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[Test Drive] - ë-Routes: the intelligent route planner from Citroën

The Citroën C4 X electric has the ëRoutes application

Launched last June and available for download since 19 October, the ë-Routes application allows electric Citroëns to benefit from an intelligent route planner which, linked to the vehicle's data, allows the route to be adapted in real time to the vehicle's fuel consumption and charge level, adjusting the latter if necessary.

Simple but slow installation

Recent Citroën customers will already be familiar with the MyCitroën application, which allows them to carry out various operations on their vehicle. It is possible to know exactly where the car is parked, to activate the air conditioning or heating, or even to schedule charging for off-peak hours for electric versions. MyCitroën also makes it possible to monitor the stages of maintenance based on the actual mileage of the car, thus simplifying the daily life of the brand's customers.

To benefit from ë-Routes, it is therefore necessary to activate the service via the MyCitroën application, which takes a few hours or even a few days. Once the service has been activated, you will receive an email containing a numerical code which you can use to access the application by clicking on ë-Routes in your MyCitroën application. During this first use, the MyCitroën application will refer you to the Google or Apple store to download the ë-Routes application, which is a separate application from MyCitroën. You will then be able to use the ë-Routes services directly on your smartphone or on the screen of your car, without having to go through the MyCitroën application, thus simplifying the procedures and the user experience.

Installation is therefore relatively simple and does not require any special skills other than a little patience, as the service may take some time to activate, but once activated, using Routes is really enjoyable and relevant.

Routes application interface on the vehicle screen
The ë-Routes interface on the touchscreen of the Citroën C4

An on-board planner

Until now, electric Citroëns have not benefited from the services of a journey planner, which is essential for electric cars, especially for long journeys that still require careful preparation. External applications allow you to plan your journey, but they are not connected to the vehicle and their contribution is relatively limited, as the routes and recharges offered are only theoretical.

This is the strength of the new ë-Routes application, which is connected to the vehicle's data in real time, allowing the route to be adapted according to the vehicle's consumption, the battery's charge level and the available connections. In fact, ë-Routes is also connected to public charging points, which is one of its great strengths, because it makes the journey much more zen to the extent that it knows if the charging point it offers you is in good condition. available to recharge your car. No more stress, as the application uses the actual consumption of your car at that moment, as well as the state of charge of the battery, to guide you to a charging station that is actually available.

Interface of the ëRoutes application on smartphone
ëRoutes offers several available settings

In use, ë-Routes is practical, easy to use and fluid, offering numerous options to suit your needs. For example, you can request a route with short or long charging stops, or let the app optimise the route for the shortest total journey time. You can also set a route based on your car's current charge level or prepare your route with a predicted battery level, for example if you want to charge your car to 100% before starting a long journey. You can also request a minimum charge level below which you do not want to drive, and the application will take this into account. Finally, as with any navigation application, you can request to avoid motorways, tolls, other ferries and borders.

However, ë-Routes is not only useful for travel planning, but also for everyday use, as it allows you to instantly check the availability of charging stations near your home and, if necessary, direct you to one. Finally, you can also choose to favour or exclude certain charging networks, or define a favourite charging network or even one to be used exclusively; the application will take your preferences into account when calculating the route.

All these settings are available on your smartphone, but surprisingly not in the car, and this is one of the application's drawbacks. In fact, ë-Routes requires the car to be stopped in order to request a route, which is obviously positive and necessary from the point of view of road safety, but it is a shame to have to stop in order to change your destination when the passenger could do it, as the application is controlled via the central multimedia screen.

Similarly, ë-Routes is currently lacking in functionality, as it is not possible to register an address (e.g. home or work) or to create staged itineraries to check if there are terminals on the roads you want to borrow. It will be necessary to plan the itinerary each time at the beginning of the journey, which is a bit unfortunate. In addition, it is not possible to go to a destination and see what terminals are available around that destination, the only terminals available are those located near the car associated with the application. Nothing serious in itself, but these features are very useful for defining the desired battery level once you have arrived at your destination, which is the specificity of the application. If terminals are available near your destination, you can choose a low battery level on arrival, thus reducing the number of stops necessary to recharge, and conversely, if terminals are not available near your destination, you will have to request a high battery level from the application in order to have reserves on arrival. These shortcomings should be corrected in the next updates of the application, which will make ë-Routes one of the most successful applications.

In conclusion, the ë-Routes application is a real breakthrough for Citroën because it finally gives its electric cars an intelligent route planner based on the best algorithm on the market, connected to the car and able to adapt the journey in real time according to the vehicle's data. This is a major plus point for the brand, which now has all the technology expected by electric car customers to facilitate and simplify the daily use of the car, especially on long journeys, while eliminating the stress of autonomy and recharging, with all the information available in real time, allowing the application to adapt if necessary. If ë-Routes seems fluid and easy to use, its use in the car is rather limited, while many options are available on smartphones. For the time being, the lack of certain functionalities prevents it from becoming the reference navigation application, it will only be limited to long journeys where it will have the ultimate weapon with the connection to the vehicle, which recovers the data in real time, allowing it to adjust the route if necessary, taking into account the terminals available for charging, while adapting it if the same terminals are no longer available en route. With the next expected updates, the ë-Routes application will become a reference application and a perfect companion for Citroëns with electric drive, offering worry-free travel as the application will never leave you without a solution. With its excellent navigation, fluidity and ease of use, ë-Routes is quickly becoming an indispensable application that will allow the Citroën C4, C4 electric cars to be on a par with their direct competitors.

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