BMW launched an app that gives conventional car drivers a hypothetical taste of electric-car living, but without the real-world hassle of range anxiety. The free BMW Evolve app is available for iPhone and Android phones and you don't need an electric vehicle to try it out. In fact, that's the point--the app is a little like a Tamagotchi for electric cars.
Using the app, each day you start out with a 100-mile range for your pretend EV. The app tracks your driving distance using the phone's GPS, and lets you "get charged" at destinations that offer electric car charging to increase your range.
At the end of the trip, you park the hypothetical EV. The app tallies your trip length and distance, and tells how much time you spent while driving, parked, and charging. It will also tell you how much less CO2 emissions you would have added to the environment and how many gallons of gas you could have saved if you had actually been driving an electric vehicle.
Is it exactly like driving an an electric car? Hardly. While it's a decent estimate for tracking distances, it appears the app doesn't track speed, weather, or terrain, all of which impact driving range. But it looks like a fun exercise to see how often, if ever, you drive more than 100 miles a day. And it could tell you if you're ready to swap the gas pump for an electric cord when the BMW ActivE is released this fall.