hardware devices in their vehicles. These devices allowed Zemtu to let renters locate and unlock vehicles directly from their phones.

But properly mounting and unmounting hardware can be daunting and time-consuming, especially for small businesses. Another drawback of hardware devices is their cost, which impacts the ability of operators to effectively scale their business. They are also error-pone and may require hardware providers to calibrate the device before it will correctly return the right data points.

Solution

Zemtu decided to integrate with Smartcar to reduce the need for hardware devices altogether. The Smartcar platform allows Zemtu to easily locate, lock, and unlock vehicles with simple API requests. Car sharing businesses can connect their vehicles with just four clicks from their Zemtu account and offer contactless rentals without the complexity and cost associated with traditional hardware solutions.

Results

Using Smartcar’s technology, Zemtu made contactless car sharing more affordable and accessible for smaller businesses and even private individuals. Car sharing companies like edrive in Switzerland, CARUSO in Austria, and Autonapůl in the Czech Republic have been using Zemtu’s Smartcar-powered solution to offer safe, contactless rentals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With Smartcar, we were able to achieve our goal to provide an excellent car sharing experience to car sharing operators and their customers,” Bartenstein said. “Smartcar is empowering us to make car sharing safer, more convenient, and more affordable for a broad range of businesses and individuals. I’m proud of what we’ve achieved so far and can’t wait to see the impact our solution will continue to make during the pandemic and beyond.”

 


Vehicle brands, logos, and model names belong to their respective trademark holders and do not indicate endorsement of or affiliation with Smartcar or Zemtu.

Photo by Paavel Liik on Unsplash

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Leveling the playing field for fleets of all sizes

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

July 19, 2021
Fleet management
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar and Zubie are partnering to launch Zubie Direct Connect, a fleet management solution for fleets of any size. Zubie Direct Connect works with vehicles right out of the box, allowing customers to save costs and onboarding time. The product takes advantage of Smartcar’s APIs to connect with fleet vehicles and track their location, mileage, fuel tank level, and more.

Zubie makes fleet management simple

Zubie is a leading telematics provider. The company offers simple fleet management software to fleets of all sizes, including service, rental, and loaner fleets.

“Our mission is to make fleet management simple, no matter how large or small the fleet,” said Zubie CEO Chad Caswell. “But some businesses, especially smaller ones, can’t afford to purchase and install OBD devices in each of their vehicles. We wanted to remove these barriers for those smaller fleets, and Smartcar provided the perfect solution.”

Smartcar helps Zubie go hardware-free

Zubie Direct Connect is Zubie’s first hardware-free fleet management solution. The product is affordable and requires no installation, making it perfect for fleets of all sizes. Thanks to the Smartcar platform, businesses can connect vehicles with just four clicks from their Zubie account. Smartcar’s APIs then make telematics data such as location, odometer, and fuel tank level available in the Zubie Direct Connect dashboard.

By eliminating the need for OBD devices, Zubie can offer more affordable pricing and a simpler, faster onboarding process to their customers. Instead of purchasing and installing hardware in each vehicle, businesses enjoy a seamless, fully digital experience when onboarding their fleet to Zubie Direct Connect.

“We’re excited that Zubie is simplifying fleet management and making its services accessible to a wider range of businesses,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “We’re glad that our technology is helping Zubie achieve this important mission.”

Zubie Direct Connect is now available for fleet management businesses in the United States. Contact Zubie today to learn more.

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New at Smartcar: 112 million vehicles, GDPR compliance, and a new car brand in Europe

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

July 13, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

This month, we’re excited to announce that Smartcar is compatible with 112 million vehicles worldwide! The Smartcar platform is also GDPR compliant and compatible with a new car brand in Europe.

🚘 Compatible with over 112 million cars

Just two months ago, we announced that Smartcar was compatible with 72 million vehicles in the United States. Since then, we have launched support for 25 new countries in Europe as well as compatibility with five new car brands in Canada, three new brands in Europe, and one new brand in the United States. Today, we’re proud to reveal that the Smartcar platform is compatible with 112 million vehicles across the United States, Canada, and Europe!

🔒 GDPR compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is digital privacy legislation that aims to give citizens of the European Union more control over their personal data. Smartcar is proud to be GDPR compliant. Over the past several years, the Smartcar team has built a secure, consent-based platform that processes only the necessary data to serve our customers. To learn more about the steps we take to protect personal data and privacy, visit our data security page or reach out to us at support@smartcar.com.

🌍 A new car brand in Europe

Smartcar is now compatible with Renault vehicles in Europe. Smartcar customers who already have access to our APIs in Europe will now see Renault among eight other car brands in Smartcar Connect. Others can email support@smartcar.com to get started today.

💡 Other updates

  • Vehicle re-authentication just got easier: Previously, vehicle owners had to go through the entire Smartcar Connect flow if they changed their connected services account password. Now, Smartcar Connect will skip the welcome, brand selection, and permission screens when car owners log in to re-authenticate their vehicle.
  • A new connected services app: Smartcar Connect now allows vehicle owners with Smartcar-compatible BMW vehicles to log in with their My BMW account in addition to their BMW ConnectedDrive account.

If you have any questions, feedback, or just need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Success team. To learn more about Smartcar, schedule a free demo today.

 


Vehicle brands, logos, and model names belong to their respective trademark holders and do not indicate endorsement of or affiliation with Smartcar.

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Case study: emovis speeds up enrollment for road usage charge program

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

June 29, 2021
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Using Smartcar’s odometer API, emovis is quickly and easily enrolling Tesla Model 3s to its road usage charge program in Utah.

About emovis

Emovis provides toll-based mobility services in the United States and around the world. The company’s products include traditional tolling solutions, free-flow tolling services, and road usage charge (RUC) programs. Founded in 1980, emovis has helped millions of motorists travel seamlessly along some of the world’s busiest highways for over 40 years.

Emovis’s challenge

Since 2018, the state of Utah has required electric and hybrid vehicle owners to pay an alternative fuel vehicle fee. This fee accounts for EV and hybrid car owners paying significantly less or no taxes through gasoline purchases compared to other vehicle owners.

EV owners can choose to participate in emovis’s RUC program instead of paying the alternative fuel vehicle fee. The RUC program charges participants a per-mile cost based on exactly how much they drive, which can save them money compared to the alternative fuel vehicle flat fee.

The RUC program first began using plug-in onboard diagnostic (OBD) devices to monitor how many miles participants drove. But some vehicle models, like the Tesla Model 3, didn’t feature OBD-II ports, thus preventing their owners from enrolling in the program.

Solution

Emovis decided to integrate with Smartcar’s APIs to solve this challenge. As a result, since January 2020, Smartcar has enabled Tesla Model 3 owners to enroll in the RUC program through a simple onboarding process.

Smartcar allows vehicle owners to connect their cars with a few clicks from the emovis app. Emovis then uses Smartcar’s odometer API to retrieve each vehicle’s mileage at regular intervals. As a result, participants don’t need to install a device or upload a photo of their odometer reading. Instead, emovis retrieves each car’s mileage directly from its instrument cluster.

Results

Thanks to Smartcar, emovis has been able to admit vehicles into its RUC program that it was previously unable to accommodate. The company has successfully enrolled Tesla Model 3s and is preparing to expand its offering to all Tesla models soon.

The Smartcar-powered experience is also quicker and easier than shipping and installing an OBD device. Smartcar has helped emovis enroll new vehicles faster and more efficiently than before while providing a friendly user experience to participants.

“We’ve gotten great feedback so far,” said emovis Senior Program Manager Charlie Mitchell. “Participants love how easily they can connect their cars without needing to worry about an OBD device.”

 


Vehicle brands, logos, and model names belong to their respective trademark holders and do not indicate endorsement of or affiliation with Smartcar or emovis.

Photo by Charlie Deets on Unsplash

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Balancing the grid with virtual batteries

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

June 22, 2021
EV charging
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

The U.S. and Sweden-based energy storage company Emulate Energy is partnering with Smartcar to integrate EVs into Emulate’s demand response solutions for retail electricity providers (REPs). Emulate has developed a virtual battery technology that allows REPs to manage demand from electric cars and other devices, enabling cleaner and more affordable energy. Emulate uses Smartcar to let REPs connect, locate, and charge EVs at optimal times.

Emulate’s virtual batteries promote cleaner, cheaper energy

Emulate’s mission is to help retail energy providers master the current energy transition and provide affordable, clean energy to their customers while increasing their margins. REPs are responsible for predicting and purchasing precisely the amount of electricity that their customers will use. When customers use more than the purchased amount of electricity, REPs need to buy more expensive, often non-renewable energy or—in some cases—resort to rolling blackouts.

Emulate helps REPs solve this challenge. The company has developed a software solution that allows REPs to precisely control aggregate demand and ensure cleaner, cheaper electricity for residential customers.

Emulate’s virtual battery technology aggregates electricity from electric cars, thermostats, and other smart devices and packages it as an intuitive energy storage instrument—a virtual battery that can be docked into automated trading platforms. REPs can then “discharge” that battery by delaying or slowing down the electricity consumption of these devices and “charge” the battery by starting or speeding up their electricity consumption. All of this happens without compromising the electricity customer’s comfort—Emulate’s algorithms ensure that the REP can derive maximal value from the aggregated flexibility while respecting customer needs at all times.

Illustration on a green background showing an energy trading platform in the front, then a virtual battery behind it, then a car, an energy generator, and a solar panel behind it, and then multiple wind turbines, houses, and a car behind that. The houses and the car have WiFi signals above them.

“We want to empower every citizen to become an active player in the energy transition by enabling every device in their home or office to facilitate renewable energy integration,” said  Emulate CEO Shwan Lamei.

Smartcar allows Emulate to manage EV charging

Before using Smartcar, Emulate built integrations with a dozen different air conditioners, heat pumps, and water heaters. When the company wanted to add electric cars to its software solution, Emulate decided to use the Smartcar API instead of building integrations for different EV makes and models.

“Without Smartcar, the process of integrating with electric cars would have been long, cumbersome, and resource-intensive,” Lamei said. “A small team like ours wouldn’t be able to achieve this on their own.”

When using the Smartcar-powered solution, electricity customers give REPs access to their EV with just four clicks from their electric utility account. Emulate then uses Smartcar’s location, EV battery, and start/stop charge APIs to check whether the vehicle is at home or work, know what the state of charge (SoC) and the charging status are, and start and stop charging the car at optimal times.

Two smartphone screens showing an interface that prompt the user to log in with their Tesla account and to give Emulate access to read the charging status, read the EV battery capacity, read the EV battery level, read the location, and start and stop charging the user's vehicle.

“Emulate is solving an important problem for both retail electricity providers and the overall energy market,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “Integrating and managing EVs in the electric grid is an important milestone on the road to cleaner transportation and cleaner energy. We’re excited that Emulate is using Smartcar to achieve this milestone.”

Retail electricity providers in North America and Europe can now contact Emulate Energy to start using the Smartcar-powered solution.

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Smartcar is now available across Europe

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

June 15, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Starting today, the Smartcar platform is available in 29 European countries. After launching in Germany, the UK, Sweden, and Norway last year, Smartcar is now available in France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, and many more countries across Europe. Some of our latest European customers include the car sharing marketplaces Zemtu and GoMore, the EV charging management platform eDRV, and the navigation solutions provider GPS Tuner.

Powering mobility worldwide

Smartcar is the leading developer platform for mobility businesses. Companies of all sizes use our APIs to easily integrate their apps and services with connected cars. Car sharing platforms use Smartcar to offer safe, contactless rentals. Auto insurers offer pay-per-mile insurance. Energy providers automatically charge EVs at optimal times to balance the electric grid.

Now available across Europe

Smartcar customers can now request early access to our APIs in 29 European countries, including Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Hungary.

“Ever since we expanded to the first few European countries last December, Smartcar has created a lot of value for a variety of customers there,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “That’s why we’re excited to bring our platform to many more European countries today.”

Smartcar in Austria

The Austria-based car sharing software provider Zemtu has partnered with Smartcar to launch an API-powered keyless car sharing solution for businesses across Europe. The new API-powered product allows car sharing businesses to offer keyless rentals without hardware while saving onboarding time and costs.

Smartcar in Denmark

Another new Smartcar customer is the Danish peer-to-peer car sharing platform GoMore. GoMore offers keyless rentals of private cars across Europe. The company uses Smartcar’s location and lock/unlock APIs to offer safe, contactless rentals to its 2.7 million users during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Smartcar in the Netherlands

One of our early customers in the Netherlands is the EV charging management platform eDRV. eDRV has partnered with Smartcar to launch its new EV charging management solution Plug & Go, which lets drivers plug in their EV and automatically start charging. Plug & Go uses Smartcar’s APIs to identify and charge cars without the need for a mobile app, allowing drivers to simply plug in and walk away.

Smartcar in Hungary

The Hungary-based navigation solutions company GPS Tuner Systems uses Smartcar to offer a seamless route planning app for EV drivers around the world. The company’s mobile app EV Navigation uses Smartcar’s APIs to automate route planning, reduce range anxiety, and save electric car owners time and effort.

Get started today!

Does your business offer services to connected car owners in one of these 29 European countries? Email us at support@smartcar.com to request early access to our APIs and start building the future of mobility across Europe!

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New at Smartcar: New pricing plans and an additional car brand in Smartcar Connect

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

June 9, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

This month, we’re excited to announce brand-new pricing plans and an additional car brand in Smartcar Connect.

💰 Brand-new pricing plans

Smartcar customers can now choose from a selection of new and improved pricing plans. Our Free plan is ideal for developers and small businesses that are looking to get started with Smartcar. Our Business and Enterprise plans cater to mid-sized and large businesses that want to quickly develop, customize, and scale their Smartcar integration.

When you create a Smartcar account, you will now receive a 30-day free trial of our Business plan, which includes access to paid features, early access to new features, and support at no cost. This is a great way to try Smartcar’s leading developer platform and start building the future of mobility.

🚘 A new car brand (early access)

Smartcar is now compatible with Volvo vehicles in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Car owners with compatible Volvo vehicles in these countries can now link their cars to your app using Smartcar Connect. Contact us to request early access.

💡 Other updates

  • Four new car brands in Canada: In addition to Volvo, Smartcar is now compatible with four more car brands in Canada. Smartcar customers can now connect to compatible Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicles.
  • New API endpoints for the Ford Mustang Mach-E: Our EV battery level and EV charging status API endpoints are now compatible with the electric Ford Mustang Mach-E.

If you have any questions, feedback, or just need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Success team. To learn more about Smartcar, schedule a free demo today.

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Reimagining automotive warranties with connected car APIs

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

June 7, 2021
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with Axiom Connected to make automotive warranties more transparent and easier to use. Warranty administrators use Axiom Connected’s warranty platform to offer all-digital warranty, maintenance, and ancillary coverage products for vehicle owners. Axiom Connected uses the Smartcar API to let warranty administrators monitor crucial vehicle data with the owner’s permission.

Driven by innovation

Traditionally, there’s been a lack of innovation and disruptive technology in the automotive warranty industry. There is often little or no customer engagement, clunky and antiquated tech integrations, and missed revenue opportunities throughout the lifecycle of ownership. But all of that is changing thanks to Axiom Connected’s mission to deliver a new kind of vehicle ownership experience.

Axiom Connected offers a digital-first warranty platform

Axiom Connected is the first company to offer a fully digital, brandable platform for vehicle warranties. Warranty administrators use Axiom Connected to provide transparency to their protection products, including the ability to deliver monthly subscription product options, and let car owners manage their warranty in an easy-to-use mobile app called COVI.

COVI allows vehicle owners to see important information about their car, view their warranty benefits, file claims, schedule service appointments, and call roadside assistance from a single mobile app. Warranty administrators use their own branded COVI app to know when a vehicle’s warranty is about to expire, notify the owner when their car is due for service, and update them with personalized notifications about their vehicle(s).

Smartcar allows Axiom Connected to build a seamless product

Many of COVI’s features rely on specific vehicle data such as mileage, tire pressure, and engine oil life. Axiom Connected found that traditional vehicle telematics solutions often involved expensive aftermarket hardware and lacked both data quality and relevance for vehicle warranties.

“We searched the globe for the right technology partner and found an industry-leading partner in Smartcar,” said Axiom Connected CEO Michael Reth. “Smartcar’s team consists of innovative thinkers who push their own limits to provide more value for each use case. We are very excited about this partnership.”

Smartcar’s connected car API technology allows warranty providers to connect directly to each vehicle with the owner’s permission. The warranty administrator can then instantly start monitoring the vehicle’s telemetry. Based on the car’s mileage, fuel tank or EV battery level, tire pressure, and engine oil life, the warranty administrator can determine the owner’s current benefits, provide timely notification of upcoming expirations, remind them to schedule maintenance, and inform them about potential vehicle issues.

“We’re extremely excited to announce our partnership with Axiom Connected,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “Smartcar empowers developers to build the future of mobility, and Axiom Connected perfectly exemplifies this spirit of innovation. Axiom Connected enhances the customer experience of the entire vehicle ownership lifecycle. We’re glad that the Smartcar API is the preferred technology to integrate directly with vehicles.”

Contact the Axiom Connected team today to learn more about the COVI app. For more on this partnership and how it can benefit your business:

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How embedded telematics is revolutionizing auto insurance

Amber Livingston

1 min read

May 25, 2021
Auto insurance
Live SiteStaging Site

Embedded vehicle telematics is enabling a new generation of fairer, more accurate, and more affordable insurance products. Join our upcoming webinar with Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta and True Mileage CEO Ryan Morrison to learn more.

Embedded telematics is driving progress in many industries, including auto insurance. But what is embedded telematics, and how do auto insurers benefit from it?

Embedded telematics

Embedded telematics is a technology that allows connected cars to communicate with other devices via the internet. The purpose of embedded telematics is to make vehicle telemetry—i.e., the data that a car generates—available without the need for an aftermarket hardware device. Examples of vehicle telemetry are a car’s location, odometer reading, fuel tank level or EV battery level, tire pressure, and engine oil life.

Vehicle owners can access their vehicle’s telemetry with a mobile app that their car brand offers. But this is not the only benefit that embedded telematics provides. Many industries—from car sharing to energy—use embedded telematics to improve their products and services with functionalities like digital key sharing and smart EV charging.

Driving change for auto insurance

Like in other industries, embedded telematics is enabling rapid change in the auto insurance industry. For decades, insurers had to account for inaccurate or missing mileage information and replace mileage with related factors in their rating algorithms.

Today, embedded telematics allow insurers to easily verify their policyholders’ mileage and price policies more accurately and fairly, all without hardware. New insurance models like pay-per-mile insurance and usage-based insurance (UBI) are on the rise and redefine what car insurance looks like in the 21st century.

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Case study: Recurrent accelerates EV integrations for battery analytics

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

May 18, 2021
EV charging
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Using Smartcar’s EV APIs, Recurrent makes used EV sales transparent and simple.

About Recurrent

Recurrent makes buying used EVs more straightforward and transparent. It is the world’s first company to offer battery condition reports for used electric cars. Both private buyers and dealerships can use Recurrent’s platform to receive reports about a vehicle’s true range as the battery ages. The company has built proprietary predictive algorithms to generate its battery condition reports.

Recurrent’s challenge

To train its predictive models, Recurrent needed to create a large data pool that would span thousands of EVs across different makes, models, years, and geographies. Accessing data from vehicles across manufacturers turned out to be a critical challenge for the company.

Solution

Recurrent decided to use Smartcar’s technology to accelerate the training process for its predictive algorithms.

Recurrent uses the Smartcar platform to retrieve vehicle and EV battery information from subscribers who sign up for monthly battery reports. Vehicle owners connect securely through Smartcar and authorize access to four permissions with just a few clicks from Recurrent’s website. Recurrent then uses Smartcar’s APIs to monitor each vehicle’s mileage, range estimates, state of charge, and charging status to train its battery performance algorithms.

GIF showing web browser screenshots of Recurrent's website taking the user through onboarding their vehicle to Recurrent's research fleet

Results

Recurrent was able to successfully onboard over 1,300 vehicles within the first month to help provide respective owners with battery performance reports. Since then, the company has onboarded and retrieved data from thousands of EVs every day, leading to nearly 5 million unique data points across 18 different EV models.

This has allowed Recurrent to train its machine learning models on EV battery degradation and build the richest cross-manufacturer EV battery data set in the field today.

Three dots showing three different numbers: 1,300 vehicles onboarded in first month, 5 million unique data points, and 18 EV makes and models

“As a pre-seed startup in a competitive industry, we needed to get to market quickly. We were fortunate enough to find Smartcar right from the start,” said Recurrent CEO and Co-Founder Scott Case. “Without a doubt, the Smartcar integration accelerated us by 6 to 12 months and millions of dollars of engineering work compared to building and maintaining API connections to individual auto manufacturers.”

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Introducing Smartcar v2.0 (early access)

Robert Simari

2 min read

May 13, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, we’re thrilled to introduce v2.0 of the Smartcar API. This major update features enhanced error reporting, extensive error guides, a new API changelog, and improved Smartcar webhooks.

New features

✨ Enhanced error reporting

Smartcar’s API and webhooks now return errors in an updated format. We introduced new error types and codes that allow developers to investigate Smartcar errors more easily. v2.0 errors are also more specific and detailed than our v1.0 errors.

📑 Extensive API error guides

Alongside our new and improved API errors, we published extensive documentation that guides developers through understanding, troubleshooting, and testing v2.0 errors. We also included suggested user messages for all user-facing errors.

⚓Webhooks updates

Smartcar’s webhooks also received updates to verification and event payloads. The verification payload now includes the ID of the requested webhook and an `eventName` property. The `challenge` and `vehicles` properties are now nested under a `payload` property.

🆕 API changelog

The above updates are only the first round of changes to Smartcar v2.0. Visit our new API changelog to stay tuned as we refine this version and prepare it for a wider release.

How to get started

Both existing and new Smartcar customers can now use v2.0 of the Smartcar API by following these steps:

Broswer screenshot of the Smartcar API reference with a yellow circle around the toggle switch that lets users select between v1.0 and v2.0 of the Smartcar API.
This toggle in our API reference allows you to switch between v1.0 and v2.0 of the Smartcar API.
  1. Take a look at our error guides and API reference to familiarize yourself with our error types and codes. When visiting our API reference, please note the toggle at the top left of your screen. It allows you to switch between v1.0 and v2.0 of the Smartcar API.
  2. Follow the migration steps in our API changelog to switch from v1.0 to v2.0 (only existing customers need to complete this step).
  3. Specify “v2.0” in the URL when making an API request or use the applicable SDK methods.

If you have any questions, feedback, or just need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Success team. To learn more about Smartcar, schedule a free demo today.

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How FlexCharging helps EV drivers reduce carbon emissions through managed charging

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

May 11, 2021
EV charging
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with the U.S.-based EV managed charging platform FlexCharging to help electric car owners reduce carbon emissions and save money. FlexCharging provides electric utilities and car owners with the tools to shift EV charging to off-peak hours while respecting drivers’ needs. The company uses Smartcar’s APIs to let utility providers monitor charging data while automatically charging vehicles at optimal times.

FlexCharging creates managed charging programs

FlexCharging partners with utilities across the United States to create EV managed charging and clean charge rewards programs. The company helps utilities identify charging vehicles and combines charging insights with by-the-minute carbon emission forecasts to charge EVs during the cheapest and most environmentally friendly times.

“A lot of people see buying an EV as a commitment to save carbon emissions,” said FlexCharging COO Laura McCarty. “If they let us manage their charging based on precise carbon emission forecasting, they are going to make an even larger impact.”  

FlexCharging also helps drivers understand how much they spend charging their car. They can even compare their energy cost to the estimated gas cost for the equivalent number of miles.

Two smartphone screens showing an overview of the user's Tesla with monthly charging stats on the left and information regarding past charging sessions on the right.
FlexCharging helps drivers understand how much they spend charging their car.

Smartcar provides a single integration for 41 EVs

Before using Smartcar, FlexCharging built one-off integrations with some electric vehicle brands. The company soon realized it could increase its coverage to 41 EV models across 15 brands using Smartcar.

“Integrating with the Smartcar platform saved us months, if not years of engineering work,” said FlexCharging CEO Brian Grunkemeyer. “Being able to use one API to increase our breadth of supported EVs is a huge benefit for us.”

Four smartphone screens showing an overview of the user's vehicles, a "Sign in with myChevrolet" screen, a "FlexCharging requests access to your 2018 Chevrolet Bolt" screen and an overview of the vehicles most recent charging sessions.
EV owners can link their car with just four clicks from their FlexCharging account.

When participating in a FlexCharging-powered managed charging program, EV owners can link their car with just four clicks from their FlexCharging account. FlexCharging then uses Smartcar’s APIs to monitor the vehicle’s state of charge (SoC), check the charging status, and start and stop charging at the best times to save money, carbon emissions, or both.

After each charging session, FlexCharging calculates how much carbon emissions the EV owner has helped reduce. In the case of clean charge rewards programs, the driver also receives monetary rewards for letting their car charge at times specified by their utility provider.

In addition to reducing carbon emissions and saving drivers money, electric utilities also use FlexCharging to solve equity issues around EV ownership. For example, utilities can offer incentives to low-income drivers, such as free EV charging on weekends.

“We’re very much looking forward to this partnership,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “FlexCharging’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions and make EV ownership more affordable are second to none. I’m delighted that Smartcar’s technology can help accelerate these efforts.”

Electric utility providers in the United States can now contact FlexCharging to receive access to the Smartcar-powered solution. EV drivers can download the FlexCharging app on the App Store or the Google Play Store.

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Reducing range anxiety with all-in-one EV route planning

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

May 6, 2021
EV charging
News
Live SiteStaging Site

The Hungary-based navigation solutions company GPS Tuner Systems uses Smartcar to offer a seamless route planning app for EV drivers around the world. Founded in 2008, GPS Tuner provides turn-by-turn navigation solutions to consumers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The company’s mobile app EV Navigation uses Smartcar’s APIs to automate route planning, reduce range anxiety, and save electric car owners time and effort.

EV Navigation provides seamless route planning

EV Navigation makes route planning and navigation simple. Drivers just need to add their desired destination, and EV Navigation takes care of finding the optimal route, deciding which charging stations to use along the way, and calculating how long charging will take. This way, electric vehicle owners can save time on route planning, optimize their driving time, and stop worrying about running out of battery.

Three smartphone screens showing a map with a location in Budapest, an overview of a Tesla Model S with the battery level, tire pressure, and other datapoints, and an interface where the user can choose their car's brand, model, charge limit, and battery range adjustment.
EV Navigation makes route planning and navigation simple.

Smartcar allows EV Navigation to automate route planning

Before EV Navigation started using Smartcar, drivers had to manually enter their car battery’s state of charge (SoC) for every trip. EV Navigation used this information to calculate the best charging locations and durations along the driver’s route. With Smartcar’s API, EV Navigation can now automatically retrieve important information directly from a driver’s vehicle. This saves electric car owners time and effort while making EV Navigation’s route planning feature more precise.

“Smartcar is indispensable to our success with the EV Navigation app,” said GPS Tuner Systems Founder and CEO Gabor Tarnok. “We’re not only accessing important data directly from vehicles to offer more precise route planning. We’re also able to provide much smoother UI and UX to our customers.”

To use the Smartcar-powered experience, EV drivers can connect their car with just four clicks from the EV Navigation app. The app then uses the vehicle’s battery capacity, state of charge, charging status, and location to offer fully automatic and precise route planning.

Four smartphone screens showing a "Sign into your car account" button, a Tesla login screen, a screen with certain permissions that GPS Tuner requests from the user's 2019 Tesla Model S, and a vehicle overview page with a map and the user's vehicle information.
EV drivers can connect their car with just four clicks from the EV Navigation app.

“By making EV route planning seamless and simple, EV Navigation makes electric car ownership a more viable option for many people,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “We’re excited to be a part of this journey and to facilitate EV adoption around the globe.”

Battery-electric vehicle (BEV) owners in Europe, the United States, and Canada will be able to access the Smartcar-powered experience in the EV Navigation app this spring. To be notified as soon as the new experience is available, register on evnavigation.com and check the “Subscribe to newsletter” box.

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New at Smartcar: API for EVs, new car brand in Europe, and SOC 2 Type 1 compliance

Kayleigh Foley

2 min read

May 5, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

This month, we published new resources for Smartcar’s electric vehicle APIs, launched early access to a new car brand in Europe, and achieved SOC 2 Type 1 compliance.

🔋 Smartcar for EVs

Have you ever wondered which electric vehicle models are compatible with Smartcar? Our brand-new Smartcar for EVs page has all the answers. Here, you can find an overview of all Smartcar-compatible EVs and learn about our API endpoints and product features specifically for electric cars.

A screenshot of the Smartcar website showing a marketing page entitled "The API for electric vehicles"

🌍 A new car brand in Europe (early access)

Smartcar is now compatible with Audi vehicles in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Norway. Smartcar customers who already have access to these countries will now see Audi alongside six other brands in Smartcar Connect. New customers can request early access starting today.

A smartphone screen showing a UI dialog entitled "App requests access to your 2017 Audi A4"

📝 SOC 2 Type 1 compliance

We’re excited to announce that Smartcar is SOC 2 Type 1 compliant. SOC 2 Type 1 is an audit report that details and verifies the suitability of Smartcar’s security practices. Learn more about data security at Smartcar, and stay tuned for more updates as we head towards SOC 2 Type 2 compliance.

A coat of arms with a check mark in its center and the title "SOC 2 Type 1" next to it

💡 Other updates

  • Additional Ford EV models: The Smartcar platform is now compatible with 2013-2019 Ford C-Max Energi, 2013-2018 Focus Electric, and 2013-2019 Fusion Energi vehicles.

If you have any questions, feedback, or just need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Success team. To learn more about Smartcar, schedule a free demo today.

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Build the future of mobility with Smartcar

Amber Livingston

1 min read

April 29, 2021
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is the leading developer platform for mobility businesses. Watch our video to learn more about the challenges our customers face and how we help to solve them.

Our world is becoming increasingly connected, but mobility businesses still struggle to connect their products to cars. Car sharing marketplaces, auto insurance providers, EV charging networks, and electric utilities depend on fragmented APIs and expensive hardware to integrate their apps and services with vehicles.

This is where Smartcar can help.

Smartcar allows businesses of all sizes to easily and securely connect with vehicles. Car sharing marketplaces like Turo use our lock and unlock APIs to provide contactless rentals to their customers. Auto insurance providers like Just Auto Insurance use our odometer API to charge policyholders by the mile. Electric utility providers like Krafthem use our electric vehicle APIs to control EV charging and balance the grid.

Using our car APIs, mobility businesses can build groundbreaking products and services to deliver amazing customer experiences.

Are you ready to build the future of mobility with Smartcar? Get a free product demo today.

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Case study: Turo increases car sharing with Smartcar

Charlotte Kosche

4 min read

April 27, 2021
Car sharing
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Using Smartcar’s location and lock/unlock APIs, Turo built a contactless car sharing feature that boosted trips and increased customer satisfaction.

About Turo

Turo is a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace. It allows guests to book cars from a community of local hosts in over 5,000 cities across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Founded in 2010, the company is on a mission to put the worlds’ 1.5 billion cars to better use. Turo accomplishes this mission by letting guests choose from a unique selection of nearby cars, while hosts earn extra money to offset the costs of car ownership.

Turo’s challenge

Previously, Turo hosts spent a lot of their time meeting guests to exchange car keys before and after each trip. This was especially problematic for the 36% of hosts who listed more than one car on the Turo platform. These hosts often have multiple trips booked on a given day, making it challenging to coordinate in-person check-in and check-out times with every guest.

Pie chart showing that 36% of Turo hosts rent out more than one car on the Turo platform.
36% of hosts list more than one car on the Turo platform.

“Imagine you have several trips starting and ending every day. Or you have a guest arriving late from an international flight. Or you are out of town during the start or end of a trip,” said Senior Product Manager Liz Nunley. “All these cases require a lot of effort from our hosts to make sure they can physically meet their guests. It can be a logistical nightmare.”

Solution

Undoubtedly, hosts needed a way to support trips with more flexibility and ease. Nunley and her team started exploring solutions that would let guests access cars on their own without a host present for check-in and check-out.

Turo considered various solutions, including storing car keys in physical lockboxes and integrating directly with every car manufacturer’s APIs. Then they discovered Smartcar.

“Smartcar presented the best opportunity to streamline our development effort and accelerate time-to-market by unlocking access to millions of cars,” Nunley said. “We loved the idea of a single set of APIs and a unified integration that would give our customers access to a huge variety of vehicles.”

