Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids like the 2011 Chevrolet Volt (and we'll let you decide which of those two categories General Motors' green halo car fits into...) promise to save drivers money on fuel bills. But, just as operating expenses for traditional cars rises and falls with the price of gas, so too will battery-powered cars vary in their running costs as electric utility rates fluctuate.
GM has announced a new website for Chevrolet Volt owners called MyVolt.com that seeks to help consumers keep their electric charging rates in check. Statistics for battery usage and fuel economy will be transferred to the user's Facebook and Twitter accounts, and utility companies are expected to use this data to help owners choose times to plug their cars into the grid. These utility companies can also make sure their power grids are up to the challenge of keeping EVs on the road.
Other techy benefits offered to Volt owners include a display to show whether the car is plugged in (and whether it's charging at 120 or 240 volts), the creation of a charging schedule to make use of the best rates and the ability to monitor current battery state of charge and predicted range. One intriguing feature will allow OnStar to create its own charging schedule where the program will choose the lowest rates possible in order to achieve a full charge by a set time.
There will also be a provision to remotely start the Volt to get the interior up to a set temperature, and future updates will allow further customization of the car, such as setting radio presets. Want to know more? Check out the official press release after the break.
[Source: General Motors]
OnStar Extends Chevy Volt Owners Connected Customer Experience
* MyVolt.com Allows Owners to Take Charge with 24/7 Access to their Vehicle
* OnStar Technology Readies Chevrolet Volt for Smart Grid Connectivity
MyVolt.com, a new website that will give Chevrolet Volt owners the ability to remotely access operational information specific to their vehicle and control various functions of their car, will be available this month for select smart phones, OnStar President Chris Preuss said today.
The new website leverages OnStar's real-time data connection to enhance the overall Volt ownership experience. It allows owners to perform tasks including checking their battery's state of charge, setting the charge time and unlocking the doors. It also:
* Displays charge status, indicating whether the car is plugged in or not, and at what voltage (120V or 240V)
* Provides flexibility to "Charge Now" or schedule charging at a later time
* Displays percentage of battery charge level and expected electric and total ranges
* Displays miles per gallon, electric only miles, odometer readings and miles driven for last trip
* Remotely starts the vehicle to pre-condition the interior temperature
Volt owners will be able to manually set grid-friendly charge modes for off-peak times when electricity rates are lowest and then send text or email notifications for charge reminders, interruptions of charging and when a full charge is complete.
"Tools like MyVolt.com and the OnStar MyLink Mobile App put command and control into the hands of our customers," said Preuss. "Our technology allows customers to take control of their energy consumption by making informed choices about their charging needs."
Chevrolet Volt owners can also opt-in to receive a monthly OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics e-mail report summarizing the results from queries of several hundred diagnostic trouble codes as well as understanding their energy efficiency, maintenance information, tire pressure, and OnStar account status.
The new site also links Chevrolet Volt owners direct to social media channels like Facebook and Twitter facilitating the immediate sharing of information like energy efficiency, driving history, rate/charging details and other vehicle operational attributes to their personal social network.
"OnStar technology makes the Chevrolet Volt Smart Grid ready direct from the factory," said Preuss. "The technology is simple, intuitive and helps subscribers work cooperatively with their utility company to manage real-time load requirements that are both economically and environmentally friendly."
The Volt comes standard with five years of OnStar Directions and Connections service, which includes Automatic Crash Response, OnStar Destination Download and eNAV Navigation, Hands-Free Calling and Stolen Vehicle Assistance. The OnStar MyLink Mobile App will be available for Volt owners on select smartphones Oct. 30.
OnStar demonstrated the functionality of the OnStar MyLink Mobile App for the Chevrolet Volt at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
The Chevrolet Volt is an electric vehicle with extended-gas range capability. When the Volt's lithium-ion battery runs low, a gas engine seamlessly engages to extend the total driving range before the driver needs to refuel or recharge the battery. In moderate conditions, the Chevrolet Volt will offer 25-50 miles of electric, gas-free driving and an additional 310 miles of extended gasoline range (based on GM testing; official EPA estimates not yet available).
For more information about Volt, visit http://media.gm.com/volt.
About General Motors
General Motors, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 208,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in more than 120 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, FAW, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is China, followed by the United States, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.
OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the leading provider of in-vehicle safety, security and communication services. OnStar is available on more than 40 MY 2011 GM models. OnStar provides services to nearly six million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada. Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co. Ltd., a joint venture between OnStar, LLC, Shanghai Automotive Industry Sales Co., Ltd. and Shanghai General Motors, provides services in China. More information about OnStar can be found at www.onstar.com. OnStar Stolen Vehicle Slowdown is a recipient of the 2010 Edison Award for Best New Product in the technology category.