A future with fewer clicks: How car APIs are redefining EV apps

Winona Rajamohan

Content Marketing Manager

The Biden administration signed a new $1 trillion infrastructure bill into law, which provides more opportunities to empower EV adoption and cleaner energy. EV businesses use Smartcar’s electric vehicle API to accelerate the production and distribution of EV solutions for crucial pain points in the market.

📝 Here's a summary of what's ahead (Click into any section):

  • An EV API makes it easier for apps and services to communicate with vehicles without hardware — but maintaining fragmented APIs for each EV brand can become a bottleneck.
  • Apps can use EV charging API endpoints like state of charge, battery levels, and location to remotely start and stop charge for intelligent charging.
  • Streamlined API management enables businesses to help utilities manage electrical grids by optimizing charging schedules and analyzing real-time EV charging data.

In ten years, what might the state of mobility look like?

The average driver can afford an electric vehicle. They aren’t worried about charging their vehicle on any kind of trip, whether it’s to the grocery store or on a family vacation. They can easily locate and reserve stations, make payments, and manage charging. They’re connected to utility providers and help electrical grids depend on renewable energy.

Now imagine doing all of this with a few clicks.

This ideal landscape requires seamless communication between EV manufacturers, solution providers, utilities, policymakers, and consumers. That’s why businesses are finding opportunities in connected car APIs to develop integrated software that can meet policy goals and consumer demand at scale.


Why build EV apps with an API?

An API allows EV businesses to access data from third parties without hardware. It enables software to easily communicate with vehicles, utilities, charging stations, or other solution providers. But with more electric vehicle brands coming into the market, building integrations with each third-party API slows down production and distribution.

Mobility businesses can save time, money, and engineering resources by working with platforms that open up access to EV APIs with a single integration. Smartcar's electric vehicle API streamlines connections with 22 compatible vehicle brands, allowing EV apps to prioritize technology development for overcoming the complexities of transportation electrification — not on building and maintaining API connections.

Here’s how businesses have successfully implemented APIs to scale existing EV solutions and develop new services targeted at the EV market.

Source: Automotive News

Apps improving the EV charging experience

In the United States, there are approximately 41,000 public charging stations. But the inconvenience of accessing these stations today makes this number seem a lot smaller.

It surfaces a growing gap that EV charging businesses are racing to fill to reach the Biden administration’s goal of 500,000 chargers by 2030. This race extends beyond the US, with global policies exerting the same pressure on EV charging infrastructures to reduce CO2 emissions.

But first, EV businesses must work in tandem with government policy to remove consumer bottlenecks while more stations are integrated into public and commercial spaces.

Car APIs enable EV apps to address bottlenecks in EV ownership — like EV charging, cost, and range anxiety — across popular EV brands.
Source: Consumer Reports 2021

With an electric vehicle API, apps can remotely access EV data like charging status, battery levels, vehicle attributes, or location to help drivers optimize their charging experience and reach levels of convenience offered by internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

Easily find and use chargers ⛽

Carge enables seamless charging across thousands of EV charging stations in Europe. The app launched its EV Connect feature to improve the charging experience by providing real-time insights on the vehicle battery.

A car API helps Carge streamline integrations across 40+ EV models in Europe. Carge uses Smartcar to access a vehicle’s battery level, charging status, and odometer to help drivers monitor battery levels during trips, start and stop charging, and reserve a charging station when the car’s battery range falls below a set distance.

Charge vehicles without an app 📱

The Plug & Go charging network by eDRV is the first app-less charging experience for EV drivers. By using a car API to identify a vehicle’s VIN and location, charging can automatically be started and stopped at any charging station in the network.

Drivers first connect their car on the eDRV website with a one-time registration. They will be brought through the Smartcar Connect flow to allow the API permissions for a vehicle’s VIN, location, battery level, charging status, and to start and stop charge.

Build rich EV data sets 🗄

Businesses connect with EVs using a car API to access real-time data for building software applications, research databases, and vehicle maintenance reports.

With permission to access car data like mileage, battery levels, and charging statuses, Recurrent provides drivers with battery performance reports for used electric vehicles. Data accessed through the Smartcar API is transparent and accurate, enabling Recurrent to build a cross-manufacturer EV battery data set.


Manage electrical grids with EV software

When Smartcar developed its API endpoints for electric vehicles, we wanted to enable mobility solutions to scale charging infrastructures by strengthening the electric grid.

Supporting an uptick in charging stations calls for collaboration between EV charging companies and utility providers to lower electricity infrastructure costs, prevent blackouts for residents, and reduce emissions from an uncontrolled increase in electricity generation.

EV grid management will help reduce emissions by electricity transporation as EV charging becomes more common

A car API reduces friction in grid management by simplifying communication between EVs and utilities to introduce more sustainable charging habits.

Optimizing charging schedules for off-peak hours 🔌

With a cloud solution, peak-load demand on the grid can be reduced through managed charging — when EV charging is scheduled during periods of time where there is less demand for electricity.

Apps like Optiwatt and FlexCharging use car APIs to facilitate communication between EV drivers and utilities to reduce the impact on grids. Smartcar’s API endpoints for battery levels and state of charge (SoC) allow solution providers to accurately monitor a vehicle’s battery and immediately start and stop charging in rhythm with electricity fluctuations on the grid.

Utilities benefit from partnering with intelligent charging businesses to ensure a consistent and comfortable supply of electricity for residents, especially in lower-income and high-density locations. Managed charging done automatically also improves the EV experience by taking the onus off drivers to manually monitor their charging schedules.

Develop new technologies for sustainable energy usage ⚡

A hardware-free entry point to electric vehicles gives businesses accurate, immediate, and real-time data for seamless communication between different networks to balance energy usage.

Utilities can develop algorithms and programs to start and stop charging at scale across multiple EV brands in a particular location to manage power usage.

Krafthem is a Europe-based utility provider that does this by sending a simple API request to access a vehicle’s SoC, charging status, odometer, and location. On the other hand, Rolling Energy Networks accesses this vehicle data to help utilities build load management programs and conduct EV research for grid integration.

Another way to reduce the load on grids is through battery energy storage systems. Emulate uses an API to manage charging between electric vehicles and virtual batteries to increase the efficiency of energy usage from retail electricity providers.

EV businesses are innovating the future of transportation

Electric vehicles mark a new generation of mobility where cars are more integrated with software than ever before. It signals a future of transportation where connectivity removes barriers holding traditional auto industries back — like insurance and tolling — and scale services for digitally adept drivers on the go.

APIs built for electric vehicles empower businesses with an easier way to disrupt traditional methods of vehicle data collection for more resource-efficient production, stable integrations, and user adoption. Learn more about Smartcar’s API endpoints and how you can use them by signing up for a demo.


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

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