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Two new PEV-specific apps from OnStar targeted at range anxiety and public charging cost

The new EV Waypoint application will plot a waypoint route with recommended charging stations is the route is beyond the range of a single charge. Source: OnStar. Click to enlarge.

At the GM Electrification Experience—at which GM previewed the Spark EV (earlier post)—OnStar previewed two new apps for drivers of plug-in vehicles (PEVs): one slated for release to address the possible range anxiety of electric vehicles (Spark EV Waypoint), the other, a concept to address the cost of public charging (Park-Tap-Charge) that leverages Near Field Communication (NFC).

Since the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle launched in late 2010, drivers have been able to manage vehicle charging, including the option to charge during off-peak hours through the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App. As GM expands its electric vehicle line-up next year with the 2014 Chevy Spark EV, more drivers will be able to manage and control electric-only functions from their phone.

Spark EV Waypoint tab. Because the Spark EV operates only on electricity stored in the battery pack, drivers will need to know if they can reach their destination on a single charge. The Spark EV Waypoint tab, which will be integrated into the RemoteLink app, determines that answer and plots a waypoint route with recommended charging stations if the route is beyond a single charge’s range.

A basic use case scenario is that a driver searches for a destination and then sends that destination to the vehicle. Once the destination is selected, based on the distance and battery state of charge, the app will use the distance and remaining battery charge to tell the driver one of four things:

  • Destination is within the range of a single charge, and is sent to the Turn by Turn navigation function.

  • Destination is within a single charge range, but the vehicle needs to be charged more until it reaches XX% battery level. The driver will need to press “Continue” to acknowledge the need to continue charging and send the destination to Turn by Turn.

  • Destination is further than a single charge range and requires a waypoint route. The app will provide possible waypoint charge stops, and tell the driver the estimated time of travel and charging at each point. It also shows total trip duration.

  • No waypoint route is available and destination is beyond vehicle range.

The results are dependent upon an assessment of a driver’s past behavior impact on range—e.g., lead-foot, light-foot, and so on.

In addition to deployment in the mobile app, the waypoint routing function also will be available on GM Owner Center allowing directions to be sent online to a vehicle. Destinations will be stored in OnStar’s Virtual Advisor service.

OnStar plans to make the Waypoint app available for the launch of the 2014 Spark EV.

Working jointly with Electric Vehicle Supplier Equipment (EVSE) networks, OnStar is showing the ability to start and pay for public vehicle charging using Near Field Communications (NFC) technology. Source: OnStar. Click to enlarge.

Park-Tap-Charge Prototype App. With more electric vehicles on the market, the demand for public charging will grow as will the need to know how much charging away from home will cost, OnStar predicts. Where cost is tied to public charging, a new prototype app developed in partnership with GE and its WattStation charging station will allow EV owners simply to tap their smartphone against a charging station, which will automatically show payment options that, once accepted, will initiate the flow of electricity. This prototype app is currently named Park-Tap-Charge.

Prior to accepting payment, the app will show the hourly rate of charging, the estimated time for a full charge and the estimated cost of a full charge. Accounting is handled by PayPal.

The app leverages Near Field Communication technology—an offshoot of radio-frequency identification (RFID) with the exception that NFC is designed for use by devices within close proximity to each other. Devices using NFC may be active or passive. A passive device, such as an NFC tag, contains information that other devices can read but does not read any information itself. Active devices can read information and send it.

NFC works via magnetic induction. The two devices create a high frequency magnetic field between the loosely coupled coils in both the interrogating (active) device and the NFC tag. Once this field is established, a connection is formed and information can be passed between the interrogator and the tag.

With the Park-Tap-Charge app, using a signal sent from an NFC-enabled phone to a charge station with an embedded NFC tag, drivers can automatically initiate payment from a previously connected account by tapping their smartphone to the station.

The current version of the application is a concept. OnStar’s Smart Grid research is made possible by the US Department of Energy DOE.



Look at the image on the display:
A 132 mile journey is predicted to take 10 hours charge and travel time.
5 hours charging at Patterson - I hope it is a nice place.

I am not sure that it reduces range anxiety, but at least it puts some numbers to it.

However, you could use it as a simulator (in the showroom) where you start at home and see how long it takes to get to work (and back).
Presumably people interested in electric cars would have commutes < their journey distance (to JD/2) and this would confirm it.
It might also confirm the consequences of deviating on the journey to do some errands.

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