The ABRP app can – for supported vehicle models – connect via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to a user-installed OBD BLE adapter in the car. This allows the ABRP app to communicate instantly with your car to read out SoC (battery %), and many other parameters which keeps the ABRP app up to date with your car as you drive. This works for both iOS and Android devices and is available for all ABRP users, not only Premium members.
First: A big fat security WARNING
All known OBD BLE dongles on the market have very limited security – they will happily accept Bluetooth connections from anyone at certain times. Lower-quality dongles often allow pairing at any time. This means anyone passing by your car at the right time could potentially pair with your dongle and unlock the car with the right software. It has nothing to do with the ABRP app specifically. Do not leave the OBD dongle connected when you are not in the car!
Why live data?
When you connect your EV to your ABRP account you will get the live State of Charge and many other parameters into the ABRP app in real-time. (Exactly which parameters depend on the vehicle and our knowledge of it.)
This means that as you drive your EV, ABRP will constantly update the plan in the background and tell you if there is any reason to change plans. For example, if you consume more energy than initially planned, ABRP will find a new charger to stop at sooner. Also, traffic, weather, and charger availability will affect the updated plan if you are an ABRP Premium member.
With an OBD connection, we get detailed enough information about your vehicle to make a unique calibrated consumption model for you. This means we will automatically adapt the plans according to how your vehicle behaves, including anything which affects consumption such as fancy wheels, roof box, or trailer!
What OBD BLE device should I get?
We cannot recommend any specific model, because the OBD dongle market is a jungle. Devices may not work for EV data, with certain phone models and potentially even with some car models. One hard requirement is that it uses BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) for connection – not classic Bluetooth.
But since you are going to ask anyway:
The OBDLink CX is high quality and works with ABRP (with the latest firmware installed). It limits the window when it is available for pairing, making it slightly more secure. The manufacturer even claims “Safe to leave plugged in”.
The Vgate vLinker MC+ (yes Plus needed) has a physical pairing button and may be safe to leave plugged in. It does change its address every time you unplug it, so you will have to re-link (and re-pair) it again then.
The Maclean MCE 200 is inexpensive and works well for us (but not on all Android devices). It has no security whatsoever.
The Vgate iCar Pro BLE 4.0 also works fine on all devices we have tested it with. Still no security.
If you find an OBD BLE device that actually has a physical pairing button or another somewhat secure way of only letting you connect to it, let us know.
How to connect your OBD
Please see this section in our FAQ: How can I link my vehicle for live data?
My BLE OBD Dongle does not show up in the OBD Setup Dialog!
Please see this section in our FAQ: I cannot seem to link my vehicle via OBD, what can I do?