There haven’t been any new blog posts here for a long time.
A lot has happened lately and this year starts with many changes that I would like to inform you about in this post.
The last year has been a very difficult and chaotic year for each of us.
Also for EVNotify and me as a private person.
This year, too, we will all face new challenges.
So this year starts with a special situation for EVNotify.
I had to make some serious decisions.
But first of all, what has happened in the last year?
Well, on the one hand, of course, there were some personal and health problems, which is why no new updates came for a long time. Nevertheless, a lot of work was done in the background, especially in the last few weeks and months. The increased distribution of EVNotify is of course very positive, but of course it has also presented me with new challenges recently. One of the longest downtimes or limited functionality over a longer period of time recently occurred. A lot had to be done in the background and new, more powerful servers had to be bought in order to guarantee the usual functionality and especially reliability. Some updates have been released, especially a lot of preparations for future functions. There was also a lot of work on the complete overhaul of the upcoming interface for V3, the next generation of app. Although the new API is not visible to everyone, it represents a notable, important milestone for the development of v3. Last year I also took over the PlugAndPlay project independently, which was previously done by openWB. This meant a lot of stress for me and presented me with many new challenges, with which I learned a lot. Of course, none of this was easy and, above all, not without risk. I had to pay a large amount of money out of my own pocket in order to be able to realize the project, a completely new version of the PlugAndPlay devices from EVNotify. There were a lot of teething problems, but the more devices built and sold, the more experienced I got and the better the problems that initially existed were fixed.
Whether in the area of PlugAndPlay or the new development of v3, which is in full swing, I was able to learn a lot. 2017 was the year the very first working version of EVNotify was released. A very big milestone for me - and for many people. The beginning of something big was created. Many updates followed. And at some point a completely new generation of app - v2. I learned from past mistakes. V2 isn’t perfect either - and v3 won’t be perfect either. The important thing is to keep getting better. And that is my claim. To be able to offer you the best. V3 will not appear overnight. It is important that this is not only functional, but also structurally maintainable. This is important in order to be able to add new functionalities quickly in the future. The past few years, the successes and failures, help make v3 a better and more efficient app generation.
V3 will not only get a lot of great new functions, but also offer new possibilities to continue to guarantee the financing of EVNotify. EVNotify started as a small idea and grew big. So big that I could no longer bear the costs privately and I needed ideas to cover the costs sufficiently. This went very well for a while thanks to voluntary donations, which is why EVNotify has become a sideline of mine. Nonetheless, this was of course not a fair and, above all, stable cost recovery option, which is why I very quickly needed new ideas to secure the financing and thus guarantee a stable and reliable operation. Of course, v3 and all important functions will remain free for the user in the future. Nevertheless, there will be a sustainable concept along with v3 to cover the running costs and the development. The focus is of course on maximum fairness. For example, there will be optional cosmetic functionalities for a one-time surcharge, e.g. the purchase of dashboard themes. But there will also be useful, new functions for an inexpensive membership. Here, too, the focus is on maximum customer friendliness. This means that users will have the opportunity to choose for themselves for which periods they want to purchase the optional membership or not. There will certainly also be the option to purchase a permanent membership for a one-time purchase price. Since not everyone can or would like to afford a membership, there will probably also be the function of looking at advertisements and temporarily activating the exclusive functions of membership.
It also continues with PlugAndPlay. A new, major update will follow in the coming days and weeks for the general public and offers new functions and many bug fixes and optimizations. I would like to thank everyone who has purchased the new PlugAndPlay devices and thus supported the development of EVNotify. When I took over the project from openWB at the time, I had to bear large financial burdens, which unfortunately have not yet been fully covered. Nevertheless, it continues very well. It will take some time before profits can really be made here, not just in the short term.
Through the PlugAndPlay sales and some other income that flows into the secondary business (Twitch, Amazon, programming, …), the sales limit has been reached in 2020. This means that from this year a lot will change in my accounting. Since the small business regulation no longer applies, I also have to show VAT. What gives me an advantage when purchasing components is unfortunately a disadvantage when selling goods, as I take 19% less in advance. After deducting expenses and taxes, there isn’t much left.
