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 keep 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.
My BLE OBD Dongle does not show up in the OBD Setup Dialog!
To give everyone a great user experience we limited the devices the setup dialog will show to the ones we know are working.
Of course, we could not test every single OBD BLE dongle on the market so with some help from you we can add support for more dongles.
Install nRF Connect for Mobile on your Android / iOS device
Connect your OBD dongle and make sure it is powered on
Start nRF Connect for Mobile and let it scan for nearby BLE devices
Find your dongle in the scan result list and hit connect
Check out the different services the dongle provides. Expand every “Unknown Service” and check if it provides at least 2 characteristics, one having the property NOTIFY and another one with WRITE.
Open up a feature request on Upvoty so we can add support for your dongle. Let us know the green marked UUIDs for the Service, NOTIFY Characteristic and the WRITE Characteristic in the feature request.