General Motors teased consumers two years ago when it showed off a Chevrolet Volt decked out with 4G LTE connectivity. More details were finally unveiled this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: the 2015 Chevy Volt will have a 4G LTE option and will offer consumers an as-yet-unpriced option with much faster wireless internet connection and more smartphone apps. GM's OnStar has teamed up with AT&T to come up with several mobile apps alongside the roadside assistance.
Not only can you find any public charging and alt-fuel station from a user-friendly source, you can also view it on your iPhone and iPad. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has launched a new mobile app so drivers can find any green fuel you can think of – biodiesel (B20), electricity, ethanol (E85), hydrogen, natural gas and propane – at nearly 12,750 stations in the US.
Chevrolet has added the Volt to its list of 2014 vehicles that will have Chevrolet MyLink with Siri available for iPhone users looking for infotainment perks and freedom from distracted driving. Siri Eyes Free Integration will also be available on the 2014 Camaro, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu and SS.
As an evolution and improvement of its OnStar technology, General Motors has announced that it will be expanding the RemoteLink Mobile App on most 2014 model year Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles. The new, aptly named RemoteLink Key Fob Services will allow users to remotely operate all of the same systems as the car's key fob, including locking and unlocking the doors and remote starting (on vehicles equipped with a factory remote starter) using a smartphone.
Electric vehicle carsharing is getting major buy-in from Zipcar, Car2go, and others. What about EV owners? Automotive supplier Continental thinks there's a technology that could revolutionize spontaneous rental of shared cars – a smartphone app!
Ford used the occasion of CES to announce that the Ford Developer Program, the automaker's own app developer program, would be open to anyone wanting to participate. Ford will provide its software developer kit to registered software writers who will then have access to code libraries and documentation to allow them to write apps to "enable two-way communication between mobile apps" and Sync-equipped Ford vehicles "including voice commands from the driver."
The average EV user drives 1,050 miles per month and spends around $30 dollars in charging costs, saves around $75 per month in fuel costs and sheds 360 pounds of CO2 emissions compared to "regular" drivers. Want to know the top three electric vehicle-ready cities in North America? Portland, Dallas, and Nashville.
In-car infotainment and emergency aids like Sync, OnStar, COMAND and iDrive might be the pin-ups who get the boys' attention, but there's another beauty in the corner quietly adding features and getting into better shape: Lexus Enform. Toyota's luxury brand hasn't put the bullhorn to work for Enform, and you can't find it in any Toyota yet, but it's still hard at work on the system.