Turo decided to use Smartcar’s APIs for its new contactless car sharing feature, Turo Go. Turo Go spares hosts from in-person meetings by allowing guests to locate and unlock cars directly from the Turo app.

Powered by the Smartcar platform, hosts can link their cars to Turo Go with just four clicks directly from the Turo app. Turo then uses Smartcar’s location and lock/unlock APIs to share the vehicle’s location and digital key with guests for each booked trip.

Smartphone screen showing a map with a pinpointed location, a lock and unlock button, a vehicle's mileage and EV battery level.
Turo uses Smartcar’s APIs to share a vehicle’s location and digital key with guests.

Results

In a 2020 survey of hosts with at least one Turo Go-enabled vehicle, hosts shared that Turo Go allowed them to share their cars more easily and also saved them time. According to a 2020 study conducted by Turo’s internal research team, more than 90% of Turo hosts surveyed wanted all of their vehicles to be Turo Go-enabled. Turo also found in that same study that among hosts who opted into Turo Go, 34% agreed that they listed more cars on the platform because of it.

Two pie charts showing that over 90% of Turo hosts want their vehicles to be Turo Go-enabled and that 34% of Turo Go hosts say they have listed more cars on the platform.
More than 90% of Turo hosts want all of their vehicles to be Turo Go-enabled. Among hosts who opted into Turo Go, 34% agree that they have listed more cars on the platform.

“Turo Go has been a great tool for hosts that are trying to find ways to cost-efficiently streamline their business,” Nunley said. “Undoubtedly, Smartcar has made a significant impact on our host experience.”

While Turo Go has clearly benefited hosts, it has also been a big win for guests. Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, guests have valued contactless car sharing not only as a convenient nice-to-have but as a safe way to share cars.

“What was challenging but also incredibly rewarding about working with Smartcar was that we were changing real-world behavior,” Nunley said. “We were changing the way that someone accessed a car!”

The Turo team also uses Smartcar’s APIs for other vehicle data to alleviate further challenges for Turo hosts.

For example, Turo automatically checks a car’s fuel tank level and mileage during check-in. Nunley’s team plans to expand this feature to automatically calculate miles driven on a trip, send notifications when a guest needs to fill up on gas, and remove some of the manual documentation steps that are currently necessary during check-in and check-out. In the near future, Nunley can even imagine partnering with mobile cleaning solutions to let hosts schedule a cleaning before and after each trip.

“Now you’re starting to think of an even more efficient, scalable approach to hosting,” Nunley said.

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Smartcar’s EV battery capacity API is now widely available in the U.S.

Victor Black

2 min read

April 22, 2021
News
Product
Live SiteStaging Site

We’re proud to announce that the Smartcar EV battery capacity API is now widely available in the United States. New and existing Smartcar customers can now use this API endpoint to retrieve the total capacity from an electric vehicle.

Smartcar is the leading developer platform for mobility businesses. Car sharing, auto insurance, and electric utility companies use our APIs to connect directly to their customers’ vehicles. Our battery capacity API is especially useful for utility providers and EV charging networks that want to know important information about their customers’ EVs and automatically charge vehicles at the best times.

How our customers are using the battery capacity API

The U.S.-based EV data platform FlexCharging is already using the battery capacity API in its managed charging solution for electric utility providers. FlexCharging has been using Smartcar to read the state of charge (SoC) from electric vehicles and charge them at optimal times to reduce peak demand. The company is now able to know the exact capacity of each vehicle’s battery and offer even more precise charging features.

Two smartphone screens showing an EV charging app. The first screen shows a Tesla vehicle and monthly stats such as miles, energy cost, and charging schedule. The second screen shows a schedule with past charging sessions.
FlexCharging uses the battery capacity API in its managed charging solution for electric utility providers.

The U.S.-based demand response management system company Emulate has been using the battery capacity API in their solution for utilities as well. Emulate’s algorithms allow utilities to flexibly control their customers’ EV charging via an intuitive battery interface. The company utilizes the Smartcar platform to connect to electric vehicles, retrieve battery- and charging-related information, and control charging to best balance EV charging load.

How to get started

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The most popular EVs in the United States

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

March 18, 2021
EV charging
Live SiteStaging Site

In the past ten years, electric vehicle sales have rapidly grown in the United States. Between 2011 and 2018, the Chevrolet Volt was the best-selling EV overall, according to data by the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2018, the Tesla Model 3 came to market and took the spot of best-selling EV with almost 50% market share that year.

So, what are the most popular EVs in the United States right now? The U.S. Department of Energy has not yet released sales numbers for the year 2020, so this blog post will focus on 2019 sales instead.

The 10 most popular BEVs in the U.S.

Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are all-electric cars that are powered by electric motors only.

In 2019, the Tesla Model 3 was the most popular BEV model in the United States. With 154,840 units sold, it accounted for almost 50% of all electric vehicle sales, just like the year before.

The second most popular BEV was the Tesla Model X, followed by the Chevrolet Bolt, the Tesla Model S, and the Nissan LEAF. Sales for those models ranged roughly between 10,000 and 20,000 units that year. In spots 6 to 10 were the Audi e-tron, the Volkswagen e-Golf, the BMW i3, the Jaguar I-Pace, and the Hyundai Kona Electric with sales ranging from 1,700 to 5,400 units.

Bar chart showing 2019 sales numbers for Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model X, Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model S, Nissan LEAF, Audi e-tron, Volkswagen e-Golf, BMW i3, Jaguar I-Pace, and Hyundai Kona Electric.
The 10 best-selling battery electric vehicle (BEV) models in the United States in 2019. (Source: U.S. Department of Energy)

The 6 most popular PHEVs in the U.S.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are hybrid electric vehicles that have both an internal combustion engine (ICE) and an electric car battery that can be plugged in to charge.

In 2019, the most popular PHEV was the Toyota Prius PHEV with 23,630 units sold. While not nearly as popular as the Tesla Model 3, the Prius PHEV still sold more than twice as many units as the second most popular model that year, the Honda Clarity PHEV. In spots 3 to 6 followed the Ford Fusion Energi, the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, the BMW 5-Series PHEV, and the Chevrolet Volt.

Bar chart showing 2019 sales numbers for Toyota Prius PHEV, Honda Clarity PHEV, Ford Fusion Energi, Chrysler Pacifica PHEV, BMW 5-Series PHEV, and Chevy Volt.
The 6 best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) models in the United States in 2019. (Source: U.S. Department of Energy)

Integrate with the most popular EVs

If your business offers apps or services for electric cars, you can use the Smartcar platform to integrate with most BEVs and PHEVs in the United States and beyond. Smartcar is compatible with all 10 most popular BEVs and 5 out of the 6 most popular PHEVs listed above.

Electric utility companies, EV charging networks, car sharing marketplaces, and auto insurance providers use our platform to check the mileage, track the location, read the state of charge, and remotely start and stop charging electric cars across makes and models.

GIF showing an electric utility web portal, a three-step flow for the user to add their Tesla vehicle, and a dashboard showing the Tesla's location, mileage, charging status, and charging schedule.
The electric utility provider Krafthem uses Smartcar to power its demand response program for EV owners.

To learn more about Smartcar’s compatibility with both EVs and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, please visit our compatible vehicles page.

If you have any questions, feedback, or just need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Success team. To learn more about Smartcar, schedule a free demo today.

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New at Smartcar: 72 million cars and a global Compatibility API

Robert Simari

2 min read

March 4, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is now compatible with 72 million vehicles in the United States. We also launched two new features in Canada and Europe and added new functionalities to our scheduled webhooks.

🚘 Compatible with 72 million cars in the U.S.

The Smartcar platform is now compatible with 72 million vehicles in the United States. That’s an 89% increase since March of last year, when our platform was compatible with 38 million cars. Today, Smartcar allows mobility businesses to connect to vehicles across 20 makes, and we are constantly working to add more. Which car brands would you like to see next? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

✅ Compatibility API in Europe and Canada (early access)

The Compatibility API allows you to check whether a vehicle is compatible with Smartcar before prompting your user to onboard it using Smartcar Connect. So far, this product was available in the United States only. This month, we’re excited to bring our first version of it to Europe and Canada. Mobility businesses with operations in Germany, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Canada can now request early access to the Compatibility API.

💡 Other updates

  • New and improved Single Select in Europe and Canada: Our Single Select with VIN feature lets you make sure that a user onboards the right vehicle in Smartcar Connect. Previously, when using Single Select with VIN in Europe and Canada, you needed to provide the car’s make and VIN in order to let the user: 1) skip the “Select your brand” screen, and 2) onboard that specific vehicle. From now on, you will only need to provide the VIN. Providing the make is no longer required.
  • Scheduled webhooks for EV battery capacity: Our scheduled webhooks allow you to retrieve data from specific cars on a recurring schedule. Scheduled webhooks now support our new EV battery capacity API, allowing you to retrieve an electric vehicle’s battery capacity on an hourly, daily, weekly, or monthly basis.

If you have any questions, feedback, or just need help getting started, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Success team. To learn more about Smartcar, schedule a free demo today.

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The Road to Autonomy podcast: the building blocks of mobility

Amber Livingston

1 min read

February 16, 2021
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Last week, Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta joined Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte on his podcast The Road to Autonomy. Brulte and Katta talked about the building blocks of mobility and the importance of standardized car APIs for the mobility industry.

In this episode, Brulte and Katta discussed a number of topics, including the connected car landscape, standardized APIs for cars, and the barriers Smartcar helps mobility businesses overcome.

“Smartcar provides the building blocks for incredible entrepreneurs to build really amazing applications which create a lot of value for both consumers and businesses,” Katta said. “We make it easy for our customers to connect their apps to cars so they can focus on building and scaling their offerings.”

Listen to the full episode to dive deeper into Smartcar’s impact on the mobility landscape, ranging from road usage charge and car sharing to auto insurance and fleet management.

To learn more, schedule a free product demo with our team.

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New at Smartcar: Account sync for vehicle fleets, hourly webhooks, and regional settings in Smartcar Connect

Robert Simari

3 min read

February 11, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

This month, Smartcar launched a new account sync feature for vehicle fleets, hourly intervals for scheduled webhooks, and country and language settings in Smartcar Connect.

🔄 Account sync for vehicle fleets (early access)

Smartphone screen showing a UI dialog stating that App requests access to the user's Tesla vehicles.
Our new account sync feature lets fleet managers save time and effort when onboarding their vehicles.

We’re excited to launch account sync, a new feature designed specifically for vehicle fleets.

If your business offers products or services for fleets of cars, you might be familiar with the hassle of onboarding new vehicles to a telematics solution. Smartcar Connect makes onboarding a fleet as simple as four clicks from any phone or laptop. Our new account sync feature now lets fleet managers save additional time and effort.

To use this feature, simply enable the account sync flag in Smartcar Connect. The fleet owner will then see the “Auto-sync new vehicles from account” option selected when onboarding their vehicles. Once the fleet owner has finished onboarding, set up recurring requests to our account sync API endpoint. Whenever the fleet manager adds a new vehicle to their connected services account, they won’t need to re-launch Smartcar Connect to onboard that vehicle. Instead, new vehicles are automatically onboarded through the new account sync endpoint.

Account sync will also take care of disconnecting any vehicles that get removed from a fleet owner’s connected services account.

Smartcar customers who offer products or services for vehicle fleets can now contact us to request early access to account sync.

⌚ Hourly webhooks

Web browser showing the Smartcar dashboard with a pop-up window to add a webhook.
Smartcar scheduled webhooks now support hourly intervals for data retrieval.

Our scheduled webhooks now support hourly intervals for data retrieval.

Scheduled webhooks allow you to automatically retrieve data from specific vehicles at regular time intervals. Auto insurance providers use webhooks to check a driver’s mileage on a monthly basis. Car rental businesses and fleet management companies use the feature to locate and lock their fleet every evening.

Previously, scheduled webhooks were available in monthly, weekly, and daily frequencies. The new hourly interval now allows you to use the feature even more efficiently. For example, electric utility providers can check their customer’s EV battery level every hour and notify them when it’s time to charge. Car sharing companies can monitor a vehicle’s mileage on an hourly basis and notify renters as soon as they exceed their daily mileage limit.

🌎 Country and language settings in Smartcar Connect

Smartphone screen showing a UI dialog saying that App uses Smartcar to connect to the user's car.
Smartcar Connect now includes country and language language settings for vehicle owners.

Our onboarding flow, Smartcar Connect, now includes regional settings to let car owners select their country and preferred language.

After launching Smartcar Connect in French and Japanese last month, we’re now introducing regional settings for vehicle owners. We help you make sure that Smartcar Connect displays the right country and language by default. However, if a vehicle owner needs to select another country or prefers using another language, they can now do so at the bottom of the first screen in Smartcar Connect as shown above.

💡 Other updates

  • Improved assistance in Smartcar Connect: Our vehicle owner onboarding flow, Smartcar Connect, now better assists car owners that don’t have a connected services account. Previously, all vehicle owners who didn’t have a connected services account needed to enter their VIN to check whether their car was compatible. Now, they have the option to skip that step and directly view our instructions on how to set up their account.
  • New and improved usage tab in the developer dashboard: Our developer dashboard now features new and improved usage metrics with an enhanced, faster-loading API usage graph.
  • Compatible 2021 models: Our compatible vehicles page now includes all 2021 models that are compatible with the Smartcar platform.
  • Improved Subscription Check for Nissan: Our Subscription Check feature in Smartcar Connect is now more robust for compatible Nissan vehicles. When a car owner tries to link a compatible Nissan vehicle with an expired MyNissan subscription, Subscription Check detects the issue and provides the user with instructions on how to reactivate their subscription.
  • Port 8443 for scheduled webhooks: In addition to port 443, our scheduled webhooks now also support port 8443 for webhook listeners.
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Introducing the EV battery capacity API (early access)

Gurpreet Atwal

2 min read

February 9, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

We’re excited to introduce the Smartcar EV battery capacity API. Starting today, Smartcar customers across North America and Europe can request early access to this new API endpoint.

Smartcar allows mobility apps and services to easily connect with their customers’ cars. Our new battery capacity API enables electric utility providers and EV charging networks to retrieve the total capacity from an electric vehicle’s battery.

Smartphone showing a UI dialog in which an app requests access to the battery capacity of the user's 2021 Tesla Model S.
The battery capacity API allows electric utility providers and EV charging networks to retrieve the total capacity from an electric vehicle's battery.

Retrieving the battery capacity from an EV

With our new API endpoint, checking the battery capacity of a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) or plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) is as simple as one API request:

Smartcar then returns the car’s battery capacity in kilowatt-hours (kWh):

Building and scaling EV charging solutions with Smartcar’s EV APIs

In addition to our existing EV battery level, EV charging status, and EV start/stop charge API endpoints, the new battery capacity API allows energy companies, electric utility providers, and EV charging networks to significantly improve and scale their EV charging products:

  • 🏡 Smarter, more accurate home charging solutions: Predict charging times and electricity costs for your customers more accurately based on their EV’s battery capacity.
  • 🔄 Better-informed demand response programs: Take the battery capacity of your customers’ electric vehicles into account when predicting and managing the load on your network.
  • ⚡ More efficient EV charging networks: Predict exactly how long your customer will need to fully charge at any station in your network, even when their vehicle is not currently plugged in.
  • 📍 Better EV trip planning: Know how long it will take your customer to charge at each charging station along their trip and calculate more precise ETAs.
Web browser screenshot showing a dashboard that says "Your Tesla Model 3" and shows the car's battery level, battery capacity, range, charging status, charging schedule, and its location on a map.
The Sweden-based utility company Krafthem uses Smartcar to power its demand response programs with crucial vehicle data.

Benefits of using Smartcar's electric vehicle API

When comparing Smartcar’s EV APIs to other solutions on the market, our customers benefit from the following advantages:

  • One platform for all EVs: Smartcar’s unified platform allows you to integrate with most EV models across 21 car brands in a single integration.
  • Extensive feature set: In addition to our extensive collection of EV APIs—which include state of charge, range, charging status, start/stop charge, and battery capacity—Smartcar offers a wide range of other API endpoints, from location and lock/unlock to odometer and tire pressure.
  • Friendly documentation and SDKs: As a software company, we deeply believe in a developer-first approach. Our friendly docs and SDKs allow your engineering team to integrate Smartcar in a breeze.
  • Available in your country: Our APIs are available in six countries across North America and Europe, with more markets coming soon. Our vehicle onboarding flow, Smartcar Connect, is available in three languages.

Smartcar customers across North America and Europe can request early access to the Smartcar EV battery capacity API. If you aren’t a customer and would like to learn more about Smartcar, schedule a free product demo today!

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Smartcar is now a remote-first company

Jackie Leary

5 min read

January 28, 2021
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

Why we decided to be a remote-first company

Working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic

Around this time last year, we started hearing subtle mentions of a new virus called COVID-19 spreading in various places around the world. What we didn’t know was that in a matter of weeks, life as we knew it would change forever.

When Smartcar started working from home in March, many of us thought we would be back in the office by June. When that didn’t happen, we optimistically thought: “Perhaps October!”

After a year filled with the uncertainty and instability of constantly extending our temporary work-from-home situation, we decided that it was time to make a call on what our work scenario would look like in the long term.

Getting the team’s feedback

In December, we sent out a company-wide survey to gauge the team’s thoughts and feedback on how remote work was going for them and which type of work model they would prefer in a post-COVID world.

Here is what we found:

  • 🏢 95% of the team wanted to see Smartcar become either fully remote or adopt some sort of hybrid option. (Most team members defined “hybrid” as meeting up around once a month or less.)
  • 🚘 Before the pandemic, 81% of the team had commuted to work by car, and 50% had a commute between 40 and 90 minutes each way.
  • 💻 100% of the team felt more productive working from home. The two most prominent reasons were saved commute time and fewer distractions.
  • 🤝 88% of the team felt like they could effectively collaborate with others while working from home. The most frequently mentioned collaboration tools were our CEO’s weekly office hours, bi-weekly virtual coffee meetings via Donut, written communication via Slack, video chats via Google Meet, shared document editing via Google Docs, and project management via Asana.
  • 🤗 93% of all respondents felt like they were part of the team. The most prominent reasons were friendly, easy-to-work-with co-workers, regular team lunches, quarterly offsites, virtual coffee meetings, and daily standups.

When reflecting back on 2020, the results were clear. Smartcar’s productivity levels had been at an all-time high, and we’ve had one of our most successful years to date. After hearing the team’s feedback, it was an easy decision to make Smartcar a remote-first company.

What is remote-first?

At Smartcar, “remote-first” means that our team members can live anywhere in California and will be working from home full-time. Once it is safe to do so, we will meet up twice a year for an in-person All Hands meeting followed by an offsite.

How we are adapting to remote work

WFH stipends & reimbursements

Room with two standing desks, two monitors, keyboards, and mice, two office chairs, and a standing mat.

In March of last year, many of us thought we would be back in the office within a matter of weeks. Most of us didn’t put much effort into setting up a designated workspace, quickly realizing that working from our couches and beds were culprits of our worsening back pain and poor sleeping habits.

To help ease the transition to remote work, we gave everyone the option to come by the office and bring their monitor, desk accessories, and office chair back home. We also introduced a one-time stipend for all team members to use on standing desks, lighting, keyboards, webcams, or anything else to help make work-from-home life more comfortable and productive. Finally, we announced a cell phone and internet reimbursement policy to ensure that everyone has access to fast and reliable service.

Team bonding activities

Screenshot of a Google Meet video call with 15 team members on camera, each one dressed up with a headdress and a stuffed animal in their arm.

Offsites

If you’ve read some of our past Culture blog posts, you’re probably familiar with Smartcar’s regard for team bonding and company-wide offsites. In pre-COVID times, we organized fun team outings every quarter, from scavenger hunts to bubble soccer and go-kart racing. Ever since we started working from home, we’ve hosted all of our quarterly offsites online.

Here is an example schedule from our latest offsite:

Once it is safe to do so, we will gather twice a year for an in-person All Hands meeting and offsite. Everyone will be reimbursed for their mileage as they make their way to the event venue, where we can reunite, celebrate our successes, and get to know each other in person.

Other activities

In addition to our offsites, we always strive to think of new ideas and activities to organize. For example, we host:

  • Bi-weekly virtual coffee meetings via Donut, which automatically pairs team members up at random
  • Quarterly department-specific virtual lunches with reimbursed meals
  • Watercooler talks every Friday, where the team can relax, unwind, and chat about their hobbies, weekend plans, etc.
  • Spontaneous activities, such as a chess tournament in honor of our obsession with The Queen’s Gambit. We even had Matthew and Russell Dennis, who play Matt and Mike in the show, stop by for a meet & greet!

Productivity tools

A desk with a cup, papers, and a person's hand writing on one of the papers with a pen.

In our remote work survey, all team members mentioned that they felt more productive working from home than in the office. However, many team members also noted that long-term strategy meetings and brainstorming sessions were more difficult to conduct in a remote work environment. To help mitigate this challenge, we started using Whimsical, a collaborative mind-mapping and brainstorming tool. And this is only the first of many steps we’ll take to help the team stay productive.

As we adapt to the new normal, Smartcar is excited to be a remote-first workplace. We believe that our team will benefit from the flexibility of working from home while feeling included and connected to Smartcar’s mission and product.

Feel free to reach out to share your own ideas on keeping your team engaged in a remote workspace. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Smartcar and True Mileage partner to offer auto insurers optimal UBI data and analytics for over 60 million cars

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

January 26, 2021
Auto insurance
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar and the usage-based insurance (UBI) analytics provider True Mileage partner to launch a simple and accurate mileage and UBI solution for auto insurers. Smartcar’s APIs allow insurers to verify vehicle mileage, time of day, and additional information without the need for hardware, an app, or any ongoing driver action. True Mileage UBI analytics convert this vehicle data into accurate discounts.

True Mileage UBI analytics

Auto insurers use True Mileage’s UBI analytics to provide discount programs for their customers. For example, mileage discount programs include a variety of programs—such as pay-per-mile policies, discounts at the point of sale, and adjusted renewal rates—that verify or accurately estimate a driver’s mileage and compensate them if their mileage is lower than expected.

Mileage discount programs are an effective tool for insurers. Mileage has historically been difficult to verify and thus difficult to use as a reliable rating factor. In addition to the billions of dollars that insurers lose due to underreported mileage every year, mileage has also become a common cause of customer churn, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, car owners are still driving less than before the pandemic, and consumer advocates are asking insurers to issue additional premium refunds. Instead of offering the same refund to all drivers, mileage discount programs allow insurers to accurately categorize each car owner’s risk and adjust rates accordingly—not only during the COVID-19 pandemic but in the long term, too.

Two of True Mileage’s analytics products—both built on massive unbiased national datasets—can be used in conjunction with Smartcar’s API:

  • Mileage Discount Analytics
  • Daytime Discount Analytics

“We’re excited to partner with True Mileage, making auto insurance fairer and more affordable during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “I’m looking forward to seeing the impact that our partnership will make for both car owners and insurers.”

Smartcar provides an unparalleled data source for UBI

Thanks to Smartcar, True Mileage clients can now access accurate mileage, time of day, and additional data without the need for an aftermarket device, a UBI app, or any ongoing driver action.

Smartcar’s API technology allows insurers to connect directly to a driver’s vehicle. When first connecting their car, the driver logs in with their connected services account and agrees to share periodic odometer readings and optionally their vehicle location. The insurer can then verify the vehicle’s mileage and mileage by time of day and run this data through True Mileage’s analytic models to calculate an accurate discount.

Four smartphone screens showing the app of the auto insurance provider Sky Insurance and Smartcar's vehicle owner consent flow.
Smartcar’s API technology allows insurers to connect directly to a driver’s vehicle.

“I was completely awestruck when I learned that Smartcar enables insurers to connect to over 60 million vehicles—a number that’s vastly superior to other solutions on the market,” said True Mileage Founder and CEO Ryan Morrison. “This is a huge step forward for the insurance telematics industry. We’re excited to be at the forefront of this incredible advancement.”

Auto insurance providers in the United States can now request early access to the comprehensive and hassle-free UBI solution. True Mileage and Smartcar plan to make the solution publicly available later this year.

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Smartcar launches in Canada

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

January 19, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

We’re proud to announce that Smartcar is expanding to Canada. After our launch in Europe last month, businesses with operations in Canada can now request early access and use the Smartcar platform to build and scale their mobility products. Our first customers in Canada include the car sharing marketplace Turo, the fleet management software provider Pitstop, and the lot management solution provider ACE Marktplace.

The leading developer platform for mobility businesses

Smartcar is the leading developer platform for mobility companies. Businesses of all sizes use our APIs to connect their apps and services to vehicles. Auto insurance providers verify mileage to charge accurate rates. Electric utility providers offer smart EV charging programs that help balance the grid. Car sharing marketplaces offer contactless rentals with digital keys.

Now available in Canada

Businesses that offer their apps and services to vehicle owners in Canada can now request early access to Smartcar’s APIs. Our platform is compatible with over half a dozen car brands, with additional brands coming soon. Our car owner onboarding flow, Smartcar Connect, is now available in English and French to offer optimal language support across the country.

“After our expansion to Europe last month, we’re excited to launch our platform in Canada,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “Our partnerships there have shown a wealth of opportunities for businesses building with Smartcar. We’re excited to be bringing our services into more markets as 2021 continues.”

Smartcar for car sharing

One of Smartcar’s customers with operations in Canada is the car sharing marketplace Turo. The U.S.-based company uses Smartcar’s APIs in a pilot program that offers secure keyless rentals to its customers in Canada.

Smartcar for fleet management

Our customers in the fleet management industry include the vehicle prognostics platform Pitstop. The Canada-based company uses Smartcar to provide the first hardware-free prescriptive fleet maintenance solution to enterprises in the country. Pitstop’s cloud-based maintenance platform unifies data from across the automotive industry to provide seamless, accurate maintenance dashboards to vehicle fleets. Using Smartcar’s technology, Pitstop customers benefit from a fully digital solution that eliminates the need for aftermarket hardware devices.

Smartcar for lot management

The Canada-based connected vehicle platform ACE Marktplace offers lot management software for car dealerships. The company uses Smartcar’s APIs to provide a hardware-free solution that allows dealerships to easily monitor and manage their inventory.

If your mobility business operates in Canada, you can now create a free Smartcar account and request early access to our platform. Stay tuned as we’re going to expand to even more markets soon!

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January 2021: New status page, localized Smartcar Connect flow, and a new car brand in Europe

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

January 14, 2021
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

📢 Smartcar status page

Our brand-new status page is live! Head to status.smartcar.com to check on the current status of all our services. You can also subscribe to updates and receive email, Slack, or RSS notifications whenever we create, update, or resolve any incidents.

🌍 Smartcar Connect in French and Japanese

We’re excited to launch our vehicle owner onboarding flow, Smartcar Connect, in two new languages. Vehicle owners that speak French or Japanese can now connect their cars to your app in their own language.

🚘 New car brand in Europe

The Smartcar platform is now compatible with Ford vehicles in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Norway. Car owners with compatible Ford models can now use Smartcar Connect and link their car to your app or service.

#️⃣ New and improved test mode

Smartcar’s test mode allows you to test your app by making API requests to a simulated vehicle. In our new and improved version of test mode, you can now use specific VINs and select the permissions that your simulated vehicle should be capable of. This is especially useful if your app includes VIN validation or other VIN-related functionalities.

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Talking Tax podcast by Bloomberg: the future of the gas tax

Amber Livingston

1 min read

December 17, 2020
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Last week, Bloomberg journalist Michael Bologna interviewed Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta about the vehicle-miles-traveled (VMT) tax and why it might soon replace the traditional gas tax across the United States.

On an episode of the Bloomberg podcast Talking Tax, Bologna and Katta spoke about the problems that electric vehicle adoption creates for the funding of our roads and how the sustainable and equitable VMT model charges vehicle owners a per-mile fee instead of taxing their fuel purchases.

Listen to Katta’s take on VMT taxation and learn how several U.S. states are using Smartcar’s technology to adopt the model.

To learn more about Smartcar, book a time with our experts.

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A new brand to build the future of mobility

Kathleen Hsu

4 min read

December 15, 2020
News
Product
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, we’re excited to introduce Smartcar’s new brand identity. Our refreshed brand communicates Smartcar’s mission of “empowering developers to build the future of mobility” in a more inspiring and approachable way.

Why a redesign?

Smartcar’s product has come a long way since our last brand refresh in 2019. We continuously advanced our product, partnered with new industries, and even expanded to additional markets outside of the United States. Soon we realized that Smartcar’s brand needed to evolve to match the growth of our platform. Our minimalistic design language limited the ways in which we could express Smartcar’s brand, and our developer-oriented voice hindered us from reaching audiences with non-technical backgrounds. We decided that now was the right time to refresh Smartcar’s brand both visually and content-wise.

Redefining Smartcar’s brand voice

In the first step of our redesign, we brainstormed the core values that Smartcar’s new brand voice should represent. We defined the following four pillars: empowering, relatable, trustworthy, and polished. Once we had established these core values, we evolved every element of our existing visual and written language to embody our brand voice and speak to businesses of all sizes and across various industries. At the same time, we made sure that our new voice would be scalable across our product, website, and marketing channels.

Graphic showing four pillars with the words "empowering," "trustworthy," relatable," and "polished" alongside a definition for each.
In the first step of our redesign, we brainstormed the core values that Smartcar’s new brand voice should represent.

Introducing a new visual identity

Based on our newly defined brand voice, we evolved Smartcar’s colors, typography, and illustrations to form our new visual language.

Colors

We kept the same shade of teal as Smartcar’s primary color, but we decided to introduce a new palette of vibrant colors to accompany it. Our new yellow, green, and purple secondary colors represent the broad range of industries Smartcar serves within the mobility space. They also help to lend a stronger personality to our brand. On the Smartcar website, every page includes one of our bright secondary colors, accompanied by a contrasting dark shade of the same color. Finally, we occasionally use a light shade of tan to recreate the retrofuturistic atmosphere that was the major theme of our 2019 redesign.

Typography

When thinking about Smartcar’s typographic voice, we knew we wanted to appeal to both developers and business professionals at the same time. As our existing body typeface, IBM Plex, evokes a more technical personality, we decided to keep and combine it with Poppins for a fresher, more approachable headline font.

Illustrations

Our new illustrations are still inspired by retrofuturism. The theme of retrofuturism emphasizes that Smartcar is enabling a mobility landscape that previous generations could only dream of. We also retained the main character of these illustrations—an astronaut who interacts with a car—to draw a parallel between retrofuturistic visions of space travel and the mobility landscape that Smartcar is enabling.

While the retrofuturistic theme and the astronaut character in our illustrations purport empowerment, relatability, and trustworthiness, we decided to change the style to create a more polished look. Our new illustrations are still hand-drawn but simpler, resulting in a playful but crisp feel.

To bring our illustrations to life and connect them with our primary teal color, we use a shade of light blue that highlights parts of each illustration.

Screenshot of the Smartcar website showing the header of the product features page with a line drawing of an astronaut holding a phone and standing next to a car.
Our new illustrations are still inspired by retrofuturism.

Putting it into words

Smartcar’s new brand voice also inspired major changes in our written content. While our previous copy was developer-friendly and valuable in explaining Smartcar’s product to a technical audience, we wanted to achieve two new goals:

  1. Relatable & trustworthy: Make our content more relevant and easier to understand for our non-technical audience, while still appealing to our developer audience
  2. Empowering & polished: Clearly communicate the value that Smartcar provides for businesses of different sizes and industries, while still explaining the essential product details

These two goals guided us when revamping our website’s content from start to finish. From the prominence of technical words like “API” and our explanation of products like Smartcar Connect, all the way to featured customer testimonials that demonstrate Smartcar’s value first hand—our revamped content aims to be helpful while appealing to our diverse target audience.

Left side: The car API for mobility applications. Smartcar allows mobility apps to locate, unlock, and read the odometer from cars across brands with a single API. Right side: Build and scale your mobility business. Companies use Smartcar's APIs to verify vehicle mileage, issue digital car keys, manage EV charging, and track fleets.
Left side: Let customers link their vehicles to your app. Before you can start making API requests to Smartcar, your customers will need to link their cars to your app. Our Smartcar Connect flow makes this easy, secure, and instant. Right side: Powering mobility worldwide The Smartcar platform allows mobility businesses to easily connect with their customers’ cars. Whether you need to track a vehicle’s location, verify its mileage, share a virtual key, start charging an EV, monitor a car’s fuel tank level, inspect the tire pressure, or check the engine oil life, Smartcar lets you do so with a single API request.
Our new homepage content aims to be helpful while appealing to our diverse target audience.

