Remote climate and app error

Discussion in 'Prime Technical Discussion' started by Ferretguy, May 4, 2021.

  1. Ferretguy

    Ferretguy Junior Member

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    I have just leased a 2021 Prius Prime XLE. Part of the sales pitch was that the car could be started via the Toyota app from anywhere. I have since found out that’s not quite true. The app should start the climate control, a/c or heat. I have successfully done that one in every 20+ tries. The error I get is ‘server connect error’. The fob doesn’t start it at all. The sales person said there were network issues that Toyota was working on and ‘when it rains in Texas you’ll have issues’. My sticker says it comes with Safety Connect but nothing about the remote climate connect. After several futile calls to Toyota (one suggested I use the sos button to get tech support, I finally found someone to help, sort of. She said my app which I connect to all available remote services did not show up on their end. (I have an iPhone 11 Pro) but she said I should be able to use the remote climate control start. She opened a ticket (which I thought some had opened two weeks ago) and I hope to hear from IT tomorrow.

    Anyone else have this issue? I have thought about returning the Prime and get another car altogether if they can fix it.
     
  2. schja01

    schja01 One of very few in Chicagoland

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    How’s Verizon coverage where the car is located? When it fails is the car always in the same location? Does it work if you take the car to a different location? Since it’s problematic even with the key fob I’m leaning away from it being an app or telematics issue.
     
  3. Ferretguy

    Ferretguy Junior Member

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    Interesting. Coverage seems to be fine here. I have Comcast Mobile on my phone. Does the car use Verizon? I tried it at the dealership which is 15 miles north of me and no luck there either. And it failed the other side of my town. Haven’t tried it anywhere else. I’ll experiment today. Hopefully Toyota will get back to me with a more definitive answer.
     
  4. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    This may not be specific to your car. I have had a similar problem with my 2020 PP LE and others are reporting similar issues. Toyota's implementation of the Connected Service is pathetic. On my 2020 PP LE, I have opted out of entire Connected Services.

    Here are examples of other threads complaining about the connected service on PP.

    2021 Prius Prime LE vs. XLE Remote Connect Question | PriusChat
    New 21 Prime limited will not start car | PriusChat

    And my write-up on 2020 PP LE Toyota App issues and how I dealt with it.
    No more Entune for 2020 Prius Prime, but... | PriusChat
     
  5. schja01

    schja01 One of very few in Chicagoland

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    As far as Verizon I can only speak to the 2018 Prime. I saw a mention on Reddit and when I was involved in troubleshooting a Prime App issue I asked. The engineer said he could not offer that info unsolicited but since I asked a direct question and asked for confirmation he did say it was in fact Verizon. Ymmv.
     
  6. Ferretguy

    Ferretguy Junior Member

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    Still waiting on Toyota

    So, if you were sold a car that ‘automatically started from anywhere in the world’ and it didn’t, would you take it back for another car?
     
  7. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Prius Prime was never equipped with Remote Connect for starting the car (remote engine start) which is one feature of the Connected Service for other Toyota models. The only remote connectivity that was mentioned for the PP in the Toyota publication is Remote Climate control.

    See my comment in this thread: New 21 Prime limited will not start car | PriusChat
     
  8. Ferretguy

    Ferretguy Junior Member

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    Just got off the phone and they said the same thing they told me three weeks ago. “The telemetics would get back to by tomorrow”. Yesterday they said today. I also found out the the EV Remote won’t work if there is no charge in the main battery. That would be a deal killer. All very frustrating.
     
  9. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    The Remote Climate control, either using the phone app via Connected Service telematics or using the fob buttons only works with a sufficient amount of traction battery charge. That's because the remote climate control uses only the electronic heat pump powered by the traction battery. Using it will drain the battery, thus reduces the EV range. Even when it is working, the moment you unlock the door and open it, the HVAC stops, causing all the conditioned air to escape as soon as you open the door. Also for a very cold climate, the heat pump is not effective thus you can not heat the cabin when the ambient temp is below 14F. For those reasons, I find the all remote climate to be just useless for my need.
     
  10. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    I can't think of a reason to start my car from anywhere around the world. All that says to me is:

    1. That my car and my phone are now being tracked by the manufacturer, and
    2. That anyone with access to the manufacturer's IT systems could remote start (and stop?) my car at their whim.

    If I had been given that information prior to sale I would not want that car.
     
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  11. Ferretguy

    Ferretguy Junior Member

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    Yes, I know (and knew then) the start ‘anywhere in the world’ was an exaggeration. What I wanted in this car and what was promised I have was the ability to warm up my car in the winter or cool down my car in the summer remotely. Many, many cars have this option. The actual question is if a car salesman told you the car they were selling had XYZ function and then you found out it did not, would you take it back or have the dealership make it right somehow.
     