So I am now faced with a serious decision. I know that the PlugAndPlay devices may seem expensive, but from a business perspective they are still far too cheap to be profitable in a short period of time. Sufficient reserves must always be available, especially for warranty cases and the constant purchase of new hardware components. Many new insurance policies that have been taken out in the course of this naturally also continuously cost money. Nevertheless, I know that at the moment, due to Corona, many people are in a financially difficult situation. I would therefore not like to increase the prices for PlugAndPlay devices. So I had to decide - raise prices - so that people might get annoyed - or maybe find another way? What about PayPal? PayPal is a very popular form of payment. What many do not know, however, is that they charge very high transaction fees. This becomes very clear even with small amounts. For example, when purchasing a robot that provided voluntary support in the EVNotify web interface, almost 50 ct was deducted from € 2.49 as a fee. Taxes are incurred later on, so that ultimately not much was left. With the PlugAndPlay devices this was just under € 9 or more - just for the transaction fee. For foreign accounts, for example from Switzerland, the fee is even many times higher. Not infrequently, fees of almost € 30 were then due. Of course, this further reduced the already very low profit margin of the PlugAndPlay devices. And what for? PayPal offers real-time transactions. However, this is not relevant for PlugAndPlay devices, because these are manufactured manually by me personally. It does not matter whether the money is credited immediately or on the next working day, as it does not affect the estimated delivery time. In order not to have to increase the prices, I made the difficult decision to remove PayPal as a means of payment. This is the only way I can offer the same prices. Ordering the PlugAndPlay devices via the website is no longer possible via PayPal - instead there is only one button, as was previously possible, via which an email is sent with a pre-made form, whereupon an invoice is created shortly afterwards , which can then be made by classic bank transfer. I know that this does not offer the same convenience as a PayPal payment method, where you can settle the payment with a few clicks - it not only simplifies the accounting, it also saves time and money. This is the only way to keep the price current. And, and now there is at least one more good news: This is the only way to officially deliver to all EU countries from now on. For a shipping flat rate of € 20, deliveries are now not only available to Germany. This is a big and important step towards getting closer to the goal of bringing EVNotify to the masses. And this step is only possible by removing PayPal as a payment method, because, especially abroad, the fees are simply very high. Even if it is now officially possible via the website shop.evnotify.de, the international website shop.evnotify.com will be available in English soon.
Even if this represents a loss of comfort, I still think it’s a fair compromise.
This also has an impact on the voluntary support options. Both the robots and the temporary cats in the advent calendar from EVNotify Web can no longer be bought again. Existing purchases will of course remain credited.
This, too, was of course a difficult decision, but one that can only hold the prices through consistent implementation. Nevertheless, the elimination of this possibility of support will of course also result in financial losses. Hence the reference here that there are still many, even free, options to further support the development (more on this at donate.evnotify.de). Donations via paypal.me/GPlay97 are still possible and welcome. There will also be new possibilities for support in the future.
So what does the near future look like?
On the one hand, a major new update for the PlugAndPlay devices is currently being tested and prepared for the rollout. The reason for the long delays is quality assurance. It is important that the devices work reliably. Mistakes are not only annoying, but in the worst case they are also very, very expensive for me. In order to keep the financial risk as low as possible, the test phase is unfortunately longer than, for example, the app, especially in the case of major changes.
The app also continues vigorously in the background. Some time ago a lot of work was done in the background to prepare the future new API interface for v3. This brings significant improvements and many new functions. This is also designed for many integrations in the future, e.g. for a smart home. This time there will also be complete and good documentation so that you can integrate it yourself. V3 itself will not only learn from the many mistakes of v1 and v2 and thus make a lot of things better - it will also be based on completely new technology and be completely native. This of course slows down the development at the beginning, since a lot has to be newly developed and conceptualized, but it offers many advantages in terms of functionality and performance and provides the foundation for a lot of exciting updates in the near future. It is planned to start the first internal test phase with v3 very soon. This will initially function as a kind of web app replacement. And promptly also have the opportunity to interact with the OBD2 dongle. The focus here is also on broader support for more dongles - and also on new vehicles. It remains exciting.
I still have a lot of work to do. These are not easy times for me. For us. I can do it. We can do it.
Often times we face difficult decisions in life. You can’t please everyone, and I can understand the annoyance of some decisions. However, I would like to offer you the best possible and try to be fair, but I still have to make sure that the reliability can be guaranteed in the future.
I wish you a very good start into the new year 2021. There is a lot to come and it will be great. Let’s look forward to the good times, even if the hard times are still ahead. Thank you for your understanding and I hope to give you a lot of detailed information about new updates soon.