Finally, our new visual identity and our written tone and voice work hand in hand. For example, our new product images don’t only display our own product. They primarily highlight our customers’ products and how Smartcar helps power these products across different use cases and industries.

Smartcar website showing a part of the car sharing industry page with a smartphone screen showing the Turo app on the left and three blocks of text on the right.
Our new visual identity and our written tone and voice work hand in hand.

We hope that you enjoy the refreshed Smartcar brand! As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to evolve and improve the Smartcar experience. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at kathleen@smartcar.com.

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Smartcar’s 2020 roundup

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

December 10, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

As 2020 comes to an end, the Smartcar team is looking back at a year full of product launches, new partnerships, and even the expansion to additional markets. In this roundup, we’d like to share our most important highlights with you.

🌍 4 new markets

Just last week, the Smartcar platform expanded beyond the United States. Businesses with operations in Germany, the UK, Sweden, and Norway can now request early access to build and scale their mobility services with us.

🚘 5 new vehicle brands

We did not only expand to additional markets but also launched compatibility for five new vehicle brands. In addition the 15 brands that were already compatible with our platform, owners of compatible Jaguar, Land Rover, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota vehicles can now link their cars to apps and services through Smartcar.

📍 3 new APIs

The Smartcar platform got even stronger this year with increased reliability, faster performance, and three new API endpoints.

  • Our EV start/stop charge API allows you to start or stop charging an electric vehicle remotely with a simple API request.
  • Our engine oil life API lets you check the remaining lifespan of a vehicle’s engine oil.
  • Our scheduled webhooks enable you to receive a collection of data points from a specific car automatically on a recurring schedule.

💎 1 new SDK

We were proud to introduce the official Smartcar Ruby SDK in November. Developers can now choose between five API SDKs (Go, Java, Node.js, Python, and Ruby) and three Smartcar Connect SDKs (Android, iOS, and JavaScript) when integrating Smartcar into their mobile or web app.

💻 A new and improved developer experience

Over the course of 2020, we made numerous improvements to our developer experience. Starting with a redesigned developer dashboard in January, we launched a brand-new doc center shortly thereafter. We concluded the year with a refreshed onboarding experience with a personalized step-by-step checklist that guides you to making your first API request.

Finally, our most exciting update of the year is still to come! Stay tuned for an announcement on the Smartcar blog next week, or subscribe to our newsletter below to get notified by email.

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The technology that is replacing telematics devices

Charlotte Kosche

5 min read

December 4, 2020
Product
Live SiteStaging Site

Telematics devices have been around for decades and have powered a multitude of use cases—from vehicle mechanics to fleet management and auto insurance. Today, as 80 percent of vehicles sold in the United States are connected, car APIs are replacing telematics devices in some of these industries. The following post explains what telematics devices are and how they are increasingly replaced by hardware-free car API technology.

What is a telematics device?

To understand what a telematics device is, it is useful to first talk about on-board diagnostics.

On-board diagnostics (OBD)

On-board diagnostics (OBD) is a computer system that is built into most vehicles. It allows cars to self-diagnose problems and report data regarding those problems to another device. For example, a car mechanic can plug an OBD scanner into a vehicle’s OBD port to read out error codes and find out what is wrong without taking the car apart.

Most of today’s cars follow the OBD2 or OBD-II standard. This standard has been mandatory for internal combustion engine (ICE) cars in the United States since 1996 and in the European Union since 2003.

Telematics devices

Similarly to an OBD scanner, a telematics device is a piece of hardware that plugs into a car’s OBD port. The telematics device can then read data from the car—such as the mileage, fuel tank level, and tire pressure—and send that data to an app on your phone, for example.

Telematics devices are used for a multitude of use cases. For example, fleet management companies use them to track the GPS location, mileage, and fuel consumption of their fleet vehicles. Predictive maintenance software relies on telematics devices to monitor the tire pressure, engine oil life, and other vehicle health data. Even auto insurance companies use telematics devices to offer pay-per-mile or usage-based insurance (UBI) programs, which charge drivers based on their monthly mileage or their driving behavior.

What is a car API?

With the emergence of connected cars, there is now a new way of retrieving telematics data from vehicles: car APIs. An API (application programming interface) is a set of computer programs that allows two software applications to talk to each other. A car API is hence an intermediary that allows apps and cars to talk to each other.

For example, a fleet management app can make a simple API request to a car API to obtain the vehicle’s last known location. When using the Smartcar API, a request to retrieve a car’s location looks like this:

Car APIs are replacing telematics devices

Why?

When comparing car APIs and telematics devices, car APIs have a number of advantages for certain use cases. First, car APIs don’t require plugging a hardware device into a car’s OBD port. Instead, they communicate directly with the embedded cellular modem that is already built into a connected vehicle. As there is no hardware involved, car APIs don’t require any upfront purchases, any installations, or any replacement of broken devices. Car APIs are thus more cost-efficient and easier to use than telematics devices.

Illustration showing a phone screen, a Smartcar logo, and a car, as well as arrows with a question mark going from the phone via the Smartcar logo to the car, and arrows with an odometer reading going from the car via the Smartcar logo to the phone.
The Smartcar API allows apps to retrieve telematics data from vehicles without the need for a hardware device.

Second, car APIs are a future-proof technology and might soon be the most common way to retrieve telematics data from vehicles. In the United States, 80 percent of vehicles sold in 2020 were connected, compared to only 47 percent three years prior. Soon, all vehicles will be connected and thus compatible with car APIs, regardless of the make or model.

Unfortunately, telematics devices are experiencing an opposite trend. As the OBD2 standard is only required for ICE vehicles and the software in electric vehicles is much more complex, many car manufacturers have started using their own proprietary OBD standards in their EV models. This poses problems for telematics devices, which struggle to update their technology to stay compatible with different EVs. Some EV models, like the Tesla Model 3, don’t have an OBD port at all, making it impossible for telematics devices to become compatible with them. With the increasing popularity of EVs, this trend will only get larger over time.

This is why car APIs have already partly replaced telematics devices, and they will continue to do so. Even if telematics devices manage to overcome the mentioned challenges, car APIs will still be better suited for specific use cases and will continue to gain popularity in those industries, while telematics devices might stay the preferred solution for other use cases.

How?

This brings us to the “how” of car APIs replacing telematics devices. As mentioned above, car APIs are replacing telematics devices for certain use cases.

Fleet management software providers use car APIs to offer lightweight, hardware-free solutions that are perfect for small fleet with low budgets. With the Smartcar API, fleet management software providers are able to track the last known location, mileage, fuel tank level or EV state of charge, tire pressure, and engine oil life from vehicles.

Predictive maintenance software providers use car APIs to retrieve similar data points from fleet vehicles.

Auto insurance providers, which previously used telematics devices or smartphone telemetry for their pay-per-mile and usage-based insurance products, increasingly use car APIs for mileage and location tracking.

Four phone screens showing a vehicle being connected to the Just Auto Insurance mobile app.
Auto insurance providers like Just Auto Insurance use the Smartcar API to track vehicle mileage and locations.

Car sharing companies use car APIs to provide keyless rentals, allowing customers to unlock cars directly from their phones.

Phone screen showing a map with a pinpointed vehicle location and a lock/unlock button.
Car sharing companies like Turo use the Smartcar API to offer keyless bookings.

Finally, EV managed charging, EV route planning, and EV battery health are important use cases for which car APIs are the perfect solution.

Electric utility providers use car APIs to offer basic controlled smart charging programs for residential customers that automatically charge EVs when electricity rates are lowest.

Browser window showing the Krafthem dashboard with a Tesla Model 3's location, battery level, range, charging status, and charging schedule.
Electric utility providers like Krafthem use the Smartcar API to offer basic controlled smart charging for EV owners.

Fleet management and EV charging apps use car APIs for EV route planning. Based on a vehicle’s location, state of charge, and range, these apps can recommend drivers the best route for their trip, which charging stations are along the way, and how long it will take them to charge at each station.

Businesses can even use car APIs to better inform EV battery health reports by factoring the mileage, state of charge, and charging status of a vehicle into their battery health algorithms.

Unlike the mentioned use cases, there are also areas for which telematics devices are still the more suitable choice. For example, vehicle mechanic shops still use OBD scanners to detect problems in vehicles with an OBD port. Similarly, certain fleet management and predictive maintenance use cases rely on OBD data that car APIs can not yet provide.

In the end, only time will show whether car APIs will one day completely replace telematics devices, or whether there will always be use cases for both.

If your business is looking to learn more about car APIs, feel free to schedule a chat with our team!

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Smartcar launches in Europe

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

December 1, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, we’re excited to announce that Smartcar is expanding beyond the United States. Businesses with operations in Europe can now use our platform to build and scale their mobility services. Smartcar customers can request early access to our APIs in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Norway, with additional countries following soon. Our first customers in Europe include the car sharing marketplace Turo, the auto insurance provider Paydrive, and the energy company Krafthem.

The leading developer platform for mobility businesses

Smartcar is the leading developer platform for mobility businesses. Companies of all sizes use our APIs to connect their apps and services with cars. Car sharing marketplaces carry out contactless rentals with digital keys. Fleet management software providers offer hardware-free fleet tracking solutions. EV charging networks check their customers’ vehicle location and state of charge to recommend nearby charging stations.

Now available in Europe

Existing Smartcar customers and new customers who offer mobility services in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, or Norway can now request early access to our platform.

“We’ve seen growing interest from European businesses that want to use our APIs,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “We decided to validate our product with a number of customers in Germany, the UK, Sweden, and Norway. The progress and enthusiasm we’ve seen from these first partnerships in the past several months has been the driver to officially launch our platform in these four countries.”

Smartcar in Germany

One of our early customers with operations in Germany is the car sharing software provider Zemtu. The Austria-based company uses Smartcar to offer a keyless software solution to car sharing businesses across Europe. The keyless solution allows renters to locate and unlock vehicles directly from their phones. Zemtu’s customers CARUSO Carsharing and Teilzeug use the solution for their car sharing businesses in Germany.

Two smartphone screens showing the Zemtu app; left: map with pinpointed car location and unlock button; right: rental details with travelled distance, time, cost
Zemtu uses Smartcar to offer a keyless software solution to car sharing businesses across Europe.

Smartcar in the United Kingdom

The U.S.-based car sharing marketplace Turo uses Smartcar’s technology for a pilot program in the United Kingdom, providing secure and convenient keyless rentals to its British customers.

Smartphone screen showing Turo app: map with pinpointed car location, lock/unlock button, vehicle mileage, and EV battery state of charge
Turo uses Smartcar’s technology to provide secure and convenient keyless rentals

Smartcar in Sweden

Smartcar’s Sweden-based customers include the auto insurance provider Paydrive and the energy companies Krafthem and Greenely. Paydrive offers the country’s first pay-per-mile auto insurance. The company uses Smartcar to verify vehicle mileage with a simple API request. Krafthem provides EV owners with cheaper and more sustainable electricity that helps balance the electric grid. Smartcar’s technology allows Krafthem to connect with their customers’ electric vehicles to remotely start and stop charging them at the best times.

Browser window showing Krafthem web app: map with pinpointed location, battery level, range, charging status, and charging schedule of the customer's Tesla Model 3
Krafthem uses Smartcar to remotely start and stop charging a customer's EV at the best times.

Smartcar in Norway

The car sharing platforms Nabobil and TapCar have been using the Smartcar platform in Norway. Nabobil offers a peer-to-peer car sharing app to vehicle owners and renters across the country. Using Smartcar’s digital key API, the company lets car owners rent out their vehicles contactlessly and without the need for a hardware device.

Two smartphone screens showing the Nabobil app; left: map with available rental cars; right: home screen asking for customer's preferred pickup location
Nabobil uses Smartcar to let car owners rent out their vehicles contactlessly and without the need for a hardware device.

If your mobility business provides services to vehicle owners in Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, or Norway, you can now create a free Smartcar account and request early access to our APIs in Europe. Stay tuned as we’ll launch in additional countries soon!

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Smartcar and emovis partner to power road-usage charge program

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

November 17, 2020
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar and the toll-based mobility services provider emovis partner to provide a fair and sustainable road usage charge program to vehicle owners in Utah. Since January 2020, Smartcar’s hardware-free mileage verification API has helped simplify the program’s onboarding experience and increased conversions.

Fuel tax revenue decreases

State governments across the U.S. face increasing challenges with one of their primary funding mechanisms: the fuel tax. The taxes that states collect on gasoline and diesel fuel purchases go toward road construction and repair. As cars become more fuel-efficient and electric vehicles become more common, gas tax revenue steadily decreases, and many states struggle to cover their road maintenance costs.

Although more than half of U.S. states have either raised or reformed their fuel taxes since 2013, those efforts fail to provide a fair and sustainable solution to the problem. First, raising fuel taxes means that owners of gasoline and diesel cars pay a significant amount of taxes, while hybrid and electric vehicle owners pay significantly less or nothing at all. Second, as more and more people switch to alternative fuel vehicles, states will have to keep increasing gas taxes until fuel becomes unjustifiably expensive.

Road usage charge replaces the fuel tax

What is road usage charge?

Some U.S. states are exploring road usage charge (RUC) programs as an alternative to the fuel tax. Road usage charge is the concept of charging vehicle owners a per-mile fee instead of taxing their gasoline and diesel fuel purchases. The solution is fair to vehicle owners, who get charged based on how much they use the state’s roads regardless of the type of car they drive. It is also sustainable for state governments, which no longer depend on gasoline purchases.

Smartcar powers emovis road usage charge program

Emovis partners with state governments across the country to offer voluntary road usage charge programs for owners of electric and hybrid vehicles. As part of their road usage charge program in Utah, emovis offers participants two ways of sharing their annual mileage: a plug-in OBD device or a hardware-free solution. Owners of vehicles manufactured in 2014 and earlier need to receive and install an OBD device in their cars and upload a photo of their odometer reading once per year. Owners of newer vehicles can choose the hardware-free solution, which is powered by Smartcar.

Smartcar allows vehicle owners to connect their cars with just three clicks from the emovis app. Emovis then uses Smartcar’s mileage verification API to retrieve the vehicle’s odometer reading at regular intervals. Participants don’t need to install any hardware in their cars, and they don’t need to upload photos of their odometer readings. Instead, emovis retrieves this information directly from the vehicle’s instrument cluster.

An increase in onboarding success rates

Smartcar has helped emovis simplify the program’s user experience and boost onboarding success. With Smartcar’s technology, emovis has been able to onboard new vehicles to the program faster and more efficiently than before while providing a friendly user experience to participants.

“We’ve gotten great feedback so far,” said emovis Senior Program Manager Charlie Mitchell. “Participants love how easily they can connect their cars without needing to worry about an OBD device.”

If road usage charge programs like the one in Utah prove successful, state governments might make them a requirement for electric and hybrid vehicle owners.

“Road usage charge is the future of fair and sustainable transportation,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “We’re glad that emovis and Smartcar play a role in this transition, and we can’t wait to see other states follow Utah’s example.”

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What is the best developer platform for cars?

Charlotte Kosche

4 min read

November 12, 2020
Product
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is the leading developer platform for mobility businesses in North America and Europe. From car sharing marketplaces to auto insurance providers and electric utility companies, developers of all kinds use our APIs to integrate their apps and services with cars. Whether you need to track a vehicle’s location, verify its mileage, share a virtual key, start charging an EV, or check the engine oil life, our platform lets you do so with a single API request.

But what makes Smartcar the best API platform for cars? Which characteristics define a good developer platform, and what is Smartcar doing to keep leading this category in the automotive space?

Developer experience

First and foremost, a good developer platform needs to focus on its users.

💻 Developer-centric

Smartcar is a product built by developers for developers. We make it incredibly easy to integrate any web or mobile app with cars. We are not a data marketplace, nor do we store any vehicle data. Smartcar simply acts as the link between mobility apps and their customer’s cars. For example, making an API request to unlock a vehicle is as simple as this:

👐 Self-service product

An important aspect of our developer experience is that we offer a self-service product. Anyone can go to dashboard.smartcar.com and sign up for a free developer account. Our extensive documentation, API reference, and SDKs include every major programming language and lay out everything you need to integrate and test our APIs. They also make it easy for you to make your first request to a real vehicle, deploy your integration across your customer base, and scale your API usage.

💁‍♂️ Excellent support

Of course, whenever our documentation and support articles don’t answer your questions, our customer success team is here to help. In addition to speedy chat and email support, our paying customers benefit from 1:1 phone support, a dedicated customer success manager, tailored onboarding programs, and complimentary implementation service.

Product features

While a developer platform should provide a great user experience, it also needs to offer valuable product features to its customers.

📍 API endpoints

Our API endpoints build the core feature set of the Smartcar platform. Developers have the choice between a large number of API endpoints that include anything from reading telemetry data (e.g. an odometer reading) and sending actions (e.g. locking and unlocking a vehicle) all the way to retrieving batches of data (e.g. location, fuel tank level, and tire pressure) and scheduling recurring data retrievals.

Illustration of a car with three circles connecting to it. Inside the circles there are an illustration of a pin, a pound sign, and an odometer reading.
Our API endpoints build the core feature set of the Smartcar platform.

🚘 Compatible car brands

The Smartcar platform is compatible with every major vehicle brand in the United States and several brands in Europe. Check out our Global Coverage page to see which makes are compatible in which country.

🌎 Available markets

Smartcar is based in the United States but we have recently launched our platform in Canada and Europe. Head to our Global Coverage page for more information, and don’t hesitate to contact us to request access to Smartcar in your country.

💰 Transparent pricing

In order to be truly self-service, a developer platform needs to offer transparent pricing plans that fit all of its customers’ needs. Smartcar provides four different pricing plans, ranging from entirely free and pay-as-you-go to custom pricing.

🎨 Variety of use cases

The best way to validate a product’s strengths is to get it into the hands of customers. Smartcar serves developers in many different industries. Auto insurance providers like Just Auto Insurance use our APIs to charge customers by the mile. Car sharing businesses like Turo and Zemtu offer contactless rentals. Electric utility providers like Krafthem provide cheaper and more sustainable electricity to EV owners. And fleet management software providers like Azuga offer lightweight, hardware-free fleet management solutions. All of these developers use Smartcar to quickly, easily, and efficiently connect with their customers’ cars.

Two Zemtu mobile app screenshots. The first shows a map indicating a car's location and an lock/unlock button. The second shows trip details (time, distance, cost) of a Tesla Model 3.
The car sharing software provider Zemtu uses Smartcar to offer keyless rental solutions.

Vehicle owner experience

Finally, a developer platform for cars is unique in the sense that developers are not the only ones interacting with it. A developer’s customers—i.e. car owners—interact with it too. This is why vehicle owner privacy is a core part of Smartcar’s product.

🔒 Privacy-focused user consent flow

Before making an API request to a car, developers need to collect consent from the vehicle owner. Smartcar’s proprietary user consent flow, Smartcar Connect, makes this process fast and seamless. In the developer’s app, the vehicle owner clicks “Connect your car.” They then log in with their connected services account and review the permissions that the app developer is requesting access to (e.g. read odometer, read location, and lock/unlock vehicle doors). The whole process takes just 30 seconds and gives the car owner full transparency and control.

GIF of Krathem app prompting the user to connect their car, pop-up window allowing the user to log in and review permissions, and Krafthem app showing charging schedule for the user's Tesla Model 3.
Before making an API request to a car, developers need to collect consent from the vehicle owner.

A great developer platform for cars needs to be developer-centric, have strong product features, and provide a seamless experience to vehicle owners. Smartcar meets all three of these criteria, making it the best developer platform for cars.

Book a time to chat with our team to learn more.

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November product updates: The Smartcar Ruby SDK is now widely available

Charlotte Kosche

1 min read

November 5, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

This month’s roundup includes the official launch of our Ruby SDK, upgrades to our Python and Java SDKs, and improved subscription checks for vehicle owners in Europe.

💎 Official Smartcar Ruby SDK

After launching a beta version earlier this year, we’re excited to announce that the Smartcar Ruby SDK is now widely available. Developers can now choose between five API SDKs (Go, Java, Node.js, Python, and Ruby) and three Smartcar Connect SDKs (Android, iOS, and JavaScript) when integrating Smartcar into their web or mobile app.

🐍☕ Upgrades to Python and Java SDKs

We also created some updates to our Python and Java SDKs this month. The Smartcar Python SDK now supports type hints and other features of the newest Python versions. Deprecated versions (older than Python 3.6) are no longer supported.

Both, our Python and Java SDK now feature improved error handling for exceptions. From now on, developers will only need to handle SmartcarExceptions.

✅ Improved Subscription Check in Smartcar Connect

Our Subscription Check feature in Smartcar Connect is now compatible with Volkswagen vehicles in Germany, the UK, Sweden, and Norway. When a user tries to link a compatible Volkswagen vehicle with an expired Car-Net subscription, Subscription Check detects the issue and provides the user with instructions to reactivate their subscription.

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Smartcar and Krafthem partner to provide cheaper and more sustainable electricity to EV owners

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

October 29, 2020
EV charging
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with the utility company Krafthem to offer cheaper, more sustainable electricity contracts, primarily to electric car owners in Sweden, that help balance the Nordic electric grid. Krafthem has developed AI technology to make electric power systems more efficient. Smartcar enables the company to connect to its customers’ EVs and power its demand response programs with crucial vehicle data.

Krafthem makes electric power systems more efficient

The rising popularity of electric vehicles poses increasing challenges to electric grids worldwide. EVs need large amounts of electricity to charge, causing spikes in electricity usage that risk overloading electric grids during daily peak hours.

Krafthem is the first electric utility company to help balance the Nordic electric grid by offering electricity contracts tailored especially to EV telemetry. The company’s demand response program features machine learning algorithms that automatically charge electric vehicles at times when electricity is cheapest and generated from renewable sources. This way, Krafthem’s customers can cut their electricity costs in half while also reducing carbon emissions and making the Nordic electric grid more efficient.

“Grid balancing and green energy usage are very pressing topics in today’s energy landscape,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “We’re really impressed with Krafthem’s solution to this challenge and are excited to help them create the best possible experience for their customers.”

Smartcar allows Krafthem to connect with EVs

When looking for a way to power its demand response program with crucial vehicle data, Krafthem decided to partner with Smartcar. The Smartcar platform allows Krafthem customers to easily connect their EVs and share their vehicle data and charging permissions.

When first connecting their vehicle, a customer logs in with their connected services account and reviews the permissions Krafthem requests from their car. Once the customer agrees, Krafthem uses Smartcar’s technology to access the vehicle’s state of charge, charging status, odometer, and location as well as to remotely start and stop charging the car using simple API requests.

“We couldn’t think of an easier way to remotely monitor and manage our customers’ electric vehicles,” said Krafthem CEO and Founder John Diklev. “The Smartcar platform is straightforward, easy to integrate with, and compatible across car brands, which is a huge plus for us as we’re quickly building and bringing our product to market.”

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Smartcar and Zemtu partner to launch API-powered keyless car sharing solution

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

October 27, 2020
Car sharing
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with Austria-based car sharing software provider Zemtu to offer an API-powered keyless car sharing solution to businesses across Europe. Zemtu provides all-in-one software solutions to car sharing companies of all sizes. The new API-powered product allows businesses to offer keyless rentals without hardware while saving onboarding time and costs.

Zemtu offers seamless car sharing solutions

Car sharing companies use the Zemtu platform to build, operate, and offer their services without writing any code. Zemtu’s offerings include mobile apps, keyless booking features, seamless vehicle management, and customer support tools.

Smartcar allows Zemtu to go hardware-free

Zemtu is now launching its first API-powered solution in partnership with Smartcar. Instead of purchasing and installing a hardware device in each vehicle, car sharing businesses can connect vehicles with just four clicks from the Zemtu app.

Once a car is connected, Smartcar’s API allows renters to locate and unlock the vehicle directly from the Zemtu app. Zemtu also uses Smartcar to verify the car’s mileage after each trip and calculate how far the renter has traveled.

“Zemtu lowers the barriers to entry for new car sharing companies and enables established businesses to efficiently scale their services,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “Similarly, Smartcar lowers the barriers to entry for developers like Zemtu. We allow them to quickly and easily integrate with cars and scale their integration without hardware costs.”

By making its car sharing solution hardware-free, Zemtu can offer companies an even more seamless experience. Businesses can onboard new cars in less than 30 seconds at no additional cost. Three of Zemtu’s partners—Caruso Carsharing, edrive, and Teilzeug—are already using the API-based product on eligible vehicles to complement their existing hardware-powered services.

“Smartcar is empowering us to launch the next generation of car sharing software,” said Zemtu CEO and CTO Dominik Bartenstein. “In a few years, every new car will feature built-in APIs. Smartcar is our one-stop solution to communicate with all of these cars in a single integration.”

Car sharing businesses across Europe can now apply for early access to the API-powered solution. Smartcar and Zemtu plan to make the product publicly available soon while expanding its coverage to further markets.

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What is embedded telematics?

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

October 15, 2020
Product
Live SiteStaging Site

Unless you are an automotive industry expert, you might not have heard of automotive embedded telematics before. With the right resources at hand, embedded telematics is easier to understand than it might seem. This blog post explains what embedded telematics is, how it is used, and which car brands equip their vehicles with this technology.

Embedded telematics lets cars connect to the internet

Embedded telematics is a technology that allows so-called connected cars to connect to the internet. “Telematics” is a combination of telecommunications and informatics. It encompasses information transfer between telecommunication devices, computers, GPS satellite systems, and objects. Most of the time, the term “telematics” is used to specifically mean “embedded vehicle telematics,” which allows cars to communicate with other devices via an internet connection.

Just like a smartphone, a vehicle that is equipped with embedded telematics has a cellular modem built into it right from the factory. This embedded telematics modem allows the car to connect to the cellular network and communicate with other internet-connected devices such as mobile phones.

Car manufacturers and mobility companies use embedded telematics

By now, you might ask yourself: Why does this technology exist, and who uses it? The purpose of your car’s embedded cellular modem is to send vehicle telemetry—which is another word for the data your car generates—to your car manufacturer. Examples of vehicle telemetry are a car’s location, odometer reading, fuel tank level or EV battery level, tire pressure, and engine oil life.

If your car features embedded telematics, you can access your vehicle’s telemetry by downloading your car manufacturer’s connected services app. This mobile app is different from car brand to car brand, but most apps let you monitor your vehicle’s location, lock and unlock the doors, and do other things like preheating the battery.

In addition to your car manufacturer’s mobile app, many mobility companies—from car sharing to auto insurance and EV charging—let you make use of your car’s embedded telematics in a similar way. Mobility companies use platforms like Smartcar to let you connect your car to their app and enable functionalities like digital key sharing, pay-per-mile insurance policies, and automatic EV charging schedules.

Which car brands offer embedded telematics?

Most vehicle brands offer embedded telematics on the majority of their recent vehicle models (2015 and newer). Around 80% of new cars sold in the United States today feature embedded telematics. To find out whether your car is connected, download your car brand’s mobile app and head to connectyourcar.com for instructions on setting up your account. If your car brand is not included on connectyourcar.com, reach out to your car brand’s customer service and ask them whether your vehicle is eligible for a connected services account.

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October product updates: now compatible with 60 million cars

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

October 6, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

This month’s roundup includes compatibility with 60 million vehicles, improved security on all Smartcar domains, the ability to add your privacy policy to Smartcar Connect, and more.

🚘 Compatible with 60 million cars

The Smartcar platform is now compatible with 60 million cars in the United States. Head to our compatible vehicles page to learn more about the 19 vehicle brands and numerous models your app can connect to using Smartcar. We will also expand to new markets soon. To stay tuned, check our global coverage page and subscribe for updates regarding your country or region.

🔒 Improved security for all Smartcar domains

Smartcar’s website and all of its subdomains, including Smartcar Connect, are now included in the HTTPS Strict Transport Security (HSTS) preload list. This allows us to protect our domain from bad actors and ensure maximum safety of our users.

✒️ Add your privacy policy to Smartcar Connect

Our customers can now add a link to their company’s privacy policy to Smartcar Connect. Simply add your privacy policy URL on the settings page in your dashboard, and a link to your privacy policy will appear on the first screen of Smartcar Connect.

🚩 SDK-supported feature flags

All of Smartcar’s SDKs now support feature flags, a new parameter in Smartcar Connect that gives your app early access to new product features. Stay tuned, as our first early access features will become available soon!

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Smartcar and eDRV partner to let EV owners charge without a mobile app

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

September 29, 2020
EV charging
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with the EV charging management platform eDRV to launch Plug & Go, an EV charging management solution that lets vehicle owners plug in their cars and charge without using their phones.

eDRV’s open management platform allows businesses to deploy EV charging networks for multi-family homes, workplaces, commercial units, and fleets. The new Plug & Go solution offers the first app-less charging experience to owners of a wide range of EV models. Plug & Go uses Smartcar’s APIs to identify charging vehicles without the need for a mobile app, allowing car owners to plug in their cars and automatically start charging.

eDRV makes operating EV charging stations easy

Multi-family homes, workplaces, commercial units, and fleets use the eDRV platform to deploy and manage EV charging stations, regardless of the manufacturer. eDRV’s technology allows businesses to customize their EV charging network and integrate it into their building management system. For example, workplaces and retail locations can customize their network to only let employees and customers charge their vehicles.

Smartcar powers eDRV’s new app-less solution

Thanks to its partnership with Smartcar, eDRV now offers an even more seamless on-site charging experience to owners of a wide range of EV models. Plug & Go is the company’s first app-less solution for operators of home, commercial, and fleet charging networks.

Regardless of the type of charger, EV owners can plug in their car and leave it to charge at their apartment, workplace, or retail location. eDRV uses Smartcar’s APIs to identify the vehicle and automatically start charging it without the need for a mobile app or a physical card.

“It’s exciting to see how the Smartcar platform can benefit a product like Plug & Go,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “We’re glad to be a part of this level of innovation in the EV space.”

Before using a Plug-&-Go-powered charging network for the first time, EV owners sign up on the eDRV website and connect their vehicle with just four clicks. Then, whenever the car owner plugs their EV into a charging station, eDRV verifies the vehicle’s identity by retrieving its location and VIN using Smartcar’s APIs. If the identification is successful, eDRV uses Smartcar to start charging the car and monitor its state of charge, range, and charging status.

“Smartcar gives us an easy and secure way to access information directly from the vehicle,” said eDRV CEO and Co-Founder Bhaskar Deol. “Combining vehicle and charging station data allows eDRV to offer unparalleled functionality to the owners of charging networks. By letting us verify a car’s location, VIN, and battery level as well as triggering the car to start charging automatically, Smartcar allows us to offer the most seamless experience to EV drivers.”

Plug & Go will become available for Tesla drivers charging on eDRV network locations in the United States and the United Kingdom later this year, with plans to include other electric vehicles and countries soon.

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What is a connected car?

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

September 24, 2020
Product
Live SiteStaging Site

In today’s world, everything is increasingly connected. Smartphones connect us to the rest of the world like never before. Our doorbells, TVs, and even water kettles are “smart” and can connect to the internet. Our voice assistants turn on the lights and give us the latest news update every morning.

So, it's no surprise that we are also seeing the rise of connected cars. While you might have heard about connected vehicles, it can be challenging to understand the world of connected cars and whether your own vehicle is already connected.

Don’t worry—this blog post has all the answers for you.

Connected cars can connect to the internet

A connected car is equipped with embedded telematics, a technology that allows it to connect to the internet. Like a smartphone, a connected vehicle has a 3G, 4G, or 5G cellular modem built into it.

Connected cars come with this built-in modem right from the factory, but you might have to activate it by signing up for your car manufacturer’s mobile app. Jump to the last section, “Is my car connected?” to learn more about this.

Why should cars connect to the internet?

Vehicles connect to the internet so that your phone and other apps and services can easily communicate with it. Each car manufacturer offers a mobile app that allows vehicle owners to check the location of their car, lock and unlock it, preheat the car, and get notified when they run low on gas—all directly from their phone.

In addition to that, connected car developer platforms like Smartcar allow vehicle owners to benefit from similar features while using other apps and services, like a car-sharing app, an EV charging app, or an auto insurance app.

Connected cars are not necessarily autonomous

That said, you might already have guessed that connected cars have nothing to do with autonomous vehicles. When you thought of the term “connected car” for the first time, you might have imagined autonomous cars that share the road and communicate with each other to avoid collisions. While we might get to that point in the years to come, and most autonomous cars will probably connect to the internet, today's connected cars have nothing to do with autonomous driving.

The connected car market is growing

Every year, there are more and more connected cars on the road both in the U.S. and globally. In the United States, 80% of all vehicles sold today are connected, and this number is growing. While there are 67 million connected cars on the road in the United States today, this number is expected to reach 116 million within the next five years. Undoubtedly, the connected car market is growing, and automakers as well as other mobility companies are rushing to make use of this opportunity.

