OnStar is testing a smartphone app that tells Chevrolet Volt owners how much it costs to charge their battery and compares their Volt’s energy use with the total energy consumed in their home by day, month or year.
The new app, called EcoHub, will initially be tested with and available to residents of the Pecan Street demonstration project, a smart grid living community in Austin. GM and OnStar signed onto the project as official partners in July. (Earlier post.)
For the first time we’re able to put one of our Smart Grid solutions into the hands of actual consumers, thanks in part to our partnership with Pecan Street. Down the line, we hope this app can be a beneficial tool for all drivers of electric vehicles.—Paul Pebbles, global manager, Electric Vehicle and Smart Grid Services
The EcoHub app pulls overall home energy usage data, provided by an energy data source such as a utility or smart meter company. The app also collects Volt charging information from OnStar subscribers and Volt owners who opt in for EcoHub. The energy use data is then aggregated to show vehicle owners exactly how much energy is being used on a daily, monthly or yearly basis, while showing what percentage of that energy went to charging the Volt. Based on electricity rates, the data is broken down to show the cost of both total energy usage and Volt charging energy use.
We’ve found that Volt owners love to keep track of and compare their personal driving stats, like electric miles driven for example. The EcoHub app is another great example of using the vehicle’s embedded technology to provide Volt owners with useful information.—Cristi Landy, Chevrolet Volt marketing director
In addition, the EcoHub app will include a “Ticker” screen that shows drivers the national values for Total Miles Driven, Total EV Miles Driven and Gallons of Fuel Saved.
While the app will be tested with and only be available to Volt drivers in Pecan Street project at first, OnStar hopes to make the app available for all Volt owners in the near future.
OnStar’s Smart Grid research is made possible by the US Department of Energy.