BMW i3 has a large screen ideal for navigation. Google is outstanding at finding your destination. It is possible to combine the best of both worlds.
BMW has a really good navigation application in the i3. Enter an address, and it suggests a good route and gives clear directions on the large well-placed display. Perfect!? The challenge is that no one reasonably knows the address to IKEA, the concert hall, the football stadium or any other destination.
Instead of using the BMW navigation I find myself pulling up the phone, googling the destination, and using the Google navigation app. It is at least as good as the BMW navigation but the phone has a small screen and is not well placed.
The map feature in the BMW iRemote app (on the phone) is a step in the right direction. The interface is based on Google maps but has been supplemented by layers for
- range (the map shows how far you can drive with the remaining electricity)
- destinations (previously entered – even those entered in the car)
In the search field, you can google anything, such as Ikea or wherever you are heading. A clever feature is that the search function also suggests matching contacts, so if you have addresses to your friends, customers, etc in the phone it is easy to get directions.
Once a destination is selected, address and telephone number is shown. The most important button, however, is the one that sends the destination to your car. You can use iRemote before you get into the car, or while in the car, and have the destination appear on the large display in the car. In the ConnectedDrive menu the destinations appear as messages that can be opened to begin navigation. This is a great solution!
What is missing is to have BMW iRemote registered to receive destinations via other apps. It is easier to use apps you already know and then easily send the destination directly from them than to go into a new interface developed by BMW that will never offer the same features to search etc. If iRemote could receive destinations from other apps, it would also be possible to send a location from an event in the calendar, an address in a text message, a location in a chat, etc.
From what I understand it should already now be possible to send destinations from Google Maps on your computer to your BMW. Sign into Google and go to www.google.com/maps/sendtocar to add the car. I believe that the same address used on BMW ConnectedDrive should be used as ‘Account’.
When you click a destination in Google maps, you can then click on the ‘Send to device’ followed by ‘Send to car’.
The car added in sendtocar should appear and after pressing the ‘Send’ button the destination should be available in the i3 ConnectedDrive. When I try, however, I get a confirmation in Google maps that the destination has been sent, but it never shows up in the car. Has anyone succeeded with this?