Is my car connected?

So, how do you know whether your car is connected? If you have a connected vehicle, your car manufacturer will offer you access to their connected services app. A connected services app is a mobile app that allows you to locate and unlock your vehicle from your phone, preheat the battery, and more.

Each car brand offers its own connected services app. For example, Ford’s app is called FordPass, Chevrolet’s is called myChevrolet, and Jeep’s is called Uconnect. Even if you don’t have your car brand’s app downloaded on your phone, your vehicle might still be connected.

Head over to connectyourcar.com for a step-by-step guide to determine whether your car is eligible and set up your connected car account. If your car brand is not included on connectyoucar.com, check your car brand’s website or call them to ask whether your car is eligible.

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Smartcar and Recurrent partner to make buying used electric vehicles easier and more transparent

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

September 23, 2020
EV charging
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with Recurrent, a platform that offers used electric vehicle (EV) battery condition reports on electric cars. Recurrent uses Smartcar’s APIs for its research fleet, enabling volunteer drivers to receive free monthly EV battery reports on their vehicles. Smartcar’s technology allows Recurrent to easily connect to a volunteer’s car and remotely monitor important data such as its mileage, state of charge, and charging status.

Buying a used EV is different

For the longest time, the process of buying used cars was simple. Prospective buyers visited a local dealership and inquired about a car’s age, mileage, and mechanical problems before purchasing the vehicle. Today, the used car market has rapidly changed. Most used vehicle purchases are now initiated online, and electric cars are becoming more and more popular. These two developments pose a significant challenge: EV batteries are complicated to inspect, making it difficult to determine how much a battery has deteriorated since it left the factory floor. Buying a used electric vehicle can thus be extremely risky.

A trusted platform for the used electric vehicle market

“Recurrent is the first company to help buyers of used EVs answer their core questions,” said Recurrent CEO and Co-Founder Scott Case. “Buyers want to understand how a vehicle’s range changes with age, how long they can expect a battery to last, and whether they are getting an ‘electric lemon.’”

Both private buyers and dealerships can use Recurrent’s platform to receive reports about a vehicle’s true range as the battery ages. Recurrent has built proprietary predictive algorithms that allow the company to generate its independent reports.

“While Recurrent empowers car buyers by making the used EV market more transparent, Smartcar empowers developers like Recurrent by making it easy to connect to a customer’s vehicle,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “We’re excited to be working with Recurrent and accelerating both of these missions.”

Smartcar powers Recurrent’s research fleet

To improve and refine its machine learning algorithms, Recurrent launched its research fleet program in late July. Volunteers can join the research fleet to receive free monthly battery reports for their EVs. Recurrent utilizes the cars’ data to train its predictive algorithms and produce more accurate ratings.

Recurrent uses the Smartcar platform to onboard each volunteer’s car and retrieve important vehicle and EV battery information. Volunteers can connect their car and agree to share their vehicle data with just a few clicks from the Recurrent app. Recurrent then uses Smartcar’s APIs to monitor the car’s mileage, range estimates, state of charge, and charging status to train their battery performance algorithms.

Volunteers can connect their car and agree to share their vehicle data with just a few clicks from the Recurrent app.

During the first month of the program, Recurrent successfully onboarded over 1,300 vehicles to its research fleet.

“Smartcar has been instrumental for the success of our research fleet,” said Case. “Not only does the Smartcar platform provide amazing technology. Their team has also helped us integrate in just a few weeks and enabled us to scale incredibly fast.”

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Auto Service World podcast: Sahas Katta on the future of telematics

Charlotte Kosche

1 min read

September 22, 2020
News
Live SiteStaging Site

This week, Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta was featured on Auto Service World Conversations, a weekly podcast about the automotive industry.

Smartcar is the leading developer platform for mobility services. In this episode, ASW Conversations host Allan Jansson spoke with Sahas about Smartcar's founding story, how the company allows developers to access vehicle telematics without hardware, and how it ensures data security and privacy.

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September product updates

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

September 15, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

This month's roundup includes a refreshed onboarding experience, new pricing plans, our compatible vehicles page, and more.

👋 Refreshed onboarding experience

After creating a Smartcar account, we now let you choose your preferred SDKs and guide you to making your first API request with a simple 5-step checklist.

💰 New pricing plans

We're excited to offer new pricing plans to our customers. Easily sign up for our Free Starter, and Pro plans, or contact us for custom Enterprise pricing.

📑 All compatible cars at a glance

See which cars your app can connect to using the Smartcar platform. Our new compatible vehicles page lists all makes and models in an easy-to-navigate table.

⚡ EV API endpoints on additional models

Our EV battery level and EV charging status API endpoints are now compatible with additional vehicle models, including the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the Jaguar I-PACE, and the Land Rover Range Rover PHEV.

✅ Extended Subscription Check

Our Subscription Check feature in Smartcar Connect is now compatible with additional vehicle brands, including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, GMC, Hyundai, Jaguar, Jeep, Land Rover, and RAM. When a user tries to link a vehicle with an expired connected services subscription, Subscription Check detects the issue and lets the user know how to proceed.

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Smartcar and Azuga partner to power road usage charge programs across the U.S.

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

September 9, 2020
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with Azuga, a leader in connected vehicle solutions, to power road usage charge programs in several U.S. states. Azuga uses Smartcar’s technology to let drivers opt in and share their vehicle mileage with their state’s Department of Transportation.

The rise of road usage charge programs

With an increasing share of fuel-efficient and electric cars on our roads, state governments collect less gas tax revenue and struggle to fund road maintenance projects. As the gas tax is no longer sufficient to fund all road infrastructure, Departments of Transportation across the country test and refine road usage charge programs as an alternative. Road usage charge is a per-mile fee that drivers pay depending on how much they drive. Apart from acting as a sustainable funding mechanism, per-mile fees are also fairer than the gas tax, charging drivers based on how much they use the roads instead of how much fuel their cars consume.

Azuga Insight, a sub-brand of Azuga, has been working closely with Departments of Transportation to create and execute pilot programs for road usage charge. The company decided to partner with Smartcar to lower administrative costs, create a convenient participation option, and to guarantee tamper-resistant technology.

Smartcar powers Azuga’s road usage charge solutions

Over the past five years, Azuga has used Smartcar’s APIs in its road usage charge programs in California and Oregon. The company now plans to expand its use of the Smartcar platform to programs in several other states.

“We’re excited to see Azuga deploy our technology in additional states to power fair, sustainable, and efficient ways to fund road infrastructure,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “Road usage charge is one of the most promising developments in today’s transportation landscape, and we’re glad to be a part of it.”

Smartcar’s technology allows Azuga to cost-effectively and reliably retrieve telemetry directly from 2015 and newer vehicles. Drivers opt in to share their mileage with just four clicks from their phones. Azuga then uses Smartcar’s APIs to accurately monitor each vehicle’s odometer reading and calculate the driver’s per-mile fee.

Drivers opt in to share their mileage with just four clicks from their phones.

In programs where Azuga has implemented Smartcar’s solution, the company has been able to reduce hardware and data acquisition costs while increasing driver satisfaction.

“Smartcar has enabled us to build the most innovative road usage charge programs in the country,” said Azuga Vice President Nate Bryer. “Over the past five years, the platform has gone from one to 19 compatible vehicle brands and built out an impeccable car owner experience. Today, we’re able to connect to over 60 million cars in a single integration. We can’t wait to see where our partnership will take us from here.”

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How to keep your team engaged while working from home

Jackie Leary

5 min read

September 8, 2020
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

Imagine that it’s Monday January 6, 2020 and you are back in the office after celebrating the New Year. Everyone is feeling refreshed after the holiday break and chatting about their New Year’s resolutions. High-fives and handshakes are encouraged. Phrases like “social distancing” and “shelter-in-place” are not yet part of your vocabulary. Like the rest of the world, you could have never imagined what was about to come.

Let’s fast-forward to today. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of many Americans and has radically changed the lives of many more. The lucky ones among us—who have managed to stay healthy and keep their jobs while safely working from home—are trying to get used to a new day-to-day work routine:

You haven’t seen your colleagues in person in over five months and you’ve baked more banana bread than you can possibly eat. You are still searching for that delicate balance between working from home and relaxing at home. And you might not be feeling as connected and engaged with your colleagues as you once were.

The good news is: You’re not alone. This is an entirely new reality we’re all facing. At Smartcar, we’ve worked really hard to maintain our quirky, collaborative culture so that the whole team feels connected. Whether you work for a small company like we do, or a large company, there’s lots you can do to keep your teams engaged while working from home. Check out some of the ways in which we stay connected!

Weekly newsletter

Every week, we send out a newsletter with one recipe and one exercise that the team can do on their own time. Recipes can vary from appetizers to entrees and desserts, and team members are encouraged to take a photo of what they have made and send it along to the rest of the team. The carefully curated exercises range from stretching and meditation to high intensity interval training—there’s something for all interests and experience levels!

Pro tip: Send out the newsletter on a Friday so that everyone has time to buy the ingredients over the weekend. Additionally, be sure to include recipe alternatives for those with dietary restrictions.

Quarterly offsites

The Smartcar team is very enthusiastic about our quarterly offsites. They have always played a huge role in maintaining our company culture, so much so that we’ve written a blog post about our top three! The transition to a fully remote team has definitely required a lot more creativity in our approach to planning our quarterly offsites. Luckily, there are so many resources available for those planning company-wide virtual events. Our saving grace has been Airbnb Online Experiences. There are many skilled artists, motivational speakers, and even magicians ready to host an amazing team building experience for your company. And why stop there? There are also virtual escape rooms, paint parties, and so much more that your teams can do to stay connected.

Company-organized team building activities

What’s more, you don’t need to wait for a quarterly offsite to organize a team-wide or company-wide team building event. Every Thursday, we have a 15-minute exercise session where the team participates in squat challenges, stretching sessions, and yoga (to name just a few). We host these sessions over Google Meets, so that we can get some face-to-face time while staying active and getting moving. We also host bi-weekly team virtual lunches, topped with mini-activities like Skribbl.io and a company-themed bingo!

Self-guided activities

One of the biggest challenges about working from home is being able to “switch off” at the end of the day. Our living rooms, kitchens, and dining rooms are now our offices, so the line between work life and personal life has blurred. How do we set boundaries between the two? At Smartcar, we created a company calendar with daily, self-guided activities that employees can do on their own time. Want to learn how to make the perfect margarita? Looking to learn the art of negotiation? We’ve got you covered! This gives our team the opportunity to transition from work to personal life more seamlessly. Mathilde took a Thai Cooking class where she learned to make green curry, basil chicken, and a Thai omelette. Check out the result:

Learning & development

Shortly before shelter-in-place was enforced in the San Francisco Bay Area, we introduced a learning & development program to provide our team with tools to achieve their personal and professional goals. You can read more about the program and how our team has used it so far in this blog post.

As it turns out, the timing of this new program could not have been better. Now that many of us are stuck indoors, we are taking the opportunity to acquire new skills. This has helped us become more engaged in our everyday work, but it also gives us an outlet to turn off and focus on something other than work at the end of the day.

Donut

While working from home, it is important to recognize that some team members, especially if they work in different departments, might stay in touch less than others. For instance, since shelter-in-place took effect, five new members have joined Smartcar, but they’ve never had the chance to meet our team in person. To help new team members get to know their co-workers, Smartcar introduced Donut. Donut is a Slack extension that automatically pairs everyone with one other team member twice a month and schedules a virtual meeting. During the meeting, you can learn more about your partner’s hobbies, what they are working on, and how they are spending their time during shelter-in-place. This has been super helpful in keeping our team connected. Here’s a snapshot of how it works:

If you’re like me, the abrupt transition to remote work required a lot of adjustment. At Smartcar, dedicating the time to plan and organize team activities has had a huge impact on our ability to communicate and stay in touch with each other. Now more than ever, we are seeing how important it is to keep your team engaged not only with one another, but also with your company’s mission.

How has your team stayed connected during the COVID-19 pandemic? Feel free to reach out to exchange ideas!

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Azuga goes hardware-free with its next-gen fleet management software

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

September 3, 2020
Fleet management
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

The fleet management software provider Azuga uses Smartcar’s APIs in its new hardware-free fleet tracking solution. Businesses with fleets of all sizes benefit from the Smartcar-powered solution as an affordable and user-friendly alternative to Azuga’s GPS tracking devices.

Affordable and easy-to-use fleet management software

Azuga helps businesses improve the operations and safety of their fleets by offering affordable and easy-to-use GPS fleet management software for fleets of all sizes. In addition to their existing fleet management system with GPS tracking devices, Azuga now offers a hardware-free alternative that allows fleet managers to save additional costs and onboarding time.

How it works

Azuga’s Smartcar-powered solution can connect to most new vehicle models across 19 makes in the United States. Onboarding a new or existing fleet to the hardware-free solution takes less than a minute. All that businesses need to do is log in with their connect services account and consent to sharing their fleet’s vehicle data with Azuga.

“Fleet management hardware is compelling but not always within the budget of a business that needs to operate and manage a set of vehicles,” said Azuga Executive Vice President of Sales Derek Few. “Through our new Smartcar-powered solution, we can bring our product within the price points of a larger set of businesses while also offering instant onboarding and impeccable user experience.”

As soon as a business has onboarded its fleet, Azuga uses Smartcar’s APIs to monitor each vehicle’s location, mileage, EV battery or fuel tank level, tire pressure, and engine oil life. In addition to these features, Azuga offers a unique solution for electric vehicle fleets. The product allows businesses to monitor the state of charge, remaining range, and charging status of EVs and to remotely start and stop charging vehicles at the best times.

“We’re excited to see that Azuga is making fleet management incredibly simple,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “I’m glad that Smartcar can play a role in this next-gen product, which will shape the fleet management industry for years to come.”

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Smartcar launches EV charging solution for energy and electric utility providers

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

September 1, 2020
EV charging
News
Live SiteStaging Site

We’re excited to announce that Smartcar’s EV charging solution for energy and electric utility providers is now widely available. Utilities in the United States can use our technology to digitally monitor and manage EV charging and best balance electric grid load.

Smartcar is the leading developer platform for mobility businesses. Companies of all kinds use our software and APIs to manage EV charging, track vehicle locations, verify mileage, and issue digital car keys. With our new EV charging solution, electric utility providers can easily connect to their customers’ electric vehicles and integrate EV charging into their existing load balancing, dynamic pricing, demand response, and electricity usage products.

The challenges of increased EV usage

The increasing share of EVs on the road is causing nationwide electricity usage to surge by 38% by 2050. Utilities are rushing to increase electricity production, but their success will depend on when EV owners charge their vehicles. If utility providers don’t start monitoring EV charging-induced spikes in electricity demand, overloaded grids and significant power outages will follow during peak hours.

Undoubtedly, utilities need to start including EV charging management in their offerings to keep balancing electric grid load. But until now, there has been no easy way to monitor and control EV charging in the electric grid.

Integrate EV charging into the electric grid

Smartcar is the first platform to let utility providers quickly and easily integrate EV charging into the electric grid. With a single integration effort, utilities can connect directly to most major electric vehicle brands.

Early partners like Rolling Energy Resources and Krafthem are already using our technology in their electric utility programs. Here are some ways in which our customers have been using the Smartcar platform:

First, residential electricity customers opt in to connect their EV directly from the utility provider’s web or mobile app. The utility then monitors and charges the customer’s vehicle, no matter whether they are using a regular 120-volt outlet, a residential charger, or a public charging station. With simple API requests, the utility provider can:

By integrating EV charging into the electric grid, our customers have been able to better balance the load on their networks, while electric vehicle owners have benefitted from convenient EV monitoring and management offerings:

  • ⚖️ Load balancing: Start and stop charging your customer’s EV to best balance the load on your network.
  • 💰 Dynamic pricing: Monitor your customers’ charging patterns to predict peak hours and set dynamic pricing rates.
  • 🙋 Demand response programs: Reward customers for opting in to automatically start and stop charging their vehicle at optimal times to help balance electric grid load.
  • 📆 Smart charging schedules: Allow your customers to manage their EV charging schedule directly from their electric utility account. Let them choose to automatically start charging when electricity prices are lowest.
  • 📊 Electricity usage dashboards: Provide an entirely digital interface for your customers to monitor and manage their EV usage as part of their overall energy consumption.

To request a product demo or to learn more about Smartcar’s features and pricing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.

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3 great reasons to join the Smartcar team

Mathilde Patmon

2 min read

August 26, 2020
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

Would you enjoy working on complex projects that have a massive impact on thousands of car owners? Would you like to single-handedly launch new product features and initiatives that make a difference for your company and its customers? Would you like to grow and learn new skills quickly while working with smart and welcoming people? Looking no further—Smartcar is hiring!

We’ve thought of all the things we love about our company and have written out three main reasons you should consider joining our team. If you aren’t yet sure what Smartcar does and how our product works, check out this blog post for more context.

1. Make an impact

Smartcar is a 19-person startup. No matter which department you join, you will

  • 🚀 Make an impact: Smartcar’s APIs are compatible with 60 million cars and used by thousands of vehicle owners. We’ll also expand internationally later this year.
  • 🤝 Be respected: As a member of the Smartcar team, your voice is heard and your opinion matters.
  • 💪 Take ownership: You’ll have the opportunity to lead significant projects from development into production.
  • 🔧 Work efficiently: We’re a small but mighty team. There are no meetings to plan other meetings. Our flat hierarchy allows us to focus on common goals instead of fighting over different agendas.

2. Achieve your career goals

Joining Smartcar will not only allow you to make an impact but also help you achieve your personal career goals. Every team member learns new skills incredibly quickly and gets to dive into different areas of expertise with each new project. One week you might be building Smartcar’s new documentation center from the ground up, and the next, you’ll be creating an SDK for an additional programming language.

To put facts to statements, 100% of Smartcar’s managers were promoted internally based on merit. Check out this blog post about one of our company values, empowerment, to learn about some success stories.

3. Be part of an amazing team

Last but not least, Smartcar’s welcoming team members and inclusive work culture are an excellent reason to join our company. Everyone has the same drive and passion for working towards one common goal. Everyone treats each other with respect and genuinely wants to help each other out to succeed together.

When you need help on a particular project, you won’t hear things like “That’s not my area. You need to figure this one out on your own.” Instead, you’ll hear “This is interesting. Let’s figure it out together!” Support also comes from the top down. Our co-founders always make themselves available to the team, even if you’re just giving them a call and asking their opinion on an idea you had the other day.

Our dream team is growing, and we’d love for you to join us. Check our open positions and apply today!

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Smartcar and Pitstop partner to launch hardware-free maintenance solution for vehicle fleets

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

August 25, 2020
Fleet management
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with vehicle prognostics platform Pitstop to offer the first hardware-free prescriptive fleet maintenance solution to enterprises in the United States and Canada. Pitstop’s cloud-based maintenance platform unifies data from across the automotive industry to provide seamless, accurate maintenance dashboards to vehicle fleets. Using Smartcar’s technology, Pitstop customers can now benefit from a new digital solution that eliminates the need for aftermarket hardware devices.

Pitstop provides seamless predictive maintenance

Pitstop is one of the first vehicle prognostics platforms to perform predictive analytics from multiple data sources. Pitstop harnesses data from connected cars, component manufacturers, vehicle manufacturers, dealerships, and other sources. By ingesting time-series sensor data, diagnostic information, usage patterns, and maintenance records to draw insights from proprietary machine learning algorithms, Pitstop allows fleet managers and other enterprises to prevent breakdowns, reduce downtime, and efficiently manage their vehicle fleets.

“While Pitstop makes it easy for enterprises to manage their vehicle fleets, Smartcar makes it easy for developers like Pitstop to integrate their products and services with cars,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “Our partnership drives both of these missions forward, which makes it all the more exciting for us.”

Smartcar allows Pitstop to offer a fully digital solution

Using Smartcar’s technology, Pitstop now offers the world’s first hardware-free predictive maintenance solution for vehicle fleets. Fleet managers have the option to connect their vehicles via Smartcar in just a few clicks.

Fleet managers log in with their connected services credentials and review exactly which types of information Pitstop will be able to retrieve from their vehicles. Once onboarding is complete, Pitstop is able to retrieve the location, odometer reading, fuel tank level, tire pressure, and remaining engine oil life from each vehicle in order to inform prescriptive maintenance plans and detect potential issues.

By using Smartcar and eliminating the need for aftermarket hardware devices, Pitstop’s customers can save time and money that they would otherwise spend purchasing, installing, and maintaining aftermarket hardware devices for each vehicle. The hardware-free solution is beneficial for fleets of all sizes, ranging from small companies to large fleets that are in need of a scalable and reliable fleet management solution.

“The Smartcar team has built an easy-to-integrate API, allowing Pitstop to integrate with millions of vehicles without the need for hardware,” said Pitstop CEO Shiva Bhardwaj. “Our platform allows fleets to reduce downtime, save repair costs, and optimally maintain their vehicles like never before.”

Pitstop’s fully digital predictive fleet maintenance solution is available to customers across the United States and Canada starting this week.

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Smartcar & Black Tech Unplugged

Mathilde Patmon

1 min read

August 19, 2020
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, we’re excited to announce our partnership with Black Tech Unplugged.

What is Black Tech Unplugged?

Black Tech Unplugged was created by Deena McKay. As a Black woman who often found herself as the “only one” in many scenarios she felt alone in the tech scene. Therefore, she founded the podcast Black Tech Unplugged to share success stories and resources to help guide people on their tech journey! She has since branched into creating Youtube videos and hosting webinars.

What does this partnership mean?

Smartcar will collaborate with Black Tech Unplugged by hosting several webinars and podcasts together. We’ll be sharing tips and tricks around topics like “How to land a job that you don’t have work experience in,” “How to network remotely,” and more.

How can I participate?

Come join us for our first event on August 20 at 5 p.m. PST, where Smartcar’s Ashwin Subramanian and Mathilde Patmon will be discussing tips around landing your dream job with limited work experience.

Stay tuned for further Black Tech Unplugged events and more Smartcar collaborations to come!

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Smartcar & Products by Women

Mathilde Patmon

1 min read

August 12, 2020
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

At Smartcar, we’ve always been heavily involved with different local organizations and universities such as the coding bootcamps Hack Reactor and Hackbright Academy, San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, Stanford University, and UC Berkeley. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, we want to take work-from-home as an opportunity to collaborate with groups outside of the San Francisco Bay Area. To kick things off, we are excited to announce our partnership with Products by Women.

Products by Women is a diverse global community network for women in innovation, tech and beyond. The New York-based network offers women the opportunity to connect and learn from peers from around the world, find jobs beyond borders, and get matched with recruiters and mentors to accelerate their careers.

Smartcar and Products by Women will collaborate by hosting several webinars together during the coming months. Topics will include product design work at a startup, post-college career transitions, job hunting hacks, and more.

Come join us for our first event on September 3 at 4 p.m. PST, where Smartcar’s Kathleen Hsu will tell participants what it’s like to be the first and only product designer at a 19-person startup.

Stay tuned for further Products by Women events and more Smartcar collaborations to come!

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Smartcar’s EV charging solution is now widely available

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

August 11, 2020
EV charging
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, Smartcar is launching its API platform for EV charging services. Our technology allows EV charging networks and other EV charging applications to monitor and manage their customers’ electric vehicles using simple API requests.

The challenges of a fragmented EV charging landscape

Today’s EV charging landscape struggles with fragmentation. Large differences between the makes and models of electric vehicles as well as the types and operators of charging stations make it difficult to know a customer’s charging behavior and to help them efficiently manage and charge their EV.

A unified platform for EV charging services

Smartcar is the first platform that unifies access to electric vehicle data, allowing businesses to build and scale their EV charging services. Our APIs allow EV charging networks and other EV charging applications to collect user consent and integrate directly with a customer’s car, regardless of its make and model. Our technology is compatible with many popular electric vehicles including the Tesla Model 3, the Chevrolet Bolt, the Nissan LEAF, and the BMW i3.

A Smartcar-provided onboarding flow allows EV charging services to quickly and easily collect user consent.

No matter whether a car is currently plugged into an EV charger and which type of charger the customer is using (an AC charger, a DC fast charger, or a regular 120 volt outlet), Smartcar allows your web or mobile application to monitor and manage the vehicle anytime using simple API requests:

Building smart and efficient EV charging solutions

The EV charging company Recharge uses Smartcar's APIs in their app. (Designs are subject to change.)

Early partners like Recharge are already using our car APIs in their EV charging apps and services. Here are some of the ways in which our customers have been using the Smartcar platform:

  • ⏳ Estimate charging times and monitor charging: Provide estimated charging times even before a vehicle is plugged into a charger. While the vehicle is charging, let customers monitor the charging progress on your app.
  • 📆 Create smart charging schedules: Let customers set a flexible charging schedule. Automatically start and stop charging their vehicle when electricity prices are lowest.
  • 🗺️ Enhance EV route and trip planning: Help customers plan trips based on their vehicle’s location, current range, and charging station locations along the way.
  • 📈 Power rewards programs: Reward customers for charging within your EV charging network a certain number of times in relation to their monthly mileage. Incentivize them to charge at times when carbon offsets are largest.
  • 🧮 Identify charging vehicles and predict charging patterns: Using a vehicle’s VIN, charging status, and location, know which one of your customer’s EVs is currently charging. Based on their charging habits as well as the vehicle’s location and range, predict where and when they will want to recharge.
  • 🤝 Understand customer loyalty: Know when and where your customers charge out-of-network to determine where to place your next chargers.

To request a product demo or to learn more about our features and pricing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Smartcar team.

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How we use our learning & development stipend at Smartcar

Jackie Leary

3 min read

August 5, 2020
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

At Smartcar, a huge part of our culture involves supporting the continuous growth of our team members. We are dedicated to providing everyone the tools they need to achieve their personal and organizational goals. Back in January of this year, Smartcar introduced a learning and development program, which allows team members to participate in internal and external learning opportunities. Check out some of the ways in which we’re using our stipend!

Kathleen

I’m a product designer here at Smartcar. I chose to use my learning and development stipend to attend Config 2020—Figma’s first user conference, which took place on February 26 in San Francisco. Figma is our primary design tool. As a long-time user, I was incredibly excited to learn from other designers who use the product as well.

The day kicked off with several exciting product announcements, a couple of keynote talks about the intersection between design and other fields, and an interview with the musician Scott Hanson (known as Tycho). In the afternoon, there was a wide range of topics and different session formats to choose from. One of my favorite talks was by Marcin Wichary from Figma, who gave insight into the complexity of font weights and the challenges of building a tool that handles fonts. I also enjoyed a workshop on finding confidence in design decisions, which was led by Linda Eliasen from Help Scout. She talked about two ways to build confidence: gathering data and repeating the same experience. The conference closed with an inspiring talk by May-Li Khoe on “joyfully subverting the status quo” and creating things that empower communities.

Throughout the day, I also had a chance to meet a lot of new people and catch up with friends and past colleagues. Overall, I found the conference to be a valuable and inspiring experience, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to attend!

Jackie

I’m a member of our People & Ops team, so I work on a wide variety of projects, from office operations to recruiting, event planning, ... you name it! In my day-to-day, I need to efficiently prepare and execute tasks in a timely fashion, no matter how complex the project is. The projects I work on have a lot of moving parts with tight deadlines, so I chose to spend my learning and development stipend on a Lean Project Management course on Udemy.

During the course, I learned about the Lean philosophy: to reduce waste and create a better workplace through continuous improvement. Lean principles can be applied to every project I work on. They have given me the tools to more efficiently execute on tasks while keeping various wastes (time, money, energy, etc.) in mind. In other words, I’m working smarter, not harder. I’ve even used Lean methods outside of work! I’ve been able to plan a vacation to Hawaii (for whenever we’ll be able to safely travel again, of course)!

Mathilde

I’m also part of Smartcar’s People & Ops team and I spent my learning and development stipend on a coding bootcamp preparation course by Hackbright Academy. The recruiting part of my job requires me to understand the work of different departments at Smartcar and to hire the best talent for each department. When it comes to engineering positions, I always felt like there was a gap between my own knowledge and the day-to-day work that our engineers are doing.

Hackbright’s 5-week course taught me the basics of Python and gave me a fundamental understanding of the principles of programming. What used to be an intimidating topic for me is now an area that I feel more positive and curious about. I just completed the course last week, so I look forward to applying my newly acquired skills during my job at Smartcar as well as during my freetime to create fun side projects!

Conclusion

What’s more, we don’t have to use our learning and development stipend for topics that are directly related to our roles. As long as we can apply the things we learn to our work and use them to make us a more well-rounded team, Smartcar is all for it!

Does your team have a learning and development program? Please email me to share your experience and exchange ideas!

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What is Smartcar?

Charlotte Kosche

5 min read

July 30, 2020
Product
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is the first and only API platform for connected cars. Our technology allows developers to easily integrate their mobility apps and services with their customers’ vehicles.

But what does that mean? Which developers use Smartcar’s technology? What is an API? And what is a connected car?

Let's take a step back and explain what exactly we do here at Smartcar.

The API platform for connected cars

In short, the Smartcar platform is a set of APIs that allow mobility applications and connected cars to communicate with each other.

What is an API?

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of computer programs that allows two software applications to talk to each other. For example, when searching for “Weather New York” on Google, the search results will display a snippet with New York’s weather forecast.

However, Google doesn’t collect any weather data.

Instead, when someone searches for “Weather New York,” Google makes an API request to an API that the weather forecasting business The Weather Company provides. The API fetches the latest forecast for New York from the Weather Company’s server and sends this information back to Google. The Weather Company’s API acts as an intermediary between the Weather Company and Google, so that the two can talk to each other.

What does the Smartcar API do?

In Smartcar’s case, our car API is an intermediary that allows software applications and vehicles to talk to each other. For example, the insurance company Just Insurance charges car owners based on their mileage and driving behavior. When Just Insurance wants to know a customer’s mileage, the Just Insurance app sends a request to the Smartcar API. The Smartcar API then retrieves the mileage directly from the customer’s vehicle and sends this information back to the Just Insurance app.

📱 Building apps for cars: A beginner's guide to car APIs

What does a car API look like in action? Why should you connect to cars with an API instead of OBD dongles or smartphone telematics?

More importantly, is a car API platform the right choice for you?

👉 Learn from real examples of apps built with car APIs

The API platform for connected cars

When retrieving connected car data like mileage, the Smartcar API acts as an intermediary between apps like Just Insurance and their customers’ cars. But how does Smartcar read a vehicle’s mileage?

It does this via the car’s embedded cellular modem.

What is a connected car?

A connected car is a car with built-in internet connectivity. It can connect to the internet thanks to an embedded cellular modem—a small piece of hardware that equips the car with 3G, 4G, or 5G internet access.

Today, 80% of all cars sold in the U.S. are connected.

If your car is connected, your car brand offers you access to their connected services app. A connected services app is a mobile app that allows you to locate and unlock your vehicle from your phone, preheat the battery, and more. Each car brand offers their own connected services app. For example, Ford’s app is called FordPass, Chevrolet’s is called myChevrolet, and Jeep’s is called Uconnect.

Even if you don’t have your car brand’s app on your phone, your vehicle might still be connected. Check your car brand’s website or call them to ask whether your car is eligible for a connected services account.

How does Smartcar communicate with connected cars?

Smartcar is able to communicate with connected cars because of embedded cellular modems that provide cars with internet connectivity. But before the Smartcar API can ask a car’s cellular modem for its mileage, a few other things need to happen first:

1. A customer links their car to an app

Sticking with our example, Just Insurance prompts a customer to start tracking their mileage (left). The customer enters Smartcar Connect—a Smartcar-provided flow that lets them link their car to the Just Insurance app in just 30 seconds (middle). The customer then logs in with their car brand’s connected services account (right).

2. The customer agrees to share their car’s information

The next step allows the customer to review exactly which information they are about to share with the Just Insurance app (left). In this case, Just Insurance is requesting access to the vehicle’s make, model, year, VIN, odometer reading, and location. Once the customer presses “Allow,” their car is successfully linked to the Just Insurance app (right).

3. The app requests the car’s mileage

Now that the customer has linked their vehicle, Just Insurance can send an API request to Smartcar and ask for the car’s mileage. Here’s what this API request looks like:

When the Smartcar API receives this request, it asks the vehicle’s embedded modem for its odometer reading. It then takes the response—17,694.82 miles in this case—and sends it back to the Just Insurance app.

Who are Smartcar’s customers, and how do they use the platform?

So far, we’ve stuck with only one example of a business that uses Smartcar in their mobility application. But there are many more developers and businesses that use Smartcar in their mobility apps and services.

