Smartphone-based customization coming to Hyundai and Kia electric cars

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Hyundai-Kia smartphone-based EV performance settings

Hyundai-Kia smartphone-based EV performance settings

Fully electric cars have a great potential to be customized and personalized, to a level that’s not entirely possible with gasoline models.

Unlike anything with a tailpipe, EVs don’t have to go through reams of emissions-test paperwork every time some of the basic parameters are changed.

Hyundai Motor Group (which includes Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis) revealed Monday an app that will give drivers more than just eco and sport modes and a few levels of brake regeneration. And this will almost certainly arrive without voiding your warranty as you might with similar types of modifications to gasoline vehicles.

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The technology, which lacks a clever name so far, is being called “smartphone electric vehicle pairing based performance adjustment technology.” And from the sound of it, it’s what that name suggests—letting users customize a greater depth of performance characteristics via a smartphone-app dashboard.

Hyundai-Kia smartphone-based EV performance settings

Hyundai-Kia smartphone-based EV performance settings

What could make this feature standout is the ability for users to easily carry their customized vehicle settings from car to car, via a profile downloaded from a server (using blockchain encryption).

So if you’re a part of a car-sharing fleet, or have multiple plug-in Kia or Hyundai vehicles in a household, each vehicle would automatically grab that profile from your phone. And, although it isn't confirmed in the press release, the software could probably unlock and start the vehicle as a key as well.

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Through the app, which will be paired directly to the vehicle, the owner will be able to adjust performance- and efficiency-related features, including the maximum torque output of the motor, regenerative braking capability, maximum speed, and acceleration and deceleration behavior.

The app will also be able to analyze remaining distance on a charge and suggest the right settings for remaining range. Another feature in the app will allow drivers to try other users’ custom settings, or to follow recommended settings from Hyundai based “on the condition of roads.”

Hyundai-Kia smartphone-based EV performance settings

Hyundai-Kia smartphone-based EV performance settings

Hyundai Motor Group confirmed that the tech is in the works for future Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Although it didn’t confirm any compatible models yet, it’s shown in photos accompanying the 2020 Kia Soul EV.

READ MORE: Finalist for Best Car to Buy 2019: Hyundai Kona Electric

The company is planning 23 electric vehicles and 44 “eco-friendly models” by 2025, and it teases that we’ll be seeing plenty more opportunities for customization in them.

Such a strategy sounds like a win-win, as it would simultaneously provide more control for enthusiasts who want it, as well as more ways for the general market to discover some of the superior points of EVs.

 
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