  12. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    The Prius does have that function. Just press and hold the A/C button on the key fob. That will turn on the climate controls to however you set them last AFAIK.
     
  13. Ferretguy

    Ferretguy Junior Member

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    Yes, that doesn’t work either.
     
  14. PiPLosAngeles

    PiPLosAngeles Senior Member

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    It won't work for something like three minutes after the door is shut.
     
  15. Ferretguy

    Ferretguy Junior Member

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    Got it. Yes, I can get the fob to work. Toyota and the dealership are working on the app issue. Online Toyota shows the app with door lock and unlock buttons on either side of the main start button. I don't have those. Just for Limited edition?
     
  16. Ferretguy

    Ferretguy Junior Member

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    UPDATE: So this what I found out after spending tow and a half hours at the dealership troubleshooting the problem with them. (might be mentioned elsewhere) For the Remote Climate Control to work on either the App of the Fob four things must happen. 1) Doors are locked 2) You are 30' from car 3) Fob not near car and 4) There must be 20% charge in the Hybrid battery. That last one is the killer. Currently I don't have a charger (live in a townhouse/condo) so rarely am I charged but sometime I get enough traction charge that the app worked, which is why it was intermittent.

    Now, the dealer and I are having talks. I told him his salesperson sold me a car the "can start the engine remotely" which is not exactly true. (He also told me that rain in Texas could screw things up on the network the car uses). The dealer says "The car works as intended." Which is true, but not what I leased. I am of the mind to swap it out for a regular Prius with remote start like I used to have. He is of the mind to pay to have a charger installed at my house. IF my home is able to sustain a load from a 240v that might be ok, except since I park my car outside, I will still have to go out in the winter at least a couple of times a week to plug and unplug. Might as well just walk out and turn it on!

    So what is the nuisance tax for all of this? Do I press for another car? I do like the Prime, it's just not what I was sold. Do I take the charger and bite the bullet? As far as I can tell the install for the charger would be $1K-$3K.

    Sorry for being long winded. Very frustrating.
     
  17. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    When we bought our 2017 Prime, being able to start and warm up the car was an important consideration. The salesperson said that the car had a remote start as an option for several hundred dollars. That did not seem unreasonable. However, when we took delivery of the car, we were told that we had to bring it back the following week for the technician to "enable" the remote starter.

    That was fortunate, because after reading through the manual, it became apparent that the electric remote climate was all we really wanted (there is no need to warm up an engine in an electric car.) And it was unclear logically how a remote starter would work on a car that didn't need to have its engine started.

    We called the dealer to ask additional questions. Only then did we learn that the remote starter was not a Toyota Prime option which needed to be "enabled" but was an after-market non-Toyota accessory being sold and installed by the dealership. We cancelled the item and were refunded that portion of our purchase price.

    But here is a PriusChat post from someone who did have an aftermarket remote starter installed on her Prius Prime. You can read through that discussion thread for more information, including the brand name and a link to the manufacturer's info.

    Generally speaking, you don't warm up the engine in a Prime because you almost always start in electric mode. Cabin heat is provided by the electrically-driven heat pump which is powered by the traction battery. In fact, for safety reasons, you cannot start the Prime's gasoline engine when the Prime is plugged into its charging cable.

    However, as was learned by the person who had the remote starter installed, if the Prime is not plugged in, the after-market remote starter can start the gasoline engine just as it would on a conventional automobile. As you don't plan to leave your Prime plugged in, this may be acceptable for your needs.

    I don't know any more that what I've read here in PriusChat and I cannot speak to the details of whether the climate control comes on at your pre-set temperature when the remote starter activates the engine.

    The one thing I do know is that Toyota sales people are poorly trained in understanding and explaining the operation and features of the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Add that ignorance to a sales philosophy of "if I don't know the answer I can make something up" and you're frequently going to have frustrated, unhappy and angry customers.
     
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  18. Ferretguy

    Ferretguy Junior Member

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    Thanks Old Bear. I checked with an electrician who said he could install a charger but since the cable has to go passed another parking spot it might not be safe. Waiting on a second opinion.

    I will look into the aftermarket remote starter.

    I agree that the entirety of Toyota is poorly trained. The GM is sitting down with the salesperson today and will get back to me about what they can do. At this point I would almost rather have them swap out with a Prius Limited or similar rather than to have a charger or after market remote install, it I rather doubt they will.
     
    #18 Ferretguy, May 12, 2021
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
  19. Banksy

    Banksy Active Member

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    Leave it to prius chat to find my same issue

    I have a 2021 LE

    My fob won't allow me to turn the AC on remotely and when I try to use the app I get this error
     

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