  • Auto insurance companies like Just Insurance verify their customers’ mileage.
  • Road usage charge companies like Aventi charge vehicle owners a per-mile fee as a replacement for the gas tax.
  • Peer-to-peer car sharing businesses like Turo let vehicle owners share a digital car key with renters for instant, contactless rentals.
  • Electric vehicle charging companies like Recharge let electric vehicle owners monitor their car’s battery level and estimated charging time.
  • Energy and utility companies like Rolling Energy Resources allow electricity consumers to manage and charge their electric vehicles right from their phones.
  • Fleet management software companies like Azuga allow fleet managers to see the location, mileage, tire pressure, and fuel tank level of all vehicles in their fleet.
  • On-demand car wash companies like Spiffy let vehicle owners share a digital car key with service technicians for interior detailing.
  • In-car delivery companies allow vehicle owners to get groceries, packages, and even their dry cleaning delivered directly into their cars.

This is how the Smartcar platform allows mobility applications to easily integrate with their customers’ cars. By offering a set of standardized APIs and a friendly user consent flow, Smartcar makes it easy for developers to connect to their customers’ vehicles and to focus on what’s most important: building incredible mobility apps and services.

If you have questions or would like to see a Smartcar demo, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We'd love to hear from you!

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Introducing the EV start and stop charge API (early access)

Ashwin Kumar Subramanian

2 min read

July 28, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, we’re excited to announce the Smartcar electric vehicle start and stop charge API. ⚡

Smartcar allows mobile and web applications to easily integrate with their customers’ vehicles. Our new start and stop charge API endpoint enables EV charging and utility apps to remotely start and stop charging an electric vehicle using simple API requests.

Start & stop charging EVs with simple API requests

Initiating the start or stop of a vehicle’s charging session is as easy as a single API request. Here’s how to start charging your customer’s vehicle using Node.js:

Build smart charging solutions and power demand response programs

The Smartcar start and stop charge API helps EV charging businesses as well as electric utility and energy companies with a variety of use cases.

  • 🔋 Start and stop charging in an app. Allow your customers to start and stop charging their vehicle with the press of a button inside your EV charging or electric utility app.
  • 📆 Create charging schedules. Let your customers create recurring vehicle charging schedules. Automatically start and stop charging a vehicle at the selected times every day.
  • 💡 Build smart charging solutions. Monitor a vehicle’s state of charge and estimated charging time using the Smartcar EV battery API. Automatically start charging when electricity prices are lowest and carbon offsets are largest.
  • 🚀 Offer demand response programs. Reward your customers for allowing your application to automatically start and stop charging vehicles to efficiently manage electric grid load.

The benefits of using Smartcar

There are several benefits to using the Smartcar start and stop charge API.

  • Direct vehicle integration. Smartcar is the first API that allows you to integrate directly with your customers’ vehicles instead of having to integrate with different EV chargers. With Smartcar, your application can communicate with your customer’s vehicle anytime, even while it isn’t plugged into an EV charging station.
  • Extensive set of API endpoints. Apart from the new start and stop charge API, Smartcar offers a range of API endpoints that allow your application to retrieve the state of charge, charging status, remaining range, and other information from an electric vehicle. See a complete list of our API endpoints.
  • User-friendly, instant, and reliable. Our extensive documentation and SDKs make integrating Smartcar fast and easy. Once integrated, your customers appreciate the simple Smartcar Connect onboarding flow, while your engineering team is able to obtain instant and accurate information from vehicles.

Starting today, Smartcar customers can request early access to the start and stop charge API. If you aren’t a customer and would like to learn more about Smartcar, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

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Coverager Casual podcast: An interview with Sahas Katta, CEO of Smartcar

Amber Livingston

1 min read

July 16, 2020
Auto insurance
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Last week, Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta was featured on Coverager Casual, a weekly podcast that discusses recent news from the world of insurance and beyond.

Smartcar offers auto insurers an API-based, hardware-free solution to tackle different challenges including underreported mileage, garaging misrepresentation, and invalid VINs. In this podcast episode, Coverager Co-Founder Avi Ben-Hutta interviews Sahas about the different solutions that Smartcar offers, the challenges of traditional car telematics programs, and the connected car space.

To learn more about Smartcar, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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Just Auto Insurance and Smartcar partner to bring prepaid car insurance to Arizona

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

July 14, 2020
Auto insurance
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Just Auto Insurance and Smartcar are partnering to provide fair and affordable prepaid insurance to drivers in Arizona. Just uses the Smartcar API to improve customer convenience, lower underwriting costs, and reduce premium leakage.

Affordable prepaid insurance

Just Auto Insurance offers affordable prepaid liability car insurance via the Just mobile app. Like other usage-based insurance (UBI) companies, Just charges customers based on their mileage and driving habits. What’s unique about Just is their flexible prepaid business model and the continuous feedback loop to its customers; drivers add a minimum of $30 to their account to get insured and then top up whenever they need to. After each car trip, the trip’s cost gets deducted from the driver’s balance. Finally, customers can lower their per-mile rate every 30 days by improving their driving habits.

In addition to paying only for the miles they drive and getting a lower rate for driving safely, Just makes purchasing insurance fast and easy. Customers simply download the mobile app and sign up in less than a minute. Just doesn’t require drivers to provide detailed information like a credit score.

Seamless and accurate mileage verification

Smartcar’s mileage verification API allows Just to price risks more accurately, lower underwriting costs, and reduce premium leakage while maintaining the Just mobile app’s seamless user experience. Just customers can connect their vehicles and share their odometer reading with just three clicks from the Just mobile app. Just then retrieves the customer’s monthly mileage directly from the vehicle’s instrument cluster.

Just drivers need to connect their vehicle only once, benefitting from a seamless all-digital user experience. Smartcar’s technology allows Just to achieve the most accurate mileage measurement in the market, without the need for expensive aftermarket hardware or manual mileage reporting.

“Our partnership with Smartcar further emphasizes Just Auto Insurance’s thought leadership and technical superiority in the auto insurance market,” said Just Co-Founder, CTO, and COO Murray Macdonald. “Smartcar’s modern and well-documented SDKs and APIs were a perfect match for our customer-focused mobile app and best-in-class scoring engine. With this partnership, we continue to provide new and innovative ways to make auto insurance fairer and more affordable for everyone.”

The need for fair and affordable insurance

The Just and Smartcar partnership comes at a time when increasing costs and unfair practices call for a change in the auto insurance industry.

Personal auto insurance prices are skyrocketing. Premiums in the U.S. have increased by nearly 30% since 2011, with rates increasing as much as 86% in some states. Price is the primary reason why car owners switch insurance providers.

Besides increasing prices, auto insurance premiums can often seem unfair. In addition to basic factors like driving history and car model, many insurers take into account so-called non-driving factors such as a driver’s credit score, marital status, level of education, and occupation. Improving one’s credit score by one tier, for example, can cause an insurance premium to decrease by as much as 17%. Although a driver’s mileage correlates with the number of claims they file, mileage has little effect on insurance rates because it is difficult to verify.

Just co-founders Murray Macdonald and Robert Smithson noticed these unfair practices and set out to make auto insurance more accessible and affordable for everyone. Since then, Just has worked to save drivers money and to improve road safety. The company is particularly focused on insuring uninsured drivers from underserved and low-income communities, who are usually quoted higher premiums by insurance providers.

As Murray and Robert were looking for a way to easily and accurately verify their customers’ mileage, they discovered Smartcar’s technology.

“We’re glad that Just is seeing and solving these problems,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “A car owner’s insurance premium shouldn’t depend on non-driving factors like their credit score. Instead, they should be charged fairly based on their actual monthly mileage. Just is pioneering the affordable telematics-based insurance market, and it’s an honor for Smartcar to partake in this journey.”

Just Auto Insurance is available to vehicle owners in Arizona starting this week, with plans to expand to other U.S. states in the near future.

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The easiest way to verify a customer’s mileage for auto insurance

Charlotte Kosche

4 min read

July 9, 2020
Auto insurance
Live SiteStaging Site

A driver’s mileage is one of the most important but often overlooked aspects of auto insurance policy pricing. Although the number of miles a vehicle owner drives clearly correlates with the number of insurance claims they file, many insurers and underwriting teams are hesitant to make mileage a top rating factor because it is difficult to verify. In fact, auto insurers in the United States lose $5.4 billion every year due to underreported mileage.

Smartcar offers a simple and accurate process for insurers to verify their policyholders’ mileage by email. Our API technology allows insurance providers to replace error-prone self-reporting practices and expensive aftermarket hardware devices with an instant and effortless user experience.

How to verify a customer’s mileage by email

Smartcar’s mileage verification process is as simple as five steps. Here’s what it looks like for customers of an example insurance company called Sky Insurance:

1. Eligible customers receive an email

Our VIN-based compatibility API allows Sky Insurance to verify which customers’ vehicles are eligible for Smartcar’s mileage verification process. If a customer’s vehicle is eligible, Sky Insurance sends them an email inviting them to connect their car.

2. The customer logs into their insurance account

a. The customer clicks the “Connect your car” button in the email and gets sent to the Sky Insurance web portal. Here, the customer logs into their insurance account.

b. The customer clicks the “Connect your car” button to start sharing their mileage with Sky Insurance.

3. The customer connects their vehicle

A Smartcar-provided login flow allows the customer to connect their vehicle to Sky Insurance. First, the customer gets the chance to review Smartcar’s privacy and security commitment.

Next, the customer logs in with their vehicle’s connected services account.

Before agreeing to share their vehicle’s information, the customer reviews exactly which information Sky Insurance will have access to. In this case, Sky Insurance will be able to verify the car’s make, model, model year, location, odometer reading, and VIN.

4. Smartcar verifies the customer’s mileage

The customer has now connected their vehicle to Sky Insurance. In the background, Sky Insurance makes an API request to Smartcar, which remotely retrieves the odometer reading directly from the vehicle’s instrument cluster. The information takes a few seconds to load.

5. Done!

The customer’s exact odometer reading now appears at the bottom of their vehicle details page. Sky Insurance can schedule recurring requests to automatically verify the customer’s mileage once a month, once a year, or as often as needed.

Why you should verify mileage by email

There are several benefits to using Smartcar’s mileage verification process:

  • It’s important. As mentioned before, a driver’s mileage is an important risk factor. On average, insurers lose 2.6% on their policy income due to underreported mileage alone.
  • It’s easy. Smartcar offers the easiest way for insurers to verify their customers’ mileage. Insurers no longer need to spend time calling customers and asking them to self-report those details. Customers need to connect their cars only once. After that, they never need to worry about mileage reporting again.
  • It’s cost-effective. Insurance companies no longer need to buy messy, historical data sets. With Smartcar they can reduce data acquisition costs using an easily customizable, real-time solution.
  • It’s accurate. Smartcar’s mileage verification solution is the most accurate on the market, as our API retrieves the actual odometer reading directly from a vehicle’s instrument cluster.
  • It’s transparent. The provided onboarding flow brings transparency and peace of mind to the customer, who knows exactly which types of information their insurer will have access to and why.
  • It’s digital. Many telematics solutions involve expensive aftermarket hardware devices that require installation and stop working if they are accidentally or intentionally unplugged. Smartcar’s technology is completely hardware-free and reliable, saving insurers and customers time and cost.

This is how insurers can easily and accurately verify their customer’s mileage by email using the Smartcar API. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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Smartcar and EVPassport by Recharge partner to simplify EV charging

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

June 30, 2020
EV charging
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with EV charging startup Recharge to provide the first seamless, unlimited fast-charging experience across 2,500 DC fast chargers in the United States. Today, Recharge launches its mobile app EVPassport. In an EV charging industry that struggles with fragmentation and poor user experiences, EVPassport is the first EV charging app to encompass all major U.S. charging networks and to offer unlimited fast-charging for a monthly flat fee. Smartcar’s technology allows Recharge customers to view important information about their vehicles at any time in the EVPassport app.  

Recharge simplifies EV charging

Co-founders Aaron Fisher and Mohammad Mehrabani started Recharge out of frustration with a fragmented, hard-to-navigate EV charging landscape. Electric vehicle owners often struggle to find and use the nearest chargers, as different charging stations are operated by different networks. Each network requires customers to download and sign up for a different mobile app. Charging rates vary depending on the network and geographic region. Some networks even require customers to pre-load money or pay a membership fee before they can start charging their vehicles.

Recharge is the first EV charging company to solve these problems. Instead of dealing with different apps and fragmented pricing, electric vehicle owners can use the EVPassport app to find and charge at 2,500 different EV chargers in the United States. For a monthly flat fee, customers receive unlimited access to all compatible DC fast chargers across the Electrify America, EVgo, ChargePoint, and Greenlots networks.

Smartcar powers the Recharge experience

While developing their app, Recharge noticed the need to provide customers with helpful information, regardless of whether their vehicle was currently plugged into a compatible charger. Most EV drivers want to know how long it will take them to charge their vehicles before heading to a particular station. Thus, Recharge partnered with Smartcar to integrate not only with the EV charging networks but also with the electric vehicles themselves.

When signing up for EVPassport, EV owners will connect their vehicle within just a few clicks from the EVPassport app. Once a vehicle is connected, Recharge can easily retrieve its charging status and state of charge using the Smartcar API. When customers search for different charging stations in the EVPassport app, every charger displays a real-time estimate of the number of minutes it will take them to fully charge the vehicle.

“EVPassport by Recharge is the perfect example of what our customers have built using the Smartcar API,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “While EVPassport makes it easy for EV owners to use charging stations across different networks, Smartcar makes it easy for developers like Recharge to integrate with vehicles across brands. Our products really go hand in hand and our missions are perfectly aligned. My team is incredibly proud and happy to be partnering with Recharge.”

The EVPassport iPhone app is going to launch within the coming weeks. EV owners can sign up for the EVPassport waitlist and will be notified as soon as the app is available in the App Store. Later this year, Recharge will expand its services to Android users, additional charging networks, and further geographical markets in the European Union.

“We’re excited to partner with Smartcar to launch EVPassport because our priorities are very closely aligned,” stated Recharge Technologies Corporation CEO Aaron Fisher. “Making EV transportation easier is our main priority. By partnering with companies like Smartcar and bringing innovative features to our users, we can really move the industry forward.”

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3 ways to eliminate auto insurance fraud

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

June 25, 2020
Auto insurance
Live SiteStaging Site

Fraud is one of the largest contributors to premium leakage in the personal auto insurance industry. Insurers spend large amounts of time and money uncovering and preventing auto insurance fraud. Policyholders pay on average $200 to $300 more on their premiums every year to account for losses from undetected fraud. While most insurers focus their efforts on preventing fraud related to violations and accident claims, there are other forms of soft and hard insurance fraud that can easily be discovered and avoided, saving the overall industry $10.4 billion per year.

Soft and hard insurance fraud

Auto insurance fraud happens when a policyholder knowingly states erroneous information to their insurer in order to receive a certain benefit. For example, when a policyholder falsely reports their car as stolen, this counts as auto insurance fraud.

However, there are two different types of insurance fraud: soft fraud and hard fraud. Soft fraud is a lot more common and also harder to detect. Soft fraud occurs when a policyholder hasn’t planned on lying to their insurer, but they do so once the opportunity presents itself. An example of soft auto insurance fraud is when a policyholder got into an accident and then exaggerates the severity of their injuries in order to get a larger payment from their insurer.

Hard fraud occurs when a policyholder deliberately plans and executes the fraud. For example, staging a car accident in order to receive money from the insurer counts as hard insurance fraud.

When trying to detect and prevent soft and hard insurance fraud, most insurers focus on situations like the ones mentioned above: violations and claims. While violations and claims cause auto insurers $3.5 billion in premium leakage every year, there are three other forms of fraud that cause much larger losses and that insurers often don’t know how to solve.

Underreported mileage, misrepresented garaging, and incorrect VINs cause auto insurers $10.4 billion in losses each year, which amounts to 36% of all premium leakage. Luckily, insurance providers can easily eliminate all of these losses using the Smartcar API.

Eliminating insurance fraud with the Smartcar API

Smartcar helps insurers detect and prevent all losses associated with underreported mileage, misstated garaging locations, and faulty VIN reporting. We have developed the first car API that allows insurers to eliminate error-prone self-reporting to fight soft and hard auto insurance fraud.

🔩 How it works

Insurers can embed our Smartcar Connect flow into their web portal or mobile application. This flow takes care of collecting user consent, allowing policyholders to link their vehicles with just a few clicks directly from the insurer’s app.

At Smartcar we take vehicle owner privacy very seriously. That is why Smartcar Connect provides policyholders full transparency around the exact types of information they are about to share with their insurers. This thoughtful user privacy agreement allows insurance providers to build and maintain the trust of customers.

After a policyholder has connected their car to the insurer’s app, our API technology enables the insurance provider to retrieve real-time telemetry from the policyholder’s vehicle. This can range from an on-demand odometer check to automatic mileage, location, and VIN verification on a pre-configured schedule.

🚘 Mileage verification

Our odometer API allows insurers to verify their policyholders’ mileage either annually to calculate renewal premiums or monthly as part of a pay-per-mile policy. By adjusting premiums to accurate mileage information, our customers have been able to eliminate fraud from mileage underreporting, solving a $5.4 billion industry problem.

🏡 Garaging location verification

To eliminate garaging misrepresentation, insurers can use our location API and spot-check where a policyholder has parked their vehicle. Using Smartcar, insurers have been able to uncover misstated garaging locations and addresses that are no longer accurate, addressing a $2.9 billion annual problem.

🔢 VIN verification

Finally, to reduce the risk of fraud and errors at the point of sale, Smartcar’s VIN API allows insurance providers to automatically verify a policyholder’s vehicle identification number. Insurance companies that use Smartcar have been able to avoid $2.1 in losses every year, eliminating all soft and hard fraud that involves erroneous VIN reporting.

This is how insurance providers can easily address $10.4 billion in losses from soft and hard fraud related to mileage, garaging, and VINs. To learn more about Smartcar and our API solutions, please don’t hesitate to schedule a demo with our team.

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Smartcar and Paydrive partner to bring pay-per-mile insurance to EV owners in Sweden

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

June 23, 2020
Auto insurance
News
Customer story
Live SiteStaging Site

Smartcar is partnering with Paydrive to bring fair and affordable mileage-based insurance to electric vehicle owners in Sweden. Paydrive uses Smartcar’s mileage verification API to determine the number of miles driven by Tesla owners across the country.

Paydrive charges policyholders by the mile

Paydrive is the first insurance startup to offer pay-per-mile auto insurance in Sweden. Founder and CEO Andreas Broström started the company out of frustration with unfair auto insurance premiums that had little to do with a driver’s actual risk. When calculating insurance rates, traditional insurers focus mainly on so-called non-driving factors like a policyholder’s age, place of residence, and car model. A policyholder’s monthly mileage and driving behavior have little effect on their premium.

Since Paydrive was founded in 2016, the company has provided Sweden’s first and only usage-based auto insurance product, making insurance fairer, more affordable, and easier to understand. On top of a monthly base fee, Paydrive’s policyholders pay a small fee for each mile they drive. A car owner’s monthly premium thus varies depending on how much they actually use their vehicle.

“Paydrive’s mission aligns closely with ours,” said Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta. “Their approach to mileage-based insurance makes mobility more accessible and more equitable, and it even encourages environmentally-friendly driving behavior. We’re extremely proud to partner with Paydrive.”

Smartcar’s technology allows Paydrive to go hardware-free

Tesla owners all across Sweden can now join Paydrive’s new pay-per-mile program that doesn’t require any aftermarket hardware accessories. Thanks to Smartcar’s technology, Tesla owners can now share their vehicle’s odometer reading within just a few clicks from the Paydrive app. After obtaining user consent, Paydrive can retrieve a vehicle’s mileage directly from the instrument cluster using Smartcar’s mileage verification API.

In addition to verifying their customers’ odometer reading, Paydrive uses the Smartcar location API to periodically check each vehicle’s location. Depending on the types of roads that a policyholder most frequently drives on, Paydrive can adjust their pricing to reflect the corresponding accident risk.

“When we were looking for a user-friendly and cost-effective way to verify a policyholder’s mileage, Smartcar’s solution really stood out,” said Paydrive CEO Andreas Broström. “Having access to an API that directly integrates with each vehicle is a huge advantage for us. On top of that, Smartcar’s docs and SDKs made it easy for our engineers to implement.”

The new pay-per-mile program is available to all Tesla owners in Sweden starting today, with plans to expand the offering to additional vehicle brands in the future.

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Pricing auto insurance premiums more accurately with the Smartcar API

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

June 18, 2020
Auto insurance
Live SiteStaging Site

Inaccurately priced premiums cause personal auto insurance providers millions of dollars in losses every year. The tasks involved with correctly categorizing risk and accurately pricing insurance policies are complex. However, there are a few factors that contribute to inaccurate pricing for many insurers and that can easily be verified. The following blog post explores three of these factors and outlines how insurers can accurately verify them using the Smartcar API.

Verifying insurance pricing factors with Smartcar

1. A driver’s mileage

Although California is the only U.S. state in which a driver’s mileage is one of the most influential rating factors, mileage is a good indicator of the number of at-fault claims a driver will file. Insurers are reluctant to include mileage as a rating factor because it is difficult to verify. As a result, underreported mileage causes insurance providers to lose on average 2.6% per insurance policy.

Smartcar allows insurers to avoid these losses. Our API enables insurance applications to easily connect to their policyholders’ vehicles and to verify their monthly mileage:

  1. The policyholder connects their vehicle with a few clicks from the insurer’s web portal or mobile app. Before consenting to share their vehicle’s information, all policyholders review an exact list of what the insurer is requesting access to (e.g. read odometer, read location, and read VIN).
  2. The insurer’s application can now read the vehicle’s odometer with a simple API request

2. A vehicle’s garaging location

The location at which a vehicle owner’s car is regularly parked might not be one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about insurance rating factors. However, a different ZIP code can easily cause a driver’s insurance premium to decrease by 50% or more. As insurers rarely verify a vehicle’s actual garaging location, more than 10% of insurance policies end up having verifiable garaging defects. For example, policyholders might forget to update their garaging address after moving. Students often still list their parents’ home address instead of their college campus address. Some policyholders even lie about their garaging location to get a better rate. As a result, insurers lose an average of 1.4% in premium leakage per insurance policy.

To avoid this premium leakage and to prevent fraud, insurers can easily verify each policyholder’s garaging location:

  1. The policyholder connects their vehicle as shown above.
  2. The insurance application can now periodically verify the vehicle’s location and detect when the vehicle’s actual garaging location differs from the address that the vehicle owner provided on their policy:

3. A vehicle’s VIN

Similarly to mileage and garaging locations, incorrectly reported VINs cause insurers millions of dollars in annual losses. More than 5% of policyholders report an incorrect VIN to their insurer. Many insurers don’t verify the provided information. Hence, insurers lose on average 1% on each insurance policy.

Smartcar allows insurers to quickly and easily retrieve the actual VIN from a policyholder’s vehicle and compare it with the VIN they previously reported:

  1. The policyholder connects their vehicle as shown above.
  2. The insurance application can now verify the vehicle’s VIN:

The benefits of using Smartcar

By verifying their policyholders’ mileage, garaging locations, and VINs, insurers can avoid losing 5% on each and every insurance policy. But Smartcar also has additional benefits that other insurance telematics solutions might not provide:

  • Accurate: Smartcar allows insurance providers to connect with each specific vehicle and to read the request information directly from the instrument cluster.
  • Hardware-free: Unlike other telematics solutions, the Smartcar API doesn’t require any aftermarket hardware like OBD-II dongles. This makes our solution cost-efficient and easy to use.
  • Developer-friendly: Our extensive documentation and SDKs allow your engineering team to integrate Smartcar from start to finish in just a few weeks.
  • Simple user onboarding: Our Smartcar Connect flow allows vehicle owners to connect their cars to your app with just three clicks from their phone or laptop.
  • Privacy first: Before consenting to share their vehicle information, your customers have the chance to review exactly which information your application will be able to retrieve. Your customers will thank you for this transparency by developing trust in your organization and becoming loyal customers.

This is why verifying a policyholder’s mileage, garaging location, and VIN is crucial to achieving accurate pricing and how insurers can do so using the Smartcar API.

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Announcing the Smartcar Ruby SDK (beta)

Ashwin Kumar Subramanian

1 min read

June 16, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, we’re excited to launch the Smartcar Ruby SDK in beta. 💎

Smartcar enables web and mobile applications to communicate with cars across brands using a single API. Our brand-new Ruby SDK allows you to easily integrate Smartcar with any Ruby-based application. This gem comes with a number of useful features:

Support for Ruby 2.7.x & all API endpoints

User-friendly guides & examples

  • An extensive Getting Started Guide walks you through the steps of getting started with the Smartcar API
  • A sample application shows you how to use the Smartcar gem in a full-fledged Rails app
  • A Usage section lists code samples for making different API requests and launching Smartcar’s authorization flow

Convenient methods & access token management

  • Provides a method to instantly construct authorization URLs
  • Offers methods for all API endpoints and returns responses in easy-to-use plain old Ruby objects (POROs)
  • Allows you to quickly and easily retrieve and refresh access tokens
  • Documents custom errors for various cases to let you effortlessly debug your code

The Smartcar Ruby SDK is available in beta starting today. Receive beta access here and please let us know your feedback!

If you aren’t using Ruby, have a look at our Smartcar API SDKs for Go, Java, Node.js, and Python.

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Why a driver’s mileage is crucial for insurance policy pricing and underwriting

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

June 10, 2020
Auto insurance
Live SiteStaging Site

The goal of personal auto insurance pricing and underwriting is to define precise risk categories and use those categories to accurately calculate a policyholder’s premium. While pricing actuaries and underwriters take many rating factors into account, one important factor is often missing: a policyholder’s mileage. This blog post explores which role mileage plays as a rating factor today, why it should be given much higher importance, and how insurers can reliably take their policyholders’ mileage into account when calculating insurance rates.

Personal auto insurance rating factors

Pricing actuaries take into account various vehicle and driving factors when determining different auto insurance risk categories. These vehicle and driving factors include a car’s make, model, and age as well as the policyholder’s driving record. Depending on the state, insurers also take into account so-called non-driving factors, such as vehicle owner’s age, credit score, location, gender, marital status, level of education, occupation, and whether they are a renter or a homeowner.

Non-driving rating factors can have a large impact on a policyholder’s rate. For example, by improving their credit score by one tier, policyholders can reduce their insurance premium by as much as 17%.

Mileage as a rating factor

In most U.S. states except California, annual mileage has very little effect on the price of a policyholder’s premium. The state of California requires by law that insurers use mileage as their second auto insurance rating factor. In most other U.S. states, however, mileage doesn’t get as highly rated as a policyholder’s age, driving history, credit score, driving experience, location, gender, and insurance history. On a national average, policyholders who drive more than 15,000 miles per year pay only $92 more than policyholders who drive fewer than 7,500 miles per year—a small difference considering that their annual mileage is at least twice as high.

The reason why mileage doesn’t get rated higher except when required by state law is that it is difficult to verify. When asked to self-report their annual mileage, more than half of policyholders state an incorrect number, and a quarter of them understate their annual mileage by 6,000 miles or more. Mileage verification methods, such as uploading a photo of the car’s odometer reading or installing an aftermarket hardware device in the vehicle, are bothersome for policyholders and expensive for insurance providers to introduce and scale.

Although mileage is difficult to verify and thus rarely among the most influential rating factors, insurers should start recognizing its importance. There is a clear correlation between the number of miles a policyholder drives and the number of claims they file. When avoiding to take mileage into account just because it is hard to verify, insurers create more problems than they solve. In fact, insurance providers in the U.S. lose $5.4 billion every year just due to underreported mileage.

How to easily and accurately verify mileage

In order to utilize mileage as a more important rating factor, insurers need a way to easily and accurate verify how much their policyholders drive their vehicles. APIs like the Smartcar API help insurers do exactly that. Our technology has allowed insurers like CoverMe and Paydrive to instantly and accurately verify their policyholders’ mileage while staying cost-efficient and ensuring a simple user experience for policyholders.

Policyholders can connect their vehicle and agree to share their odometer reading with just three clicks from the insurer’s web portal or mobile app. The insurer can then automatically retrieve the exact odometer reading from the vehicle’s instrument cluster on a monthly or annual basis.

Smartcar’s all-digital experience makes mileage verification easy, instant, cost-efficient, and 100% accurate—without the need for any additional technology like aftermarket hardware. With a convenient and accurate way to verify their policyholders’ mileage, insurers are finally able to take mileage into account as a reliably rating factor, making their policy pricing and underwriting as accurate as never before.

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How auto insurers can improve customer retention by reducing premium leakage

Charlotte Kosche

5 min read

May 14, 2020
Auto insurance
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Customer retention is one of the most important success factors for each and every auto insurance company. It is also a significant pain point for the industry, as 22% of auto insurance customers churn every year and only 2-3% of new customers enter the market. This blog post explores why customer retention is such a difficult challenge for auto insurers and how those companies can improve their customer retention significantly by reducing premium leakage.

The problem of customer retention

The average customer retention rate among personal auto insurance providers in the U.S. amounts to 88%. While this number might seem high compared to other industries, customer retention actually is one of the most important and challenging success factors for auto insurers.

The reason for this is the fact that only 2-3% of new customers enter the personal auto insurance market each year. In order to stay ahead of the competition, insurers don’t only need to acquire customers that are new to the market and convince policyholders to switch over from a competitor’s policy, but most importantly, they need to keep their existing customers happy and engaged. Insurers that focus on business growth rather than retention might be successful at first but will struggle to survive in the long term.

In order to achieve and maintain high customer retention rates, insurers need to know which factors influence their customers’ satisfaction and loyalty. The most important factor is policy pricing. Among policyholders that are looking to switch insurance providers, 64% cite their policy’s price as the primary reason. Offering fair, accurate, and competitive pricing is thus the most important key to improving customer retention rates. Other important factors include a friendly, seamless user experience and a policyholder’s trust in their insurer’s organization.

The solution: reducing premium leakage

Insurers can improve all three of these factors—pricing, the user experience, and trust—by reducing premium leakage with the Smartcar API.

What is premium leakage?

Premium leakage occurs when erroneous underwriting information, such as underreported mileage and misstated garaging locations, leads to inaccurately priced insurance premiums. Premium leakage causes policyholders to pay on $400-700 more on their premiums every year. Personal auto insurers lose $29 billion annually due to the effects of premium leakage.

Apart from causing the industry huge losses, premium leakage is also the largest hurdle on the way to successful customer retention rates. First of all, pricing is the most important factor that determines an insurance company’s customer retention. By reducing premium leakage and achieving more accurate pricing, insurers can improve their customer retention rates significantly. Second of all, reducing premium leakage is about collecting more extensive and accurate underwriting information. If insurers collect this information in a simple and transparent way, they can engage their policyholders and build their trust, which leads to even better customer retention.

Reducing premium leakage with the Smartcar API

Smartcar helps insurers eliminate three of the most common types of premium leakage: underreported mileage, garaging misrepresentation, and invalid VINs.

Underreported mileage occurs when policyholders underestimate or lie about their annual mileage to their insurance provider. Over 50% of drivers underreport their mileage every year, causing insurers $5.4 billion in annual losses.

Garaging misrepresentation occurs when a policyholder reports an incorrect garaging location to their insurer. Over 10% of insurance policies have incorrect garaging locations on file. As policy prices vary between different regions and ZIP codes, policyholders can achieve a 35% cheaper rate just by stating the wrong address. Insurers lose $2.9 billion due to garaging misrepresentation every year.

Invalid VINs are the third type of premium leakage that Smartcar helps insurers eliminate. More than 5% of personal auto insurance policies have an invalid VIN on file, causing insurers to lose $2.1 billion every year. An incorrect VIN can lead to inaccurate underwriting and pricing, or even worse, it can hide that the fact that the vehicle has been reported stolen or is too old to be insured.

Smartcar’s hardware-free API technology allows insurers to instantly and easily eliminate premium leakage from all three of these factors. Policyholders link their vehicle to the insurer’s app with just three clicks from a Smartcar-provided onboarding flow. The insurer then uses Smartcar’s API to automatically retrieve the odometer reading, location, and VIN directly from the vehicle’s instrument cluster.

Improving customer retention

Accurate policy pricing

With their policyholders’ accurate mileage, garaging location, and VIN at hand, insurers can achieve the most accurate and competitive pricing, thus improving their customer retention rates significantly while also preventing millions of dollars in losses every year. But pricing is not the only way in which Smartcar helps insurers boost their customers satisfaction and loyalty.

