EVE for Tesla extends its connected car platform for the Model S and Model X with the ability to control your smart home
Through a recent partnership with Wink, connected car startup Evolved Vehicle Environments (EVE) has extended upon its popular browser-based EVE for Tesla app – a virtual control center for the Model S and Model X – with new features that will allow drivers and passengers to communicate directly with their smart home products. The new service called EVEConnect claims to provide fingertip control of your home lighting, security monitoring, door locks, thermostat, and a seemingly endless list of internet-enabled devices, wherever your Tesla travels take you.
If you’re a lifehack freak like me, and someone that’s constantly searching for shortcuts to mundane tasks in life such as using keys to unlock your door, flipping light switches, and even having to manually brew coffee in the morning, any promise of simplifying through automation will likely pique your interest. It did for me and that’s how I became a smart home addict.
What is EVE Connect?
The EVE team has developed a clean-looking app that loads directly through the Model S and Model X browser, but best of all the interface mimics the layout of Tesla’s own software making for a seamless visual blend into the car’s native ecosystem.
Loading EVE Connect in the Tesla was no more difficult than launching a website from the in-car browser. Browse to http://teslaapps.net, login with credentials (tip: create your user account, password and EVE Connect settings from a desktop ahead of time), and begin poking around.
The platform contains a suite of “apps”, ranging anywhere from a basic weather app, to more advanced apps capable of tracking personal notes, miles driven, and checking email. EVE Connect is an additional service located towards the top of the menu bar and is specific to interacting with smart home features.
I had already set up my Wink Hub, a series of Connected CREE LED lightbulbs and a connected Schlage touchscreen deadbolt, making for a good “1.0 version” of a smart home. Using Wink’s app, one can link together an endless combination of home actions depending on various triggers. Triggers can be based on time of day, location, sunset/sunrise, and other triggers.
With EVE Connect running from within the Tesla browser, the app is capable of detecting your vehicle’s location and subsequently identify three events: when you’re leaving home, on the way home, or arriving home. Each event would then trigger a sequence of smart home actions that are tied to it.
What can I do with EVE Connect?
First things first. Before hopping into the Tesla and taking EVE Connect for a test ride, I had to set up my smart home “shortcuts”. Shortcuts are a series of actions that can be linked to one another through the use of a Wink Hub. Using the Wink app, I configured basic home automation actions that suited my weekday and weekend lifestyle. I then linked those shortcuts to the events found in EVE Connect.
I started with a basic shortcut to turn on my entryway lights whenever I arrive home past sunset. Before I knew it, my one simple shortcut turned into several more shortcuts along with a 10x increase in the number of smart devices (thanks to some impulse buying across Amazon). Here’s what I ended up with.
Smart Home Shortcuts:
- Turn on the patio and foyer lights when it’s sunset
- Turn off all lights except the living room lights, only on weekends, when away from home for more than 10 minutes
- Automatically unlock the front door, turn on the kitchen lights, turn on the air conditioning (or heater), and play my favorite songs when arriving home
- Turn off all lights and smart home devices accidentally left powered on each night at 2am
How well does EVE Connect work?
I was admittedly skeptical of EVE Connect‘s usefulness as a smart home and notification device not because the app was lacking in feature set and overall usability. In fact, it was quite the opposite. EVE Connect is beautifully thought through, well designed and is packed full of features.
My skepticism however stemmed from the fact that EVE Connect is browser-based and thus limited to the performance of the Model S and Model X browser itself. Using a 3G connection or even LTE, getting a response from the Tesla touchscreen takes patience. However, if you’re using EVE Connect for its ability to automatically trigger home automation tasks based on proximity to home, this could be the app for you. We’re told that a future version of EVE will integrate with IFTTT and allow users to further customize their smart home set up.
At $5.99 per month, EVE Connect is a small price to pay for the ability to launch home automation scenes directly from the Tesla touchscreen. Tap on a shortcut and, in addition to turning off lights, doors will lock and the temperature will set to energy-saving mode. Hook up your shortcut to EVE Connect’s “Arriving Home” event, and your smart home will automatically turn on the lights, adjust temperature and play your favorite music to welcome you home.
You can’t get cooler than that.