Friendly user experience

Smartcar’s hardware-free solution is easy to use not only for insurers but for their policyholders, too. The only time that a policyholder needs to interact with Smartcar is when linking their car to the insurer’s app. Our user-friendly Smartcar Connect flow makes this step as fast and easy as possible. After onboarding their vehicle, policyholders never need to report their mileage, garaging location, or VIN to their insurer again. Instead, the insurer conveniently retrieves this information directly from the policyholder’s vehicle. This simple user experience helps insurance providers engage with policyholders in a friendly and efficient way, thus keeping customers happy and increasing retention.

Building trust

Finally, Smartcar’s technology helps insurers achieve even higher customer retention rates by building and maintaining their policyholders’ trust. At Smartcar, we put transparency and vehicle owner privacy first. When linking their car to the insurer’s app through Smartcar Connect, vehicle owners review and consent to the exact list of information (e.g. odometer, location, VIN) that the insurer’s app is requesting access to. This user consent model allows policyholders to keep ownership of their own vehicle information. It encourages them to trust their insurer and become loyal customers.

Customer retention is an important and challenging topic for personal auto insurance providers, but with the right tools in place, insurers can set themselves up for long-term success. Premium leakage contributes significantly to low customer retention rates. Using Smartcar’s API, insurance companies can effectively fight premium leakage, improve customer retention rates, and while doing so, save millions of dollars every year.

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Why auto insurance providers should verify their policyholders' VINs

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

May 7, 2020
Auto insurance
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Vehicle identification numbers (VINs) play an essential but often overlooked role in auto insurance policies. While policyholders are required to provide their vehicle’s VIN when purchasing a new policy, many insurers don’t verify the provided information. As a result, more than 5% of auto insurance policies have an invalid VIN on file.

In this blog post, we’ll explore which role VINs play in auto insurance policies, what happens if a policyholder’s VIN is invalid, and how insurers can easily verify a vehicle’s VIN to address a $2 billion annual problem.

The role of VINs in auto insurance policies

There are a number of reasons why knowing and verifying a policyholder’s VIN is important for insurance providers:

  1. Pricing policies: Knowing a vehicle’s VIN allows insurers to check whether the make, model, and other information that a policyholder provided are correct, and to adjust their monthly premium accordingly.
  2. Detecting staged vehicle titles: In addition to achieving more accurate pricing, verifying a policyholder’s VIN can uncover issues in the vehicle’s history, for example, if it has been reported stolen or has a branded title.
  3. Following regulatory compliance: Some U.S. states require insurers to report all their policy numbers and VINs in an effort to detect uninsured vehicles.

The impact of invalid VINs

When asking a policyholder for their vehicle’s VIN, some insurers don’t verify the reported information. As long alphanumeric strings are prone to manual typing errors, around 5% of all auto insurance policies end up having invalid VINs associated with them. While this seems like a small percentage, the impact that invalid VINs can cause for insurers and their customers is quite severe.

An insurer who doesn’t verify their policyholders’ VINs is unable to double-check important information, resulting in inaccurate rates. The insurer might also report an incorrect VIN to the state, which can cause the policyholder problems regarding proof of insurance. Further problems can occur when the policyholder files a claim and the invalid VIN gets uncovered during that process.

All in all, incorrect VIN reporting leaves auto insurers with unnecessary work and unhappy customers. In fact, the American auto insurance industry loses around $2.1 billion dollars per year just due to incorrect VIN reporting.

How to verify a policyholder’s VIN

There are many ways to verify a policyholder’s VIN and prevent incorrect reporting. Different options range from hardware devices like OBD-II dongles, which policyholders need to install in their vehicles and which allow insurers to read a range of other information apart from the vehicle’s VIN, to VIN decoders, which reveal whether or not the policyholder has provided a valid VIN as well as which make, model, and trim is associated with the provided VIN.

Smartcar provides a solution that doesn’t require hardware like many other telematics solutions, and that still allows insurers to retrieve the VIN directly from each policyholder’s vehicle. Here’s what you need to know about verifying VINs with the Smartcar API:

When a policyholder purchases a new policy, the insurer can propose them to link their car to the insurance app using Smartcar. The policyholder links their car with three clicks and reviews exactly which information the insurance application requests access to. Once the policyholder gives their consent, the insurer can retrieve important information such as the vehicle’s VIN, mileage, location, and fuel tank level directly from the vehicle.

The insurance provider now detects incorrectly provided VINs by verifying each policyholder’s vehicle information. If an incorrect VIN is discovered, the insurer can easily replace erroneous information with the vehicle’s actual data. They can then notify their underwriting department to adjust the policy rate, use VIN decoders to check the vehicle’s title history, and update their report to state regulators if necessary.

All in all, invalid VINs are a severe problem that insurance providers often forget about. Using Smartcar’s VIN API, insurers can address a $2 billion annual problem with a single hardware-free solution while improving internal efficiency, compliance, and customer satisfaction.

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How auto insurance companies can avoid garaging misrepresentation

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

April 29, 2020
Auto insurance
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A policyholder’s garaging location might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about personal auto insurance pricing and underwriting. However, American insurance providers lose $2.9 billion every year due to garaging misrepresentation. In this blog post, we’ll explore what garaging misrepresentation is and how insurers can prevent it.

What is garaging misrepresentation?

Garaging misrepresentation happens when a policyholder misstates their vehicle’s garaging address on their policy. The garaging address is the location where a policyholder’s car is usually parked at night.

There reasons why a policyholder would misstate their garaging address range from unintentional mistakes to intentional garaging fraud. For example, policyholders might forget to update their garaging address after moving. Students might state their parents’ home address instead of their college dorm address. Some policyholders state a wrong address in order to get charged a lower rate. In a few cases, insurance agents even encourage policyholders to do so.

Garaging misrepresentation happens more frequently than most of us think. More than 10% of personal auto insurance policies have verifiable garaging address defects, and 4% even have a misstated ZIP code.

The impact of garaging misrepresentation

The price of an insurance premium heavily depends on the policyholder’s garaging address. Depending on the county, ZIP code, and factors like the area’s crime rate, insurers evaluate whether the car is garaged in a high- or low-risk area and adjust the policyholder’s premium accordingly.

When the stated garaging address is incorrect, this can result in a highly incorrect insurance premium price. For example, a policyholder who lives in Chicago but reports a garaging address in Gary, Indiana can end up paying 35% less for their insurance premium. Overall, insurers in the U.S. lose $2.9 billion due to garaging misrepresentation every year.

How to avoid garaging misrepresentation

Luckily, garaging misrepresentation can easily be avoided. Car APIs like Smartcar allow insurers to effortlessly verify their policyholders’ garaging locations to address a $2.9 billion problem while respecting vehicle owner privacy and improving customer retention.

📱 Building apps for cars: A beginner's guide to car APIs

What does a car API look like in action? Why should you connect to cars with an API instead of OBD dongles or smartphone telematics?

More importantly, is a car API platform the right choice for you?

👉 Learn from real examples of apps built with car APIs

The Smartcar API allows policyholders to link their vehicle to their insurer’s application and to share specific vehicle telemetry with the insurer. Our Smartcar Connect flow makes this as easy as three clicks from any mobile or web app. Policyholders can review and consent to a list of specific permissions (e.g. read odometer, read location) that explains how the insurer will use this information.

Once the policyholder’s car is linked, the insurance provider can use Smartcar webhooks to automatically verify the vehicle’s location every few days or weeks during nighttime hours. Smartcar’s technology integrates directly with each vehicle’s cellular modem and retrieves the vehicle’s actual location without needing access to the policyholder’s phone or any other third-party devices. This makes Smartcar’s solution instant, accurate, and easy to use, and privacy-focused.

Insurers that use Smartcar to verify their policyholders’ garaging locations have been able to uncover accidental misreporting, reduce garaging fraud, and calculate rates more accurately. They have also been able to improve their customer retention thanks to our transparent and user-friendly onboarding process.

Garaging misrepresentation is difficult to detect, which makes it especially difficult to prevent for personal auto insurers. Smartcar’s simple, instant, and user-friendly garaging location verification solution helps insurers solve this $2.9 billion annual problem easily and efficiently.

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How auto insurers can offer telematics-driven premium refunds during COVID-19

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

April 20, 2020
Auto insurance
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Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Smartcar’s mileage verification API allows auto insurance providers to calculate premiums more accurately and assist policyholders with fairer refunds.

COVID-19 challenges

Auto insurance companies and their policyholders are facing unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. Many states have ordered residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities. People across the country are driving 35% to 50% less than they used to, resulting in fewer accidents and fewer insurance claims. On top of that, more than 16 million people have filed for unemployment since mid-March. Many of them struggle to pay their bills on time.

To address these challenges, numerous insurers have announced refunds or credits towards their March, April, and/or May premiums. While these discounts provide necessary temporary relief for many vehicle owners, they are not a fair or sustainable long-term approach to the COVID-19 crisis.

By offering the same discount to all customers, insurers overcharge policyholders who are barely driving, while undercharging those who continue to drive as much as before. As the COVID-19 crisis will likely last longer than just a few more weeks, insurers need to quickly find a way to assist customers in need while accurately assessing risk.

Fairer premiums with verified mileage

Smartcar’s mileage verification API allows insurance providers to charge customers based on their verified mileage during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Smartcar Connect lets policyholders consent to sharing specific vehicle telemetry with an insurer’s web or mobile app. The insurer can then automatically verify the vehicle’s odometer reading using Smartcar’s automated scheduling system. Our technology communicates directly with the cellular modem that is already built into most new cars. This allows insurers to rapidly implement our product, instantly onboard policyholders, and cost-efficiently deploy the solution at scale.

When verifying each vehicle’s mileage, insurance providers are able to charge their customers more fairly and more accurately during the COVID-19 pandemic. Insurers can choose to implement a pay-per-mile approach or to offer simple monthly refunds when a policyholder doesn’t exhaust their premium’s estimated mileage.

Customer trust and long-term savings

By offering more affordable prices to policyholders who drive less, insurers are able to retain a grateful and loyal customer base, all while attracting new customers during this challenging time. Finally, Smartcar allows insurers to invest in a sustainable solution to price premiums more accurately even after COVID-19. Underreported mileage causes American auto insurers $5.4 billion in losses every year. Our mileage verification API enables insurers to accurately assess each policyholder’s risk and maximize their profits in the long-run.

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Why auto insurers shouldn’t rely on self-reported mileage

Charlotte Kosche

6 min read

April 16, 2020
Auto insurance
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Mileage is one of the most important topics for personal auto insurance providers. The more miles a policyholder drives, the higher the risk of them having an accident. While laws differ between states, insurers in California are legally required to use estimated mileage as their second mandatory rating factor when calculating rates.

Even though mileage plays a big role in each and every personal auto insurance policy, insurers are collecting and using mileage in a number of ways. Many insurers allow policyholders to self-report their estimated or actual mileage, but both are often inaccurate. Some insurers exclude mileage from their rating factors altogether, resulting in even less precise underwriting and high risk for the insurer. As a result, underreported mileage causes personal auto insurers in the United States $5.4 billion dollars in losses every year, making the problem of mileage self-reporting too costly to ignore.

In this blog post, we’ll explore why insurance providers shouldn’t rely on mileage self-reporting and which alternatives they can use to verify their policyholders’ mileage to address a $5.4 billion annual problem.

The issue with self-reported mileage

What is self-reported mileage?

In order to classify customers into different rating categories, many insurers ask their policyholders to self-report their annual mileage. Policyholders are asked either to estimate how many miles they will drive in the next 12 months or to report how much they drove in the past 12 months. The policyholder’s insurance premium or renewal premium will then be calculated and/or adjusted based on the reported number.

Estimated mileage

Insurers might ask policyholders to self-report their estimated mileage in different ways. For example, insurance agents might call policyholders and ask them how much they anticipate driving within the next 12 months. Others might send policyholders a form to fill out and mail back to them, or they might offer online services that allow policyholders to submit this information via email or through a web portal.

Actual mileage

Instead of, or in addition to, estimated mileage, some insurers ask their policyholders to self-report how many miles they drove in the past 12 months. The most common ways to collect this information are the examples mentioned above, as well as the option for policyholders to take a photo of their car’s dashboard and send it to the insurer.

Why is self-reported mileage problematic?

No matter whether insurers ask policyholders for their estimated or their actual mileage, all mileage self-reporting causes major disadvantages for insurers and policyholders alike.

Inaccurate data

First and foremost, self-reported mileage is often inaccurate and causes insurers to incorrectly price and underwrite their policies. Over half of policyholders underreport their mileage to insurance providers every year. A quarter of drivers understate their annual mileage by 6,000 miles or more, and 16% even think that it is acceptable to lie to their insurer about how many miles they drove. These inaccuracies lead to errors in pricing and underwriting, which we’ll discuss in the section below.

High cost

Apart from yielding inaccurate results, collecting self-reported mileage information is expensive for insurers. For example, when agents call policyholders to collect mileage estimates over the phone, they need to repeat this process for each policyholder every year. This makes mileage self-reporting extremely labor and cost-intensive, especially considering that some policyholders don’t pick up or don’t have an estimate at hand on the first phone call.

Poor user experience

While collecting self-reported mileage is a lengthy and costly process for insurers, it also creates a suboptimal user experience for policyholders. No matter how fast and easy insurers try to make this process, mileage self-reporting still causes an inconvenience to each and every policyholder. Let’s be honest —nobody wants to spend time keeping logbooks, calculating how much they drive, or taking photos of their dashboard. It is understandable that so many policyholders end up reporting incorrect numbers.

How does self-reported mileage impact pricing, underwriting, and customer retention?

Unfortunately, the problems and disadvantages mentioned above go beyond inaccurate data, costly processes, and unhappy customers. Self-reported mileage also negatively affects an insurance provider’s pricing, underwriting, and customer retention.

Imprecise pricing

As self-reported mileage is notably inaccurate, insurers have no choice but to establish broad risk categories that leave room for errors. The problem is that mileage is in fact an important risk factor. For example, policyholders that drive under 3,000 miles per year file 44% fewer claims than the average. Policyholders that drive over 20,000 miles file 28% more claims than the average. With a risk factor this important, choosing too broad risk categories leads to highly imprecise pricing structures.

Incorrect underwriting

While self-reported mileage makes actuaries unable to define adequate risk categories, it also makes underwriters unable to correctly evaluate each policyholder’s risk. These overlooked underwriting practices result in wrongly calculated rates and $5.4 billion in premium leakage losses for American insurers every year.

Low customer retention

Ultimately, an insurer’s erroneous pricing and underwriting causes customers to be unsatisfied and eventually switch to another insurance provider. Underreported mileage, combined with other types of premium leakage, causes policyholders to pay on average $400-700 more per year for their auto insurance premium. Among drivers that are shopping for a new insurance policy, 64% cite price as their primary reason for switching to another insurance provider.

Alternatives to mileage self-reporting

Clearly, insurers need to find a way to replace mileage self-reporting and gain back the $5.4 billion in premium leakage they lose each year. Luckily, there are ways for insurers to instantly and easily verify their policyholders’ mileage without compromising accuracy, cost-efficiency, or a good user experience.

OBD-II dongles

Some insurers encourage policyholders to install aftermarket hardware devices like on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) dongles in their vehicles. Those devices allow the insurer to track miles driven as well as other information, for example, the vehicle’s location. This solution is most common among insurers that offer pay-per-mile insurance policies, which charge policyholders by the mile.

Smartphone telemetry

Instead of using a third-party device, other insurance providers allow policyholders to opt into tracking their mileage, location, and driving behavior via their own smartphone. This solution is especially popular for usage-based insurance (UBI) programs, which charge policyholders based on how they drive and how much they drive.

Unfortunately, smartphones are often inaccurate when it comes to tracking mileage. For example, smartphones erroneously detect trips when the policyholder is riding in someone else’s car. They also fail to record any data in areas with poor cellular coverage.

Third-party data sets

Among insurers that offer neither pay-per-mile nor UBI programs, the most common way to verify a policyholder’s mileage is by purchasing third-party data sets that contain vehicle history information such as mileage, ownership record, and accidents.

The problem with third-party data sets is that they aren’t always accurate and updated with real-time information. While they can be useful to verify other information, they might not be the best way to verify mileage.

Car APIs

API platforms like the Smartcar API are becoming more and more popular among insurers that offer traditional insurance programs, pay-per-mile programs, or UBI programs. The Smartcar API allows policyholders to link their vehicle to an insurer’s mobile or web application. The policyholder agrees to share specific vehicle telemetry, such as their mileage, location, and VIN. The insurer then retrieves this information as often as needed using simple API requests.

The advantage of using API technology for mileage verification is that it is instant and accurate. Smartcar’s technology integrates directly with each vehicle’s cellular modem to retrieve its mileage directly from the instrument cluster. There is no need for third-party devices or data purchases. This makes car APIs like Smartcar cost-effective as well as easy to use and maintain for policyholders and insurers.

Finally, Smartcar allows policyholders to quickly and easily opt in to sharing their vehicle’s information with the insurer. Policyholders can link their vehicle with just three clicks. They have transparency around exactly which types of data they are sharing and why. This allows insurers to offer a smooth customer experience, all while respecting their policyholders’ privacy and trust.

All in all, a mileage verification solution can get costly and hard to implement without the proper systems in place. Smartcar’s API technology instantly and accurately informs an insurer’s pricing and underwriting processes, increases customer retention, and addresses the $5.4 billion annual premium leakage problem that insurance providers face every year.

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How auto insurers can eliminate premium leakage

Charlotte Kosche

5 min read

April 6, 2020
Auto insurance
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Premium leakage is one of the personal auto insurance market’s most pressing problems. Insurers lost $29 billion due to premium leakage in 2016 — an 82% increase compared to 2008.

Smartcar helps alleviate premium leakage by letting policyholders share accurate vehicle telemetry with their insurers. Here’s why premium leakage poses a big challenge for most auto insurance providers and how Smartcar’s solution works.

What is premium leakage?

Premium leakage occurs whenever erroneous underwriting information leads to poorly assessed risk and inaccurately priced insurance premiums. Premium leakage can be caused intentionally as well as unintentionally. Common reasons include soft fraud and hard fraud on the part of the policyholder or the insurance agent, accidental misreporting, and inaccurately collected information on the part of the insurer.

No matter whether the losses are caused intentionally or unintentionally, premium leakage occurs in many different areas of auto insurance. These areas range from regular drivers who aren’t included on a vehicle’s policy to misstated claims and vehicle title defects. Three of the most common types of premium leakage are underreported mileage, misrepresented garaging locations, and invalid VINs. Together, they account for 36% of all premium leakage. Let’s have a closer look at these topics and their impact for personal auto insurers.

Mileage underreporting

More than half of drivers underreport their mileage to insurance providers every year, according to a study by the California Department of Insurance. A quarter of drivers understate their annual mileage by 6,000 miles or more. Inaccurate mileage reporting leads to underwriting without a full picture, unnecessarily high risk, and poorly priced premiums. Most importantly, it costs the personal auto insurance industry $5.4 billion in premium leakage every year.

Garaging misrepresentation

Garaging misrepresentation is a less known but similar problem, causing the industry $2.9 billion in annual losses. More than 10% of personal auto insurance policies have verifiable garaging address defects. Those misrepresentations range from policyholders forgetting to update their address after moving to customers lying about their garaging location for a lower rate.

Invalid VINs

Mileage and garaging aren’t the only factors that contribute to premium leakage. Roughly 5% of policyholders report an invalid VIN to their insurer, as the long alphanumeric string is prone to manual typing errors. Insurers don’t always verify their policyholders’ VINs. They lose $2 billion in annual premium income as a result.

How does premium leakage affect the insurance industry?

As previously mentioned, premium leakage costs personal auto insurers billions of dollars every year. But short-term monetary losses aren't the only burden that premium leakage places on insurance providers. In fact, the long-term effects of premium leakage are even more severe.

Short-term and long-term monetary losses

While premium leakage costs amounted to $29 billion in 2016, annual losses are likely increasing by 7.8% every single year. In order to avoid devastating effects in the future, auto insurers need to act quickly and find ways to fight premium leakage today.

Underwriting, pricing, and policy renewals

Beside causing monetary losses, premium leakage causes suboptimal underwriting and inaccurately priced premiums. In the long term, these errors lead to miscalculated policy renewals and unnecessarily high risk for the insurer.

Customer retention

Premium leakage is a large contributor to customer churn. Oftentimes, policyholders have to pay an additional $400 to $700 per year to account for premium leakage. Among policyholders that are looking to switch insurance providers, 64% cite the price of their premium as the primary reason.

Data costs and future strategy

Finally, some insurers choose ineffective solutions in the fight against premium leakage. A common approach is the purchase of third-party data sets to verify a vehicle’s VIN, mileage, and other information. Unfortunately, those data sets come at a high cost and are often inaccurate. Beside cost and inaccuracy, purchasing third-party data isn’t a scalable, future-proof strategy. As cars are becoming increasingly connected, customer demands and industry regulations are shifting away from aggregate data marketplaces towards higher consumer privacy standards.

How to eliminate premium leakage

Given the extent and impact of premium leakage on personal auto insurers, the industry is in dire need of an instant, effective, and affordable solution. This is where Smartcar can help. Several insurance providers across the country are already using our recently launched premium leakage solution, which allows insurers to eliminate all premium leakage caused by underreported mileage, garaging misrepresentation, and invalid VINs.

Smartcar’s premium leakage solution

Smartcar is the first and only car API for auto insurance providers. Our technology allows vehicle owners to quickly and easily share accurate telemetry with their insurance providers. By seamlessly verifying their policyholders’ mileage, garaging location, and VIN, insurance providers are able to effectively reduce premium leakage.

How it works

First, insurance providers embed the Smartcar Connect authorization flow into their website or mobile application. Smartcar Connect permits insurers to collect user consent. Policyholders can link their car to the insurer’s app with just three clicks. They select their vehicle brand, log in with their connected services account, and review a detailed list of the types of information they will share with the insurer (e.g. read odometer, read location, and read VIN).

After the policyholder has granted access, the insurance provider is able to verify a vehicle’s mileage, location, and VIN. Instead of having to manually request this information every time, insurers can set up webhooks that will automatically send one or more types of data to the insurer at scheduled time intervals.

Smartcar’s technology works on most new vehicles (2015+) across 17 car brands in the United States. Our API integrates directly with the cellular modem that is already built into cars, allowing insurers to retrieve accurate data directly from a vehicle’s instrument cluster. This eliminates the need for third-party solutions like aftermarket hardware devices or smartphone telematics technology. It makes Smartcar’s solution cost-efficient and tamper-proof.

How much do insurers save using Smartcar?

With Smartcar, insurance providers are able to eliminate premium leakage from underreported mileage, garaging misrepresentation, and invalid VINs. Our customers have been able to save $15 million per 1 million policies in the first year alone.

Today, our technology is compatible with 40 million vehicles on the road in the United States. As more and more cars feature cellular connectivity, this number is going to reach 116 million by 2025. Annual savings with the Smartcar API are thus quickly increasing over time. If you would like to know exactly how much your business can save using Smartcar, head to the “Your savings with Smartcar” section on our insurance use case page.

This is how Smartcar allows insurers to effectively eliminate the growing problem of premium leakage. Using our API, insurers have not only been able to reduce premium leakage to instantly save millions of dollars. They have also invested in even higher long-term savings, increased customer retention, and a scalable connected car strategy to be successful in the future auto insurance market.

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The Insurance Podcast: Smartcar's role in a new era of consumer privacy

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

April 2, 2020
Auto insurance
News
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Last week, Smartcar CEO Sahas Katta was featured on The Insurance Podcast, the world's leading podcast in the P&C insurance sector hosted by Pete Tessier. In the episode, Pete and his co-host Curt Wyatt talk with Sahas about how auto insurers use the Smartcar API and how our product helps change the industry's conversation around consumer privacy and user consent.

The podcast is available on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts. Below, we have summarized the highlights for you.

"Smartcar is an API for vehicles"

Pete: Let's talk about Smartcar('s) technology and what exactly it is. Is it an evolution of telematics? Is it an interactive vehicle sharing application? Or is it data management for someone who wants to run a fleet? It does a lot of things. How do you describe it?

Sahas: Smartcar is an API for vehicles. (…) Our technology makes it possible for all the different businesses you mention from fleet management to car rental companies or even auto insurers—which is why we're here on this podcast today—to build applications that can integrate with cars very easily.

Collecting user consent with Smartcar Connect

Pete: When I'm looking at this kind of technology, then I'm trying to understand: (...) Are (vehicle owners) giving up data back to the insurance company that the insurance company is going to use, and are they actually aware of it? It seems to me there's always the option of the telematics issue that comes into play where we have driver behavior and other things that are happening in this that the consumer sort of doesn't really understand.

Sahas: Great question. This is actually something that was really core and fundamental to the founding principles at Smartcar. We don't store any customer data. So, whether it's a car's location or odometer reading, we don't have a database of that. We don't sell that. We don't have anything to sell. Rather, what we've done at Smartcar is, on one side, make it real easy for these insurance companies to integrate with a large number of car brands with a technology like Smartcar.

The second piece really touches on the question you just asked, which is user consent. We've created a product called Smartcar Connect that each insurance company needs to place within their own application. It's a three-click flow that the end-customer needs to go through to link their vehicle to their insurance company's application and grant it permissions to the capabilities that their car has to offer—whether it's being able to share their odometer reading or the location of the car with their insurer.

The insurer can't just pick a customer's VIN or name and pull information out of that vehicle, but rather the user has to explicitly go through a consent flow and accept a set of permissions just like you do when you install an app on your phone. You have to give it access to that location permission or the contact book or the camera roll. You have to hit “Allow,” and it's no different with Smartcar.

Smartcar Connect allows vehicle owners to review a list of specific permissions before linking their car to the insurer's app.

"Let's put control back in the customer's hand"

Pete: So when you were talking a little bit about privacy, (...) one of the big differences in particular when you look at federal and state laws and then also between countries is (that) privacy is a totally different world for (Canada) and the EU compared to the United States. Do you think you're being more of a thought leader and progressive when it comes to addressing privacy concerns? Because data sharing and data availability is a huge thing for businesses, particularly multinationals, which insurance companies usually are. This is a bit of a departure from things we see in the industry, is it not?

Sahas: Absolutely. I think the way that the world is moving is around user consent, transparency, and the ability for users to actually opt-in voluntarily. We actually feel that the auto industry and insurance industry (were) on the wrong path. There (were) these notions of data aggregators and monetizing data and selling customer information. These things were tucked away under some massive terms of service or privacy policies you sign when you buy a car without realizing it. That is not the right way for the future.

The way things are now moving is that users need to get a pop-up and in that pop-up, they go through a consent flow and they agree to (...) a permission that's presented to them on-demand when that exchange actually needs to occur. (...) Every Android device and every iOS device has been using this model since their inception, and it's been missing from the automotive industry. And we're bringing that paradigm back and saying: (...) Let's put control back in the customer's hand.

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Introducing Smartcar Connect 2.2

Jia Guo

2 min read

March 19, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, we're proud to launch a number of exciting updates to our Smartcar Connect authorization flow. Version 2.2 of Smartcar Connect features an informative progress bar, simpler navigation, and detailed account setup instructions for vehicle owners.

Developers can embed Smartcar Connect into their web portal or mobile app to let car owners opt into sharing specific vehicle telemetry. Car owners select their vehicle brand, log in with their connect services account, and review and accept a detailed list of exactly which information they will be sharing.

Smartcar Connect 2.2 makes it even easier for car owners to link their vehicle to an app:

1. Informative progress bar

When logging in with their connected services account, vehicle owners now see an informative progress bar. This new feature allows car owners to understand what happens while the page is loading and how far along they are in the process.

2. Simpler navigation

Vehicle owners are now able to navigate through Smartcar Connect more effortlessly, regardless the type of device they are using. If a car owner accidentally clicks on the wrong vehicle brand, our new "back" button allows them to easily return to the brand selector screen.

3. Detailed account setup instructions

Vehicle owners that don't yet have a connected services account can now view detailed instructions on how to set up an account for their respective car brand.

All of these changes make Smartcar Connect 2.2 even friendlier and easier to use for vehicle owners. As always, developers don't need to take any action to update their application with this new version of Smartcar Connect. Changes will automatically appear as vehicle owners launch Smartcar Connect on their device.

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Smartcar launches auto insurance solution to address $10 billion in premium leakage

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

March 11, 2020
Auto insurance
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, Smartcar is launching its car API for auto insurance providers. The API allows insurers to retrieve telemetry from most new vehicles across the United States. Insurance providers are able to address $10 billion in premium leakage by seamlessly verifying their customers mileage, garaging location, and VIN.

The concern about premium leakage

Premium leakage is omitted or misstated information that leads to inaccurate insurance policy pricing. In the United States, personal auto insurers lose $29 billion due to premium leakage every year. Underestimated mileage, misrepresented garaging locations, and incorrectly reported VINs account for over a third of these losses, amounting to $10.4 billion.

Underestimated mileage, misrepresented garaging locations, and incorrectly reported VINs account for over a third of all premium leakage losses.

Until now, insurance providers had no efficient way to combat premium leakage. Existing telematics solutions are often expensive, unreliable, and inaccurate, making it difficult for customers to share their vehicle information with insurers.

The car API for auto insurers

Using the Smartcar API, insurance providers can now instantly, accurately, and cost-effectively retrieve telemetry from their customers’ vehicles. Our technology takes advantage of the cellular modem that is already built into most new cars (2015 and later). Smartcar is compatible with 15 vehicle brands in the United States today and continues to expand.

Using the Smartcar API, insurance providers can now instantly, accurately, and cost-effectively retrieve telemetry from their customers’ vehicles.

How it works

Insurers can embed Smartcar Connect into their web portal or mobile app and collect user consent with just a few clicks. As Smartcar Connect provides transparency around exactly which information will be shared, insurers are able to build and maintain the trust of their customers.

Insurers can embed Smartcar Connect into their web portal or mobile app and collect user consent with just a few clicks.

After obtaining permission, Smartcar webhooks automatically send telemetry from the customer’s vehicle to the insurer’s organization. By verifying their customers’ mileage, garaging location, and VIN, insurers are able to address $10.4 billion in annual losses. They also increase customer retention through a simplified user experience and no more manual self-reporting.

The car API for auto insurers is available to all insurance providers in the United States starting today. We will announce some of our current customers soon.

To request a product demo or to learn more about our features and pricing, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Smartcar team.

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How to land a job you don’t have experience in

Mathilde Patmon

4 min read

February 27, 2020
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

Whether you just graduated college or are trying to make a change later in your career, getting that initial foot in the door for a particular job is always the hardest part.

As with all things, the key to a successful job search is to set yourself apart from other candidates and to showcase your unique skill set. Most of the time, simply applying for a role online and waiting to hear back from the company isn’t enough. In a previous blog post, I described how you can research the hiring manager of a role and stand out by emailing them in addition to applying online. Today, we’ll go one step further. We’ll look at how you can reach out and show your motivation for a role even if you don’t (yet) have all the required experience.

Send an email before applying online

Before applying online, find the hiring manager or recruiter that’s responsible for the role. Send them an email that explains your motivation for the job and the skill set you bring to the table. Don’t forget to attach your resume.

By showing that you’re really excited about the company and that you bring important skills to the table, you will not only get the recipient’s attention but increase your chances of landing an interview.

For your inspiration, let’s have a look at the following two examples for different roles:

1. Example email for engineering roles

For engineering-related roles, you can be proactive and show the company that you are really engaged with the company’s product. If you apply to a position at Smartcar and you don't meet the required years of engineering experience, you can reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager and say:

Hi Jackie,
I noticed the Back-End Software Engineer opening on your careers page. I would love to hop on a call and share why I would be a good fit for this position. I’ve attached my resume below for your review.
I know that I may not have the exact years of experience you are looking for but I wanted to be proactive and show you that I can do it!
I’ve created a car-sharing app using Smartcar’s API. Right now three of my friends and I share one car since we’re all in college and have different schedules. As we live on different sides of the campus, meeting up to transfer the keys can be a headache. So, we built an app using Smartcar. The app allows us to unlock our car remotely so that we no longer need to meet up.
[Add a few more details here, for example: what frameworks you used to build the app, whether you built the app on your own or in a team, how long it took you to complete it, or what your experience integrating with Smartcar was like. Also, share the app with the team!]
I hope that this showcases some of the things I can bring to the table. I would love to have the opportunity to tell you more about my background.  
Please let me know what time works best to connect in the next few days.
Thanks,
Mathilde

2. Example email for recruiting roles

If you are interested in a recruiting-related role but don’t have a lot of experience in this area, find a concrete example and show that you can take initiative and be successful in the job. If you apply to a position at Smartcar, you can reach out to the head of the recruiting department and say something like this:

Hi Jackie,
I noticed the Recruiting Associate opening on your careers page and I would love to hop on a call to share why I would be a good fit for this position. I’ve attached my resume below for your review.
I know that I may not have the exact years of experience you are looking for but I wanted to be proactive and show you that I can do it!
I noticed a Back-End Engineering position on your careers page. If I was on the recruiting team, here are three candidates I would source for the role:
[Candidate 1: name and LinkedIn profile]
[Candidate 2: name and LinkedIn profile]
[Candidate 3: name and LinkedIn profile]
I chose these candidates because they are web developers, they have the exact years of experience mentioned in the job description, they have experience working with Node.js, and they are currently working at API companies.
Here is a sample outreach email in which I would tell these candidates about our opening and ask them to get on a call with me:
[Write a short template of what your outreach message would be.]
If the candidates do not respond to me, here is the second outreach I would send:
[Write a short template of what your follow-up email would look like.]
I hope that this showcases some of the things I can bring to the table. I would love to have the opportunity to tell you more about my background.  
Please let me know what time works best to connect in the next few days.
Thanks,
Mathilde

Conclusion

Personally, if I received an email similar to the ones showcased in these examples, I would be incredibly impressed with the candidate and would want to learn more about them. Instead of just scheduling a phone call, I would probably invite them to stop by the Smartcar office for coffee.

Even if you don’t meet the exact requirements mentioned in a particular job description, being proactive and showing initiative can go a long way in landing your dream job. Companies like Smartcar always look for the most talented and driven professionals, and they will notice a great candidate when they see one. All you need to do is stand out from the crowd.

What was your experience like finding your first job after college or breaking into a new industry? I would love to hear your stories and tips. Please feel free to email me and let me know your thoughts!

the format on the paragraphs for the emails doesn't seem right

Smartcar and Aventi partner to bring road usage charge to Norway

Charlotte Kosche

7 min read

February 17, 2020
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Road usage charge (RUC) is a funding mechanism that taxes vehicle owners based on how many miles they drive, instead of collecting fuel taxes or charging toll road fees. Similarly to several U.S. states, Norway is currently discussing and testing RUC programs. Aventi is one of the leading advocates for RUC in Norway. The company is co-organizing a nationwide two-year pilot project called Pilot-T ASAM, which tests Aventi’s RUC technology on simulated cars as well as real vehicles. Here’s why RUC is such a pressing topic in Norway and how Aventi uses the Smartcar API to build, test, and scale its industry-leading RUC solution.

Norway’s problem with fuel taxes and toll road fees

Similarly to the U.S., the Norwegian government charges vehicle owners taxes on fuel purchases, vehicle registrations, and toll roads. Those taxes are supposed to cover the cost of building and maintaining Norwegian roads, and they are supposed to be fair for everyone. Unfortunately, the country is facing two problems with this current approach.

The government loses more money every year

First, the Norwegian government collects less and less money from fuel taxes every year. Part of the reason is gasoline and diesel cars, which become more fuel-efficient with every generation. At the same time, electric vehicles are taking a bigger market share every year. In 2019, 42.4% of new car sales were electric vehicles and 25.9% were hybrids. This trend doesn’t stop at new vehicle sales alone. Almost 10% of all passenger cars that are driven in Norway today are electric. The government’s goal is to get this number to 50% within the next 10 years. Sooner or later, Norway has to find a way to compensate for the increasing loss of government income from fuel taxes.

Expensive toll road fees upset Norwegian citizens

The second problem Norway faces is an increase in toll road fees. The fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees that the national government collects every year are not only earmarked for road construction and maintenance but for other purposes, too. Once a year, the national budget decides how much of those funds will be set aside for road construction and maintenance. It can thus take years and sometimes decades until the construction of a new highway, bridge, or tunnel gets approved. Many cities and counties have found a way to avoid this lengthy process. Instead of waiting for funding from the national government, they have introduced toll road fees that directly fund the construction of new roads.

The Norwegian population is increasingly frustrated by these constantly increasing and unfair toll road fees. A typical family of four can end up paying $180 per month if they happen to live on the wrong side of the toll road gantries. The topic has spawned protest marches and even the creation of a new political party.

Road usage charge: a sustainable and equitable solution

All political parties in the Norwegian parliament, except one, are in favor of exploring RUC as a replacement of toll roads. In contrast to toll roads, RUC is a tax that would be applied to the use of all roads in the country, not only certain ones.

The Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics suggests that RUC should replace not only toll roads but fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees too, as RUC alone would be sufficient to cover all road construction and maintenance costs in the country. The institute also states that RUC should vary based on a vehicle’s environmental footprint and axial load as well as the area (e.g. population density) and time (e.g. rush hours) at which a car owner is driving.

The Norwegian Research Council is funding two ongoing pilot projects to build and test technical RUC solutions. One of the projects, called Pilot-T ASAM, is a collaboration between the research organization SINTEF, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, and Aventi.

Aventi and the Pilot-T ASAM project

Aventi is a road infrastructure company that offers a digital platform for Cooperative Intelligent Transportation Systems (C-ITS). C-ITS allows cars to communicate with each other (V2V communication) as well as with their surrounding road infrastructure (V2I communication).

Since the Pilot-T ASAM project started in July of last year, Aventi has developed and tested its RUC solution on real vehicles across the country.

“The goal of our RUC program is to provide a fair and accurate tax solution,” said Aventi Systems Engineer Bjørn Elnes. “At the same time, we want to reduce traffic congestion and incentivize environmentally-friendly driving habits.”

To achieve this goal, Aventi follows the Institute of Transport Economics’ suggestion to charge vehicle owners different rates depending not only on their mileage but also on the type of car, location, and time of driving. For example, drivers of fuel cars pay more than EV owners, drivers of large trucks pay more than those who own small passenger cars, and people who drive in urban areas during rush hours pay more than those who drive in rural areas during off-peak hours. Aventi calls this pricing model “dynamic pricing with green geofencing.”

“This approach is unique to RUC programs in Norway,” said Elnes. “Most other countries charge a flat mileage fee that doesn’t vary based on the type of vehicle, location, or time.”

Using C-ITS to build a powerful RUC solution

Ideally, Aventi wants to use C-ITS technology to build their entire RUC program. This includes monitoring a vehicle owner’s type of car, mileage, location, and time of driving. Aventi aims to use Service Announcement Messages (SAMs) to retrieve these pieces of information from each car. SAMs are messages that the road infrastructure sends out in order to inform vehicles of available traffic services, enforcements, or fees. In the United States, SAMs are often called Wireless Access in Vehicular Environment (WAVE) Service Advertisements.

“In the future pan-European C-ITS road network, SAMs will allow vehicle owners to receive notifications about vacant charging stations, booked parking spots, and more,” Elnes said. “RUC is one of the most promising use cases.”

Incompatible cars and unreliable smartphone telematics

Unfortunately, not all cars are able to send and receive SAMs just yet. C-ITS is still a new technology and only very few vehicle models are equipped with so-called C-ITS Onboard Units (OBUs), allowing them to receive SAMs and respond with relevant data. Aventi decided to rely on data from a car owner’s smartphone in addition to OBUs until C-ITS technology gets more widely adopted.

When they first started incorporating smartphone telemetry data into their RUC solution, Aventi’s engineers discovered yet another challenge. The data that smartphones report is rarely accurate, and even if it is, Aventi’s engineers can never be sure which specific vehicle the device is located in.

Smartphone telematics is a common way to track vehicle mileage, especially in the auto insurance industry. However, the mileage that smartphones report is often incorrect. Smartphones calculate vehicle mileage by monitoring movement and detecting the start and end of a car trip. It commonly happens that a device reports a trip, although the smartphone holder isn’t driving but riding in someone else’s car or taking the bus. Sometimes the device even fails to detect the start or end of a trip. Finally, vehicle owners can happen to forget their phones at home, or their phones can lose service in the middle of a trip.

In addition to reporting inaccurate mileage data, the use of smartphone telemetry posed a problem for Aventi’s dynamic pricing model. The success of the pricing model entirely depends on the ability to determine which type of car (e.g. large or small, fuel or electric) a vehicle owner is driving. With smartphone telemetry data, it is impossible to know exactly which vehicle a device is located in.

“If you don’t have a way of checking which car the phone is in, you could say that you are driving an electric car, but in reality, you can take your diesel truck,” Elnes said.

Retrieving accurate information from all cars using the Smartcar API

When Aventi’s engineers looked to solve these problems, they came across the Smartcar API, which allows applications to retrieve information from cars with the vehicle owners’ consent.

“It seemed like our C-ITS technology wasn’t quite ready for the broad market yet, and the smartphone telematics approach was just not working out for us,” Elnes said. “We found Smartcar and we thought: let’s give it a try!”

Aventi has since been using the Smartcar API to verify and complement information from OBUs and smartphones. The company uses Smartcar to locate vehicles, read their odometer, and retrieve their make, model, year of production, and VIN in order to verify exactly which car a person is driving at a given time.

The Smartcar platform is compatible with most new vehicle models. As it communicates directly with each vehicle’s embedded telematics system, it returns actual, accurate information in real-time. This has helped Aventi alleviate all of the challenges involved in using C-ITS technology and smartphone telematics.

“Smartcar is acting as a key”

In addition to providing accurate, real-time vehicle data for their RUC program, Smartcar has enabled Aventi to build their RUC solution effortlessly, with only one single integration for all compatible vehicle brands.

“We see that there is a lot of time and effort being put into creating deals with OEMs to gain access to their APIs. If every service provider had to do the same amount of work, it just wouldn’t be economically feasible,” Elnes said. “In that sense, Smartcar is acting as a key for opening the gate to extensive information from all cars.”

Aventi expects to further test and improve its RUC solution until the Pilot-T ASAM project ends in July next year. The Norwegian government will then decide whether to adopt the program nationwide.

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The pitch deck that got Smartcar $2 million in seed funding from Andreessen Horowitz

Sahas Katta

4 min read

February 10, 2020
News
Live SiteStaging Site

When Sanketh and I set out to raise our seed round for Smartcar, we found several pitch decks from consumer startups, however we struggled to find any from B2B or developer-focused companies. To give back to the startup community, we are making our original pitch deck (with a few retractions) that got us a $2 million seed round from Andreessen Horowitz available to everyone.

Sanketh and I set out to build an app for our car in 2014. Within a few weeks, we realized this was incredibly difficult to do. No car brand offered a self-service developer portal, API documentation, or SDKs. We discovered that developers faced a major pain point and we quickly shifted away from building an app to building a developer platform.

After we managed to get a prototype working, we put together a pitch deck over the course of a few weeks and ran through our slides with other founders and advisors for feedback. We soon had a set of slides which covered topics such as our problem statement, solution, and competitive landscape.

The deck

With the following deck, we successfully raised $2 million from Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and officially started Smartcar in January 2015.

Introductory slide

Smartcar is an API for cars. Developers can incorporate Smartcar APIs into their own apps. Our technology works out of the box on most new cars without any retrofits or aftermarket hardware.

Problem statement 

While it is relatively easy and fast to build a web page or even a mobile app, it is nearly impossible to build an app for cars. Some companies I spoke with had spent years trying to integrate with a single car brand. No OEM provided a friendly self-service developer portal. Smartcar solves this problem.

The solution

The Smartcar API is compatible with any make or model meaning developers only need to integrate our API once to support any new car. This removes friction and lets developers focus on what they do best: building their business, not spending countless hours figuring out how to integrate with cars.

Our product

Smartcar prides itself in providing incredibly friendly API documentation rarely seen in the automotive world. Paired with SDKs for popular programming languages like Python or Node, developers can locate or even unlock the doors to a car with just a few lines of code.

Why now

While cellular connectivity built into vehicles is initially appearing within premium brands, nearly every OEM plans to equip all their new models with the same technology within the next few years. A new market is quickly emerging. We feel now is the right time to raise capital.  

Competition (company name redacted for confidentiality purposes)

While many companies have raised capital for connected car offerings, nearly all of their solutions depend on aftermarket hardware. Smartcar is differentiated because our technology works right out of the factory on most new vehicles. Additionally, we provide the most flexible offering since our product is an API.

Market size

We charge developers (aka businesses) a SaaS fee to use our API. Our product creates value in many verticals from auto insurance to car rentals.

Our team

Sanketh isn’t just my co-founder, he is also my brother. I have the role of the CEO while Sanketh is the CTO. We also have two advisors who are supporting our journey.

The ask

We worked backwards from our goal to determine where we wanted to be as a business in 24 months, how many people we would need to get there, and how much it would ultimately cost. After adding some room for error, we knew that we needed $2 million to make this happen.

Smartcar today 🚀

Since the seed round, we’ve also raised a $10 million Series A from New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Andreessen Horowitz (a16z). We’re based in Mountain View, California and we serve customers in several verticals including auto insurance, car sharing, and EV managed charging. Our API is compatible with 21 car brands and offers a wide range of API endpoints including lock, unlock, location, odometer, fuel tank level, and EV battery level.

The past few years have been an incredibly challenging but rewarding experience. The Smartcar team is proud to continue empowering developers to build the future of mobility.

If you enjoyed this post and are interested in our job opportunities, feel free to check out the Smartcar careers page. If you are looking for any feedback on a pitch deck for your startup, don’t hesitate to reach out @sahaskatta.

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Introducing Smartcar webhooks (private beta)

Karthik Bhaskara

3 min read

February 6, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

We’re proud to announce a brand-new feature in the Smartcar dashboard: scheduled webhooks. Starting today, select customers can use webhooks to retrieve a collection of vehicle data at set time intervals. After our invite-only beta program ends, webhooks will be available to all developers as a Smartcar Pro plan feature.

When should I use webhooks?

Scheduled webhooks allow auto insurance, fleet management, vehicle maintenance, and other companies to make their applications more powerful and efficient than ever before.

Whenever you need to retrieve certain information from a vehicle on a regular basis, we recommend subscribing that vehicle to a scheduled webhook. This way, your application automatically receives the requested data at the set interval, instead of having to run a time-based job scheduler to actively make API requests on its own.

Car insurance providers use scheduled webhooks to verify their policyholders’ mileage, garaging location, and VIN on a daily or monthly basis.

Fleet management companies conveniently manage their operations using webhooks. Instead of manually retrieving the location, odometer, and fuel tank level from all vehicles, scheduled webhooks allow fleet managers to automatically receive this information once per day or once per week.

EV charging networks find great value in using webhooks as well. They check on their customers’ EV battery level every evening and notify them if they need to charge overnight.

These are only some examples of the many ways in which scheduled webhooks can be useful for your application.

Why should I use webhooks?

When you use scheduled webhooks instead of scheduling your own interval-based data retrieval, you’ll see several benefits:

Access token management

With scheduled webhooks, you no longer have to manage access tokens. When a vehicle owner links their vehicle through Smartcar Connect, your application receives an access token that expires every two hours. After subscribing the vehicle to a scheduled webhook, you no longer have to refresh access tokens, as webhooks will provide you the requested data at the specified interval. Smartcar takes care of all token management for you.

Rate limits

Usually, when your application makes a large number of API requests to Smartcar within a short time period, you risk hitting Smartcar's request rate limit and not receiving a response for all of your requests. Scheduled webhooks eliminate the need for you to space out your API requests. Instead, you just need to wait for Smartcar to send you the requested data at the interval of your choice.

Retry logic

If you don’t use scheduled webhooks and an API request you sent comes back with a vehicle state error, you usually should try sending the same request to the same vehicle again some time later. When you use webhooks, we take care of this retry logic for you. If an API request results in an error, we will retry the same request multiple times to increase the likelihood that we can send you a successful response.

How can I set up webhooks?

Setting up a scheduled webhook is really fast and simple. Just log into the Smartcar dashboard, select the “Webhooks” tab, and follow the steps below:

1. Create webhook

Click “Add new” and set the necessary parameters. Smartcar allows you to choose between daily, weekly, and monthly time intervals. Currently, scheduled webhooks exist for our EV battery, EV charging status, fuel tank, location, odometer, oil life, tire pressure, vehicle attributes, and VIN endpoints. You can choose to include one, multiple, or all of these endpoints in your scheduled webhook.

2. Verify webhook

Before your webhook gets activated, you need to verify it. Simply hit the “Verify” button next to the webhook name. Smartcar will send a request to your callback URI to make sure it’s valid. Tip: If you would like to see whether the webhook is working correctly, you can click “Test” from the dropdown menu and send a test request to it.

3. Subscribe vehicles

Subscribe one or multiple vehicles to your webhook.

4. Done

You’re all set up with your first scheduled webhook! Now all you need to do is wait for data to come in at the chosen time intervals.

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Announcing Smartcar’s new doc center

Jia Guo

3 min read

January 30, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, we’re proud to present the brand-new Smartcar documentation center. This new version of our doc center features updated content and a refreshed design, making it easier than ever for developers to integrate and use our API.

Smartcar allows developers to locate, unlock, and retrieve other information from vehicles across brands with a single integration. Our doc center has always been at the center of the user journey, allowing our customers to quickly integrate Smartcar into their products and to efficiently make API requests to cars.

Since our last major doc center revamp about a year ago, our product, as well as our customer base, has evolved and grown. We thought it was time to adapt our developer documentation to those changes by restructuring the content and refreshing the design. Here’s what you will find in this new and improved version of the Smartcar docs.

1. Brand-new content

In terms of content, the old Smartcar doc center was geared primarily towards less experienced developers that integrated with our API for the very first time. For example, our detailed getting started guide set a large focus on the steps of integrating and making your first request to Smartcar.

In this new iteration, we want to not only appeal to first-time customers but also provide in-depth information and guidance for more experienced developers. Our brand-new integration guide is doing exactly that.

📝 Integration guide

The Smartcar integration guide walks you through the steps of integrating the Smartcar API and testing your integration.

Similar to our previous getting started guide, the integration guide is a useful resource for everyone who has no prior knowledge of the Smartcar API. If you are wondering how to integrate the Smartcar Connect flow into your application architecture, how to integrate the Smartcar API into your application backend, or how to make API requests, this guide will tell you how.

But alongside the basics, the integration guide also covers more advanced details, such as how to adapt Smartcar Connect to your application’s use case, how to store and refresh access tokens, and how to test successful API requests as well as errors.

🔊 Language-specific tutorials

In addition to the new integration guide, we also introduced new language-specific tutorials. If you wish to learn more about integrating and making your first request in a specific language or application architecture, this is the right resource for you. We currently offer tutorials in React, iOS, Android, Node.js, Python, and Java. Stay tuned for more to come!

2. Fresh design

As you might have noticed, we recently redesigned the Smartcar dashboard with new colors, fonts, and interactive elements. Those style changes are now also visible in our documentation center. When you read through our new doc center content, keep a lookout for our updated fonts and new teal-colored links, images, banners, and buttons. In addition to those style changes, you’ll notice two major UX improvements.

💻 Updated code blocks

All code blocks now feature updated colors for a fresh and friendly look. We also added new copy buttons that make copying code to your clipboard a breeze. Whenever you view the code in a language other than the pre-set default, Node.js, the language you select will automatically become your default language across all code blocks.

🧭 Improved navigation

To facilitate an easy overview of and navigation through the entire doc center, we introduced a new, secondary navigation bar on the right side of each page. This navigation bar makes it simple for you to know where you are and which other topics will be covered on the page. We also created a unique anchor link for every header so that you can quickly reference a specific part of any page.

Now it’s time for you to give our new documentation center a try. As always, please let me know how you’re liking it and what you’d like us to improve!

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How to offer EV charging rewards programs with Smartcar's odometer API

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

January 16, 2020
EV charging
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Electric vehicle charging businesses are using Smartcar primarily because of our EV APIs, which allow web and mobile apps to retrieve the state of charge, remaining range, and charging status from electric vehicles. Many EV charging companies strive to develop technologically powerful and easy-to-use products, which our APIs allow them to do.

A lot fewer companies, however, take advantage of a different but equally large business opportunity: fostering customer loyalty. Using our odometer API and other API endpoints, EV charging companies have built rewards programs that raise brand awareness and help retain their existing customer base. Here’s why your company should build a rewards program and how you can do so using the Smartcar API.

Why EV charging businesses should build rewards programs

Fuel rewards programs have already been around and successful for a long time. With a rather interchangeable product, similar pricing, and abundant offer, especially in high-density areas, rewards programs are one of the few tools that oil and gas companies can leverage to incentivize customers to stay loyal to their brand.

As EV charging networks emerge and become more and more popular in the U.S. and abroad, it is crucial for EV charging businesses to build brand awareness and gather a loyal customer base early on in the process. In addition to attracting and retaining customers, EV charging rewards programs even serve a much larger purpose. By encouraging EV owners to drive and charge in an environmentally-friendly manner, EV charging companies take a lead on reducing carbon emissions and saving the planet.

How to build an EV charging rewards program

1. Reward customer loyalty

The most important aspect of EV charging rewards programs is to reward customers for charging at your company’s charging stations. So, how do you know whether an EV owner charged their vehicle primarily at your stations, or whether they used other stations too?

The Smartcar odometer API allows you to find out. Use the odometer API to retrieve your customer’s mileage at the end of every month. Compare the number of miles your customer traveled with the number of kilowatt-hours their vehicle drew from your EV charging stations. The more EV owners charge at your company’s stations compared to the distance they traveled, the more rewards points they earn in a given month.

2. Reward efficient driving behavior

An alternative to rewarding customers for their loyalty is rewarding them for environmentally-friendly driving behavior. Using the odometer API as well as the Smartcar EV API, check a vehicle’s mileage every time the car starts and stops charging. Compare the distance traveled in-between two charging periods with the change in the battery’s state of charge. The more efficiently your customer drives in a given month, the more rewards points they earn.

3. Reward off-peak charging

Another way to incentivize environmentally-friendly behavior is to reward off-peak charging. Use the Smartcar EV API to check whether your customer’s vehicle is charging. Reward customers for charging either during hours with low electricity consumption or during hours when the share of electricity generated from renewable sources is highest.

Bonus: Offer support for multiple vehicles

Finally, in addition to rewarding customers for their loyalty and environmentally-friendly behavior, you also need to make sure your rewards program is easy to use for families and others who share or own multiple vehicles. Using the Smartcar VIN API, check which one of your customer’s vehicles is plugged into your EV charging station. Map that information to the mileage and battery state of charge of that same vehicle.

When you offer support for multiple vehicles under one account, you don’t only create a friendlier product for customers and families who own multiple EVs. You also make sure not to count any charging activity from ineligible vehicles, for example when a customer temporarily rents or borrows a vehicle that’s not their own.

Learn more about our APIs for EV charging and reach out to our team for a product demo!

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Introducing the engine oil life API (production)

Gurpreet Atwal

1 min read

January 15, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Starting today, the Smartcar engine oil life API is no longer in beta but available to all app developers. 💧

Our engine oil life API endpoint allows web and mobile applications to retrieve the remaining life span of a vehicle's engine oil. With a single request to the API endpoint, your app obtains the remaining life span of a car's engine oil as a percentage:

Knowing when a car is due for an oil change is crucial for vehicle and driver safety. The Smartcar API allows your customers to easily know and monitor the exact lifespan of their car's engine oil. Your customers no longer have to estimate or remember when their vehicle needs an oil change. More importantly, they no longer need to wait for their car to show symptoms of overage oil, which only appear when the vehicle is already unsafe to drive.

Many of our customers have already used the engine oil life API while it was available in beta. Fleet management software companies like Pitstop and Halo Fleet use the endpoint to periodically check the oil life of all vehicles in their customers' fleets. In case one of their cars needs an oil change, fleet managers receive a notification and can schedule a service appointment.

Tip: If you use the engine oil life API, consider having a look at the Smartcar tire pressure API as well. This endpoint allows you to know the air pressure of each of a vehicle's tires, allowing you to notify customers when their tire pressure is either too low or too high to be safely driving their car.

Sign up for a developer account and start using the engine oil life API right away. If you would like to schedule a product demo, please feel free to reach out to our sales team. We're happy to chat!

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Our top 3 ideas for a successful team offsite

Jackie Leary

4 min read

January 14, 2020
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

If you haven’t already noticed, the Smartcar team loves its quarterly team offsites. Not just because they are a fun excuse to get out of the office, but because offsites give us the opportunity to get to know each other and to form bonds that we couldn’t possibly achieve while sitting at a desk.

When candidates ask me about our work culture, one thing I always mention is how inclusive and collaborative our company is. This could be for many reasons, but I like to think that our offsites play a big part in our team’s cohesion. There is no division between different departments or friend groups - everyone participates and contributes their part to our unique company spirit.

If you are looking to plan an offsite for your own team and need some inspiration, look no further. Below, you will find last year’s three most popular Smartcar offsites alongside some organizational tips. Also, if you are a candidate interested in joining our company, here’s a little glimpse of our fun, quirky, and collaborative culture:

1. Bubble soccer in the park

Have you ever heard of bubble soccer? No? Neither had we! The concept is simple: two teams put on giant, inflatable bubble suits and face off in a hilarious game of soccer. That is exactly what we did on a sunny Friday morning in July. It was just as comical as you can imagine. Have a look:

Credits: Silicon Valley Bubble Soccer

Tips: Be sure to schedule your bubble soccer experience on a day when it isn’t too hot. The bubble suits can get a little warm while running around. Also, Silicon Valley Bubble Soccer offers cornhole sets and Giant Jenga in addition to the bubble soccer equipment. These games were an enjoyable distraction for our team members whenever they wanted to take a break from the soccer game.

2. Kayaking in Half Moon Bay

The Smartcar team loves being active and exploring nature, so kayaking in Half Moon Bay was an easy way to make everyone happy. What’s more, we had a couple of folks interning from out of state. Our interns were able to see what the beautiful Northern Californian coast has to offer while getting to know the rest of the team.

The kayaks sat two people each. We randomly selected partners so that we all had a chance to get to know each other. As we navigated the harbor and made our way to a secluded beach, friendly competition ensued (naturally), and races between teams began. Partners had to work together to properly steer and maneuver the kayak to make it to the beach, and our teamwork was rewarded with a picnic lunch!

Credits: Half Moon Bay Kayak Co.

Tips: Half Moon Bay Kayak Co. made planning this offsite super easy. Our guides were friendly and patient and a delicious meal was waiting for us at the beach. The guides recommend starting a tour in the early morning because the water and wind are a little calmer at that time of day.

3. Volunteering at Sacred Heart Community Service

For our final offsite last year, we wanted to do something that gave back to the community. That is why we chose to partner with Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose. The organization helps members of our community by providing them with necessary items such as food, clothing, blankets, and books. On top of that, Sacred Heart provides self-sufficiency programs that help people improve their financial strength and find employment while also providing essential services such as rental assistance to help end poverty.

Once we arrived at Sacred Heart, our team broke up into smaller groups. Some of us sorted new arrivals of food or clothes while others were responsible for signing in guests or handing out food or clothing items. In our three-hour shift, over 200 families received healthy food, warm clothes, and even school supplies. The whole Smartcar team was deeply impressed by the work Sacred Heart is doing. Most importantly, we got to meet many amazing people.

Credits: Sacred Heart Community Service

Tips: Before your scheduled volunteering day, encourage your team to do a little spring (or, in our case, winter) cleaning. Ask everyone to gather items they no longer need as a donation to those who do. Bring the items with you to Sacred Heart. It will make an invaluable difference in someone’s life.

Bonus tip: We noticed that some of the most popular items were blankets, coats, and backpacks.

I hope that this blog post can serve as an inspiration for your own offsite planning and provide insight into Smartcar’s work culture and team dynamics. If you have any questions or want to share your thoughts on the topic, please feel free to contact me. I’d love to chat and exchange ideas!

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How peer-to-peer car sharing companies can increase efficiency and reduce cost

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

January 9, 2020
Car sharing
Live SiteStaging Site

Peer-to-peer car sharing businesses have a major competitive advantage over other car sharing and car rental companies: they don’t own the vehicles that customers share on their platform. This allows them to keep acquisition and maintenance costs as low as possible while providing value not only to renters but to vehicle owners, too.

But even with a technology-first focus, a sharing economy mindset, and a clear competitive advantage, many P2P car sharing platforms still struggle with building a successful business. This is why companies like Turo and Nabobil use the Smartcar API. Our technology allows them to increase their customer experience, their operational efficiency, and their profits, all the while focusing on what’s important: changing the face of car ownership.

1. Simplify the customer experience

When onboarding new customers, peer-to-peer car sharing platforms let vehicle owners link their cars to the app with Smartcar’s technology in the background. Connecting a vehicle takes only a few clicks in the car sharing app. Vehicle owners don’t need to install any aftermarket hardware in their cars and they don’t need to be trained on how to use Smartcar’s technology.

Immediately after their vehicle is linked, car owners can share their vehicle’s location, mileage, and even their car keys with renters directly in the app. Vehicle owners and renters won’t need to arrange a time to meet, and they won’t need to exchange physical car keys. Instead, renters can locate and unlock the cars they book directly from their phones.

2. Reduce field operations

Car sharing companies are able to not only simplify the rental experience but also to save money that’s otherwise spent on local on-the-ground teams in hundreds of different locations.

Unlike other keyless solutions, Smartcar’s technology is hardware-free. Vehicle owners don’t need any help installing or learning to use OBD-II dongles or other devices. Instead of building local installer networks that assist with hardware installation and maintenance, companies are able to dedicate those financial resources to their core business, product, and engineering teams.

Vehicle owners and renters also need significantly less support managing the pick-up and drop-off process of each car rental. Car sharing businesses that use keyless technologies don’t need as many staff members to help improve the customer experience on-site. As vehicle owners and renters don’t need to meet and exchange car keys, they can easily communicate and manage the entire rental remotely via the car sharing app.

3. Eliminate hardware cost

By using hardware-free solutions like the Smartcar API, car sharing businesses are able to save the money they would otherwise spend on acquiring, shipping, installing, maintaining, and replacing hardware devices. Hardware bears a large initial acquisition cost and can turn into an unpredictable expense factor, for example, if vehicle owners stop renting out their cars but forget to return their devices. APIs, on the other hand, offer simple SaaS pricing that is easy to scale with product usage and business growth.

This is how our customers have been able to optimize their business and to improve their customer experience using the Smartcar API. Head to our website to learn more about our API for car sharing, and reach out to our team for a product demo.

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Samsung SmartThings brings cars to its smart home app

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

January 8, 2020
News
Live SiteStaging Site

The IoT technology provider, Samsung SmartThings, has integrated Smartcar within its smart home app and will soon be compatible with most new vehicles in the United States.

Imagine living in a world in which all of your technological devices are perfectly connected and can be managed within a single app. Smartcar and SmartThings are one step closer to making this dream a reality. By integrating with the Smartcar API, SmartThings will be the first smart home app from which users can monitor, control, and create automations for their vehicles.

SmartThings connects over 10 million homes, has more than 50 million active users, and supports more than 5,000 connected devices. Through the mobile app, users can connect and control different devices in their home environment, including voice assistants, speakers, electric outlets, lights, thermostats, cameras, doorbells, and home security systems.

Thanks to the Smartcar API, SmartThings will now add cars to this range of integrated devices. Smartcar allows SmartThings to integrate with most new cars in the United States in a single development effort.

Users will soon be able to connect their cars to the SmartThings app. (Graphic for representational purposes only. The actual experience might differ.)

Once the integration is complete, SmartThings users will be able to perform actions like locating their vehicle, reading its mileage, and unlocking its doors directly from their phones. Users will also be able to create automations (e.g. “If my car leaves the office, turn on the air conditioner at home”), create scenes (e.g. “Good night” locks the car doors and turns off the living room lights), and receive notifications (e.g. “Notify me when my fuel tank level falls below a 30-mile range”).

Users will be able to perform actions like locating and unlocking their vehicle. (Graphic for representational purposes only. The actual experience might differ.)

SmartThings expects to finish its integration and to roll out the new functionality to users in the United States this year.

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Introducing the new and improved Smartcar dashboard

Kathleen Hsu

2 min read

January 7, 2020
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

If you’ve logged into the Smartcar dashboard recently, you may have noticed that something looks different. Read on to get a glimpse of the design changes we made and our thinking behind them.

A few months ago, we rolled out a new brand that reflects our mission of empowering developers to build the future of mobility. We decided to start with a website revamp and to slowly introduce other parts of the new developer experience, allowing our customers to get used to the new design bit by bit.

Today, we’re proud to introduce the next step of our brand overhaul: the Smartcar dashboard. As we will add new functionalities in the coming months (stay tuned!), we thought it was time to update the dashboard’s visual identity.

The goal of this visual refresh is to ensure the best possible experience for our developers. We decided to keep it simple and focus on three major areas:

1. New, accessible colors 🎨

Usage page on the Smartcar dashboard

The first change you might notice when visiting the new Smartcar dashboard is its color scheme. We introduced a new teal shade as the primary color. While this shade stays similar to the light blue we previously used, it is more versatile and perfectly complements the bright red accents on our website. It also meets accessibility guidelines and improves readability and contrast.

2. Fresh yet familiar typeface 📝

Billing page on the Smartcar dashboard

Alongside the new color scheme, we updated the dashboard’s primary typeface to match our brand and website design. Ever since we introduced IBM’s Plex typeface on the Smartcar website, we’ve been big fans of its technical but friendly look. A combination of IBM Plex Mono for headings and IBM Plex Sans for body copy maintains a clear visual hierarchy throughout all dashboard components and creates a fresh yet familiar atmosphere for our developers.

3. Clear interactive elements 🖱️

Credentials page on the Smartcar dashboard

Finally, the new Smartcar dashboard features clearer, more visible interactive elements that make the interface more dynamic and easier to navigate. Interactive elements such as links, buttons, and menu items now stand out from the rest thanks to their distinct teal color and hover effects. We also added text labels next to icon buttons to clarify different actions, making the dashboard easy to use right from day one.

Now it’s your turn! Log into the dashboard or sign up for a Smartcar account to check out the new and improved experience. I hope that you’ll enjoy the new design and that you'll find the interface pleasant to navigate and use. Most importantly, please let me know your thoughts and feedback. I’d love to hear from you!

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Why auto insurance providers use the Smartcar VIN API

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

January 2, 2020
Auto insurance
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Auto insurance products are becoming increasingly digital and software-driven. For example, insurance providers offer dynamic premiums that vary based on a policy holder's monthly mileage and their driving behavior. Those products are incredibly successful, because they allow insurance companies to accurately assess risk, while policy holders pay a fairer price.

But all of these new insurance products need a reliable technology behind it. Without the perfect technology solution, insurance providers work with erroneous information and set their pricing either too low (resulting in losses for their business) or too high (resulting in customers leaving to the competition).

Products like the Smartcar API help auto insurance companies solve all their technology needs with a simple and powerful solution. Our platform allows policy holders to connect their vehicles with just a few clicks from any car insurance app. It then lets the insurance company access important information such as the vehicle's mileage, location, and tire pressure. Smartcar even handles less obvious tasks, such as knowing a vehicle's VIN.

The challenge of finding and entering a VIN

A vehicle's VIN is both crucial for every car insurance policy and at the same time challenging. In fact, it scares away many potential customers before they even sign a contract.

Every car owner who wants to take out insurance needs to provide their vehicle identification number to get a quote, let alone sign a policy. Unfortunately, the VIN can be located in different parts of the car, depending on its make, model, and year. Most vehicle owners don't know where to find their VIN. Even with detailed instructions, some car owners don't bother making the extra effort and prefer to look for a different product instead of finding their VIN.

Our solution: the Smartcar VIN API

Many insurance companies use the Smartcar API to solve the challenge of knowing a vehicle's VIN. Instead of facing customers with complicated instructions on how to find and enter a 17-character identification number, insurance providers use the Smartcar VIN API to automatically read and save a vehicle's VIN within seconds.

By eliminating the need for customers to find and enter their VIN, insurance providers are able to reduce friction in their onboarding process, increase the number of signed insurance contracts, and maximize customer satisfaction.

How to use the Smartcar VIN API

The Smartcar VIN API is compatible with more than a dozen vehicle makes and many more models in the United States. Our product is a pure software platform. It doesn't require you to use OBD-II dongles or other aftermarket hardware.

Here's how insurance businesses have been integrating and using the Smartcar API:

1. The insurance company integrates the Smartcar API into their mobile or web app. This takes only a few hours of engineering work.

2. The insurance app prompts the customer to connect their vehicle using Smartcar. We provide a short and friendly dialog for them to do so:

3. Among other information, the insurance company can now easily read a customer's VIN with a single API request:

By eliminating the need to look for and enter a vehicle's VIN, auto insurance providers make it easier for car owners to get a quote and to sign up for a policy.

This is not the only way in which the Smartcar API helps insurance companies build better products. Learn more about how car insurance businesses use our platform, and feel free to reach out to us for a product demo.

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5 EV charging trends to watch in 2020

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

December 31, 2019
EV charging
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EV charging technology is rapidly expanding and evolving in the United States and beyond. The global EV charging stations market is expected to grow by almost 50% over the next seven years. As 2019 comes to an end, we have decided to take a look at the industry and to summarize the most important trends that will shape the EV charging space next year.

1. DC fast charging

Although DC fast chargers make up only 15% of EV charging stations in the United States so far, market research reports predict them to become more and more common. Many EV charging networks already focus their efforts on DC (or level 3) chargers. Those chargers add about 60 to 80 miles of range in 20 minutes, making them 10 to 20 times faster than the more common AC (or level 2) chargers. As EV owners travel more and take longer trips, they will appreciate a larger offer of public fast charging solutions with more affordable pricing.

2. Accurate prediction of charge time

The technological progress of both, EV charging hardware and software will change the way EV owners use and benefit from EV charging apps. Thanks to technologies like the Smartcar API, charging networks are now able to determine a vehicle’s exact charge time even before the driver plugs their car into a station. The accurate prediction of a vehicle’s charge time is crucial whenever EV owners want to plan trips, building charging schedules, or make use of green EV charging features and V2G technology (see below).

3. Green EV charging

Green energy will play a big role in both, the residential and the public EV charging space. Vehicle owners are increasingly concerned about carbon emissions, while EV charging networks rapidly advance their charging technologies. Green EV charging programs allow EV owners to set a schedule for when and how far they need to drive their car each day. Using smart charging technology, the EV charging network then automatically charges the vehicle at times when electricity is 100% generated from renewable sources (e.g. solar or wind energy).

4. Vehicle-to-grid technology

Another EV charging trend that helps reduce carbon emissions is vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology. While green EV charging focuses on picking the right energy sources, V2G technology aims to smoothen times of peak electricity demand. The average car is parked 95% of the time. V2G technology makes use of this fact. Whenever they aren’t currently driving or charging their vehicle, EV owners can leave their car plugged in at home or at work. At times of peak demand, EV owners can let the charging network draw power from the car and feed it electricity back into the grid. This way, V2G provides a huge relief for local and state electricity providers and allows EV owners to earn money for the electricity they sell.

5. Rewards programs

With a tighter net of public EV charging stations and a larger variety of affordable home chargers, charging networks need to spend more effort retaining customers and making them loyal to their brand. Rewards programs allow EV charging networks to do just that. Apart from rewarding customers for charging at stations within a certain network, rewards programs even go hand in hand with green EV charging and V2G technology. For example, EV owners receive points or credits for charging at times when electricity demand is low and the share of renewable energy sources is highest. Finally, EV charging networks can reward customers for ecologically friendly driving behavior. Based on how many miles they drive and how much they charge their EV battery, EV owners receive rewards for keeping their per-mile electricity consumption low.

Which trends do you anticipate to shape the EV charging industry next year? Feel free to reach out and let us know!

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Improving EV trip planning with the Smartcar electric vehicle API

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

December 24, 2019
EV charging
Live SiteStaging Site

All vehicle owners have to plan ahead before making a long trip, but EV owners especially so. When their destination is far away or their car has a short remaining range, electric vehicle owners need to know whether they can make the whole trip without charging, and if not, which charging stations they can stop at along the way. This is where EV trip planning apps come in handy.

More and more EV charging networks offer an EV trip planning feature as part of their web and mobile applications. These companies know how useful the feature is for their customers. The first step to building a successful EV trip planning interface is the ability to search for nearby EV charging stations. But trip planning is about more than just finding nearby chargers. Using Smartcar’s electric vehicle API, your EV charging app can build a full-fledged trip planning feature that facilitates many aspects of owning and driving electric vehicles.

1. Let vehicle owners enter their destination

In the first step of every EV trip planning interface, car owners type their destination into a search bar. An integrated map service then suggests the correct address and different possible routes.

To make your EV trip planning feature even more effective, let EV owners start the calculated route at their vehicle’s location instead of their smartphone’s location. In some cases, your customer and their car aren’t in the same place, but they want to plan ahead before fetching their vehicle and starting to drive. Use Smartcar’s location API to retrieve the exact location of your customer’s vehicle. This way, the routes that your app suggests are more accurate and your EV trip planning feature is more precise than ever.

2. Retrieve the vehicle’s SOC and range

Once your customer has selected their desired destination and route, you can now use our EV battery API to read the state of charge and the remaining range from their vehicle. Smartcar lets you retrieve this information anytime directly from the car, no matter whether or not it is currently plugged in and/or charging at one of your EV charging stations.

3. Suggest the ideal trip

Based on the selected destination and route as well as the obtained SOC and range, your application can now propose the ideal EV trip. Estimate how often and for how long the car needs to charge and match this information with EV charging stations along the driver’s route.

4. Inform EV owners about charging progress

Once your customer has started their trip, your app can help them manage their charging stops. Using Smartcar’s EV charging status API, know whether a vehicle is plugged in and whether it is charging. Notify your customer when their vehicle starts charging, even if they are using a charging station outside of your network. Monitor the vehicle’s SOC and range, and notify the driver once their car has attained the desired charging level.

This is how easily EV charging networks offer EV trip planning features using Smartcar’s electric vehicle API. To learn more about our technology, check out the Smartcar website and contact us for a product demo. We’re happy to chat!

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How to remotely locate cars with the Smartcar location API

Charlotte Kosche

3 min read

December 19, 2019
Product
Live SiteStaging Site

Like all web and mobile technology, mobility and car applications are becoming more and more powerful. Fleet management software makes it easy for fleet management companies to manage and maintain their vehicles. Auto insurance apps monitor their policyholders' mileage and driving behavior. Car sharing applications let customers browse and book vehicles directly from their phones.

In an effort to make their products work successfully, all of these apps and services make use of similar skills. They all need to instantly and reliably retrieve specific information from their customers’ vehicles.

The ability to remotely locate cars, for example, plays an important role for all car and mobility applications. Fleet management software businesses want to offer real-time GPS tracking to fleet owners. Car insurance companies need to track not only a policyholder’s mileage but also their vehicle’s location and the trips they make. Car sharing apps want to allow renters to quickly find and unlock vehicles directly from their phones.

Without a fast, safe, and reliable technology to locate vehicles, your fleet management, auto insurance, or car sharing app will lag behind the competition and eventually fail. This is why we’ve put together a guide on why APIs are the best tool to remotely locate vehicles, and how your application can use Smartcar’s location API to do so.

Using APIs to remotely locate cars

There are several different ways for web and mobile applications to retrieve a vehicle’s location. Some businesses use OBD-II dongles that customers install in their vehicles. Other businesses rely on their customers’ smartphones to obtain information about the vehicle and driving behavior.

The disadvantage of both, OBD-II dongles and smartphone solutions is that they can be difficult to install, inaccurate, and expensive. Fleet management software companies like Pitstop and car sharing platforms like Turo use the Smartcar API instead because APIs offer the best way to remotely locate vehicles. Here's why:

  • Easy to use: APIs provide friendly documentation and SDKs that make those solutions easy to integrate with. In addition to saving your engineering team time and hassle with the integration, your customers are able to onboard their car with just a few clicks from their phones. They no longer have to install any hardware in their vehicles.
  • Affordable: Most API products offer simple SaaS pricing that makes it easy to test, integrate, and scale the solution at your own pace. You no longer need to worry about hardware purchasing costs, shipping costs, or replacements in case customers break or lose their devices.
  • Instant: In contrast to other solutions, which take time to ship, activate, and receive data from, APIs are instant. Your customers can authorize their cars in less than 30 seconds. From here, all API requests you make will return real-time, live information directly from the vehicle.
  • Accurate and reliable: As car APIs communicate directly with each vehicle instead of going through a third-party hardware device or even a smartphone, APIs return the most accurate information on the market. No more inaccuracies due to incorrect interpretations of the start and end of trips, and no more reliability issues due to a hardware device that gets knocked out of place or a driver that turns off their smartphone.

Locating vehicles with the Smartcar location API

As APIs are the best solution to remotely locate vehicles, let us walk you through the steps of remotely locating cars using the Smartcar API.

Smartcar allows web and mobile applications to read information and perform actions on vehicles using straightforward API requests. In order to remotely locate a vehicle, your application needs to:

  1. Launch the Smartcar Connect flow, which prompts your customer to link their vehicle to your app.
  2. Have your customer log in with their vehicle’s username and password and agree to share their car’s location with your app.
  3. Start making API requests! When your application requests a vehicle’s location, the Smartcar API will return the car's exact location in geographic coordinates:

These three simple steps are all your application needs to retrieve a vehicle’s location in real-time. To learn more about getting started with the Smartcar API, head to our documentation or reach out to our team for a product demo.

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Building better EV charging schedules with electric vehicle APIs

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

December 17, 2019
EV charging
Live SiteStaging Site

EV charging schedules are essential for almost every electric car owner. Especially those who charge their vehicle at home and whose electricity rates vary by time of day need to schedule their car to start and stop charging at certain times. Here’s how your EV charging application can improve scheduling features by using electric vehicle APIs.

Start and stop charging based on SOC or range

EV charging applications most commonly let EV owners set a certain time at which they want to start and stop charging every day. While this basic time-based scheduling feature is better than offering no charging schedules at all, there are plenty of use cases and problems that remain unsolved.

What, for example, happens when a customer doesn’t want to fully charge their vehicle? What if they prefer to stop charging as soon as the car battery has reached a certain state of charge or a certain range?

EV APIs like Smartcar allow your application to do exactly this. Our technology lets you retrieve the SOC and the remaining range from an EV battery with a single API request. Here's how it works:

  1. When scheduling their next charge, your customer selects the state of charge or range which they wish to attain directly in your app.
  2. Your application uses the Smartcar EV battery API to monitor the vehicle’s SOC and range, and stops charging once the requested number is reached:

Start and stop charging based on time constraints and electricity supply

Alternatively, your EV charging application can let vehicle owners select the latest time by which their vehicle must reach a full battery.

Based on the car owner's selection, your application monitors electricity rates and/or renewable energy supply (e.g. whether the electricity cost is low or whether solar energy supply is high enough to fully charge the vehicle). After your app checks the vehicle’s current SOC and how long it will take to charge fully, it can automatically start and stop charging at the most convenient times.

Remind vehicle owners to plug in and charge

Finally, electric vehicle APIs don't only allow your application to easily read a vehicle’s SOC and range. They also make it easy to check a car's charging status.

Using Smartcar's EV battery API, gently remind your customer to charge their vehicle anytime the SOC or range falls below a certain number. You can even use our charging status API to automatically resolve all reminders once the vehicle is plugged in and charging:

That’s how electric vehicle APIs like Smartcar help EV charging applications integrate effective residential charging schedules into their products.

Does your EV charging network power public EV chargers? Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts about EV trip planning, rewards programs, and demand response programs.

Want to learn more about Smartcar? Contact us for a product demo, we’d be happy to give you a tour!

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How I found my next job after a layoff

Mathilde Patmon

4 min read

December 11, 2019
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

Layoffs are one of the hardest things we experience in our careers. After getting let go, most people feel embarrassed and worried that this incident will reflect poorly on them during their future job search.

There’s also this overwhelming feeling of the unknown. Will I find another job? What if I can’t find a good opportunity and I just have to take the first available job to be able to keep paying rent?

I promise you that if you put in the effort and thoughtfulness, you will quickly recover from the shock and successfully embark on a new adventure.

Prior to joining Smartcar, I was working at a different company, and I was impacted by a fairly large layoff. On the day I was laid off, I was surprisingly unconcerned by the fact that I had to leave my old job. However, I was completely overwhelmed by the idea of having to start looking for new opportunities.

As soon as I got home on that Tuesday morning, I didn’t veg out like people usually do after they lose their jobs. Instead, I ended up dusting, mopping, and vacuuming my entire apartment inside and out. Once I was done obsessing over the cleanliness of my home, I found a way to overcome my feeling of mental overload and to kick off my search for new opportunities.

Make a list

First, I grabbed a notebook and wrote down exactly what I was looking for in my future job. Here’s what I came up with:

  1. Company under 50 people
  2. Challenge of being the first recruiter in the company
  3. Located in Mountain View, CA (I lived in Milpitas at the time, and Mountain View was the closest city with a lot of job opportunities.)
  4. Opportunity to host events (This was a deal-breaker for me.)
  5. Company in a non-saturated industry
  6. Company with genuinely nice people

After writing this list, I started searching for companies and open positions.

Choose a tool

From my list, it was clear that I wanted to join a startup. Therefore, I went straight to AngelList. In case you aren’t familiar with this website, it’s a great tool to look for small to medium-sized companies and filter them by location, funding amount, number of employees, and types of openings.

Tip: To learn more about different job search tools, check out this blog post.

Boil down your search

On AngelList, I filtered my search by location (Mountain View), Type (Startup) and Stage (Series A). I chose Series A as the funding stage because companies in the Seed funding stage don’t usually need a recruiting team yet, while companies in the Series B funding stage already have more than 50 employees.

AngelList generated a list of 16 companies that fit my criteria. I decided to start with a narrow search and then broaden it up if I needed, rather than having an overwhelming number of companies to sort through.

Apply to the job

At the time when I was doing this search, Smartcar was the only company on the list that had a recruiting role open. So, I applied on the website and connected with the founders on LinkedIn to show my interest!

Tip: Check out this blog post to learn more about how to stand out when applying to companies, and read this other post on how to nail the interview.

A few days after I applied, the team reached back out to me and scheduled a time for me to connect with the CTO and Co-Founder Sanketh Katta.

When I chatted with Sanketh for the very first time, my mind started going through the list I had written at the beginning of my job search. I was able to check off all six bullet points, one after the other. It felt incredible to me that I had found an ideal opportunity without even knowing about the company just a few days before.

After meeting the whole team during my onsite interview, I knew that Smartcar was my dream company. Everyone was incredibly nice and welcoming. I remember calling my family and telling them that, if Smartcar offered me the job and needed me to start on a Saturday, I would accept right away because that's how excited I was about the company!

A couple of days later, I received this email:

Of course, I accepted the job offer, and I've been working at Smartcar every since.

Two years later, I am so happy that I used my layoff as an opportunity to be thoughtful about what I wanted in my career. Sometimes, choosing your next step takes time and effort, but I promise you, it will be worth it. I found my perfect company (and second home) and I'm certain that you can, too!

I hope that this blog post will help you kick off your search in the right direction. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any insights or questions!

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Introducing the Smartcar Python SDK v7

Sanketh Katta

1 min read

December 5, 2019
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

We're proud to make version 7 of our Python SDK available to all Smartcar developers today. 🐍

Smartcar is the car API for mobility applications. Our platform allows mobile and web apps to communicate with vehicles across makes and models without any hardware.

The Python SDK allows you to quickly and easily integrate the Smartcar API into your Python backend. Here's what the version of this SDK has to offer:

  • Support for the latest version of Python, including Python 3.8
  • Works with our latest API endpoints: batch requests, tire pressure, and engine oil life
  • Updated to support our Connect Pro features: Compatibility, Match, and Direct
  • User-friendly Overall usage section with example code snippets
  • Detailed Getting started guide that walks through the steps of building an end-to-end application
  • Provides a method to quickly and easily form authorization URLs
  • Convenient access token management allows you to effortlessly retrieve and refresh access tokens
  • Takes care of handling errors, allowing you to efficiently build and test your code

Get started with our new and revamped Python SDK today, and let us know your feedback or questions!

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3 simple steps to start your job search

Mathilde Patmon

6 min read

December 4, 2019
Culture
Live SiteStaging Site

Looking for new job opportunities can be as exhausting as working a full-time job. It is stressful, takes time, and can feel incredibly intimidating. But don’t worry! This blog post will kick off your job hunt in the right direction. The following three steps will help you stand out from the crowd and maximize your chances of landing your dream job.

1. Figure out what you want

Looking for jobs is all about knowing what you’re looking for. If you just apply to every single opening out there without truly knowing what you want, you will set yourself up for failure.

1a. Make a list

Take some time to think about what makes you happy and what you enjoy doing. Write those things on a list. Once you’re done, your list might be 50 bullet points long. Read through everything and find common patterns between those points, until you’ve condensed everything down to about 5 topics.

Here’s the list I made for my job hunt before joining Smartcar:

  1. Company located near Milpitas, CA: This is where I live, and commuting in the Bay Area is a nightmare.
  2. Company under 50 employees: I want to wear multiple hats, make an impact, get insight into other departments, and avoid politics.
  3. Be the first recruiter: I want the challenge of building a whole function from scratch.
  4. Host events: I love hosting events and I want to have the opportunity to host recruiting events a few times a year.
  5. Work with genuinely nice people: Work culture is really important to me. I want to work in an inclusive environment where everyone works as a team and succeeds and fails together.

1b. Think about compensation

I did not include salary expectations in my list, because I trusted that the companies I applied to would offer fair compensation based on the current market rate. However, it’s always a good idea to calculate your expected compensation range before you start your first job interviews.

Calculate your expected minimum salary, which would permit you to keep the same (or a similar) lifestyle. Then, define your stretch goal, which is the “dream” compensation you would ideally be looking for.

With this compensation range in mind, you will go into job interviews a lot more prepared and confident. If a certain job pays a lot less than your expected minimum, you will be able to rule it out early on in the process.

2. Be organized

2a. Know where to look

Now you know exactly which kinds of positions and companies you are looking for, and it's time to start your search. Most people use Glassdoor and LinkedIn for their job hunt. Both are great tools, but their filtering functionalities are quite limited.

If you want to get more granular and find jobs by more than just the location, company, and job title, there are lots of other websites you can use. For example, Angellist, Crunchbase, and Apollo.io let you find jobs by a specific industry, company size, amount of funding, and revenue. To learn more about those tools and how to use them, check out my blog post about 3 powerful tools for your job search.

2b. Keep track of your progress

Before you start applying for the first few roles, create a spreadsheet to keep track of what you're doing. Document exactly which company you've applied to, which positions, who your point of contact is, and so on. You can also take detailed notes about the conversations you had with the team and what the next steps in the interview process are.

Being organized is the key to a successful job search. You will likely apply to 20+ companies. You will be surprised by how little detail the human brain can remember when there are a lot of things happening at the same time! You also don’t want to be that person who applies to the same role three times in a row, because they've forgotten that they have already applied.

This is what your spreadsheet might look like:

3. Apply and follow up

Now you know what you want, how to find interesting roles, and how to organize your job search. It’s time to start applying! But wait - don’t just apply to one position and move on to the next one. You aren’t going to stand out if you just send your resume out into the black hole called “the internet." Be proactive! Here’s how.

3a. Find out who is responsible

After applying to a specific company, find out who the recruiter or the hiring manager is. You can simply use LinkedIn to do this. Let’s say you are applying to Smartcar. You can just type “Smartcar recruiter” into the LinkedIn search bar, and my profile should appear:

3b. Reach out via LinkedIn and email

Send the recruiter or hiring manager an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Add a note that says something along the lines of:

Hi Mathilde, I just applied for the Back-End Engineer role! I would love to have the opportunity to chat with you about the opening. What time works best for you on Tuesday this week?

If you don’t hear back within a couple of days, you can follow up by email and ask whether they had a chance to see your message. Your email might look similar to this:

Hi Mathilde,
I just wanted to follow up on my LinkedIn connect message. I’m sure you get a lot of messages on there every day. To recap my message, I applied for the Back-End Engineer role and I would love to have the opportunity to chat with you about the opening.
Are you free on Thursday at 3 pm to connect?
I’ve attached my resume below for you to review as well.
Thank you so much!
[Your name]

3c. Know how to find people’s emails

By now, you are probably thinking: “Mathilde! How am I supposed to find someone’s email when I know only their name and their LinkedIn profile?” Don’t worry. There is a tool for that.

Dorbell is a great website because it lets you enter a person’s name and company, and it will return all of their possible work emails and whether they are valid. You can try it with me to see how it works:

  • First Name: Mathilde
  • Last Name: Patmon
  • Domain: Smartcar
  • Suffix: com

After clicking the “Ring the bell!” button and waiting for the page to load, you should see a lot of invalid emails, as well as two valid ones: mathilde@smartcar.com and mathilde.patmon@smartcar.com.

If the Dorbell site doesn’t work for a specific person, there is something else you can do. Companies typically follow one of three formats for their emails:

  • first-name.last-name@company.com
  • first-letter-of-first-name-followed-by-last-name@company.com
  • first-name@company.com

Try emailing those addresses one after the other, until one of them sends successfully.

3d. Choose the right timing

Last but not least, you should think about the timing of your LinkedIn message and email to make sure the recruiter or hiring manager will open it and answer you.

If you email someone on a Friday night, the likelihood of getting a fast response is very low. They are probably having dinner and trying to enjoy the start of their weekend. Emailing someone on a Monday morning isn't ideal either because they just returned to work after the weekend and are probably playing catch up.

The best times to reach out to a recruiter or hiring manager are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 7:30 am. This way, your message or email will be right at the top of the person’s inbox when they get into the office.

Now that you’ve used all these tips and landed the job interview you wanted, it’s time to ace it! Feel free to check out this blog post on how to avoid the 3 most common job interview mistakes.

If you have any questions or just want to let me know your thoughts, feel free to email me or reach out to me on LinkedIn!

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Announcing batch requests (production)

Adolfo Portilla

1 min read

December 3, 2019
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

Today, batch requests are leaving beta and are now available as a Smartcar Pro feature. 💐

Combining multiple API requests

Smartcar batch requests allow your application to bundle multiple API requests into a single request. For example, instead of sending separate requests to Smartcar's odometer and location API endpoints, you can now combine these and all other GET requests into a single request. Smartcar's response will contain data for each of the desired endpoints:

Saving time and overhead

Many of our customers have already starting using batch requests while it was available in beta. For example, Turo uses batch requests to retrieve a vehicle's location, odometer reading, and fuel tank level with a single API request.

We recommend using batch requests whenever your application wishes to retrieve multiple data points from a vehicle at the same time. For example, if your auto insurance application checks the location and odometer of a vehicle once per day, you can now combine those two consecutive requests into one single request, resulting in less overhead for your application and a faster response time from the Smartcar API.

Starting today, batch requests are available to all our Pro plan customers. If you are currently a free plan user and would like to request access, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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Introducing the Smartcar iOS SDK v4

Allison Chen

1 min read

November 27, 2019
Product
News
Live SiteStaging Site

We're excited to announce version 4 of the Smartcar iOS SDK. 🍏

Smartcar allows mobile and web apps to locate, unlock, and retrieve information from vehicles using simple API requests. Our new and revamped iOS SDK makes it easier than ever for iOS developers to launch the Smartcar Connect flow and to authorize vehicle owners. Here's what's new:

  • Upgraded to Swift 5
  • Supports the latest version of iOS 13
  • Supports all iOS devices (mobile and tablet)
  • Launches the Smartcar Connect flow safely and securely
  • Includes a user-friendly Getting started guide
  • Uses Authentication Services framework for iOS 12 and above; continues to support Safari Services for older versions of iOS
  • Smartcar's new AuthURL builder offers easier support for Smartcar Connect Match and Direct
  • Enhanced error handling ensures maximum conversions

Create a free Smartcar account and get started with our iOS SDK today. As always, please feel free to email me your questions and feedback.

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Electric vehicle highlights from AutoMobility LA 2019

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

November 26, 2019
EV charging
News
Live SiteStaging Site

More than 65 vehicles debuted at AutoMobility LA this year. Roughly 35% of those were hybrid and electric vehicles. While many automakers introduced their new cars directly at the show, others held press conferences at their own offices. Here’s a breakdown of the most exciting announcements we heard about last week.

Ford launched its all-electric vehicle Mustang Mach-E at AutoMobility LA last week. The Mach-E is the first electric vehicle and the first SUV under the Mustang brand. The extended range version has a 300-mile range. The first of four models will be available for sale in 2020.

Toyota rolled out the 2021 RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid version of its popular RAV4 SUV. The vehicle has a 39-mile all-electric range and will get 90 miles per gallon of gasoline. It will go on sale in mid-2020.

Lincoln announced the 2021 Corsair GT plug-in hybrid. It’s the first electric version of Lincoln’s Corsair compact luxury SUV. The GT’s all-electric range is expected to be over 25 miles. The car is expected to be available before the end of this year.

Audi introduced the all-electric 2020 e-tron Sportback, a coupé version of the 2019 e-tron with a 220-mile range. It will be available in the U.S. in fall 2020.

Volkswagen debuted its ID. Space Vizzion Concept, a fully electric concept car. It’s a low-slung station wagon with a 300-mile range. Volkswagen didn’t say when the vehicle will go on sale.

Karma Automotive introduced the electric concept car SC2 and the performance luxury gasoline-electric vehicle Revero GTS. The SC2 has 1,000 horsepower and a 350-mile range. The Revero GTS has a 360-mile range with a fully charged battery and a full gas tank.

Tesla introduced its new Cybertruck in Hawthorne, California last week. Although the announcement wasn’t made at the LA Auto Show, it might have been the most discussed EV launch of the week. The all-electric pick-up truck has a distinct retro-futuristic look. During the press conference, Tesla’s design chief smashed two of the supposedly shatterproof windows with a metal ball. The incident was widely discussed in national news outlets and on social media. The vehicle will be available with a 250, 300, and 500-mile range, and production will start in late 2021.

Overall, AutoMobility LA 2019 shows that the automotive industry is facing times of rapid change. Electric vehicles are driving the future of mobility, and more and more automakers are focusing on this emerging trend. We can't wait for next year's LA Auto Show and its 2020 EV debuts!

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Why your fleet management software business should eliminate telematics devices to reduce cost

Charlotte Kosche

2 min read

November 26, 2019
Fleet management
Live SiteStaging Site

Fleet management software isn’t easy to build, and it certainly isn’t easy to sell. For big and small fleets alike, integrating with a new product means taking risks. At the prospect of outfitting their whole fleet with a new technology and educating fleet managers and drivers on how to use it, many fleet owners become hesitant and think twice before they convert into paying customers.

This is why cost is incredibly important for fleet management software products. With lower upfront costs and smaller monthly SaaS fees, fleet owners are more willing to take the risk of trying out a new fleet management software product, and they are more likely to keep using the product for a long time.

Eliminate the use of telematics devices

When looking at the cost that fleet management software companies have to account for, one factor is particularly striking: aftermarket hardware. Unlike other SaaS companies, many fleet management software businesses need to bear the cost of acquiring, shipping, installing, and maintaining telematics devices.

At Smartcar, we have built an API solution that eliminates the need for telematics devices. It instead allows mobile and web apps to retrieve location, odometer, and other information vehicles using straightforward API requests. Our technology is not only easy to use and to integrate with, but it also helps fleet management software companies reduce cost while positively impacting their pricing and profits.

Here is how our customers have benefitted from using the Smartcar API:

No upfront acquisition cost

APIs can be used without any upfront purchasing costs. Fleet management software businesses don’t have to ask their customers to pay large amounts of money upfront or to sign finance plans. Customers aren’t locked into long-term contracts to amortize aftermarket hardware costs. Instead, they benefit from flexible month-to-month contracts that are easier to negotiate and sign.

No shipping cost

For fleet management software businesses, even small fees add up to large expenses. When a business is serving large fleets all over the country, shipping aftermarket hardware to customers is a large financial and logistical pain point. By taking advantage of embedded telematics already present in vehicles, companies no longer have to worry about shipping hardware to their customers.

No installment cost

Similarly to shipping hardware, installing the devices in every new fleet vehicle is a large pain point for many fleet management software companies. Businesses have to contract out work to local installer networks in every region, or they have to educate fleet managers on how to install the devices themselves. When using APIs, it takes only a few seconds to onboard new vehicles from any mobile or web app. This saves fleet management software companies time and money while making their customers more satisfied.

No maintenance cost

After a fleet management software company has signed a contract and onboarded their customer’s fleet to an API solution, there are no maintenance costs to be taken care of. Without telematics devices, there is no need to replace batteries or to replace damaged or failing hardware. This allows fleet management software companies to keep their monthly SaaS fee low and to retain customers for longer.

By eliminating the use of telematics devices, fleet management software companies make large savings while offering more attractive pricing for their customers. Fleet management software companies that use Smartcar’s API have been able to acquire customers more easily and increase user satisfaction, thus growing their business and profits overall.

To learn more about how your fleet management software company can use Smartcar’s technology, check out our website and schedule a demo. We’re happy to chat!

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