OnStar Shows Us the EV Future, Talks About Clouds and Stuff

By Matthew Askari | January 24, 2012
Picture this: You're mid-conversation at a friend's fundraiser promoting the recycling of recycled napkins (completing the napkin cycle, as it were) when your phone lights up. An alert from OnStar notifies you that your husband's plug-in hybrid—which as it turns out just so happens to be at home and plugged in—is available to charge using at least 60-percent renewable energy. You click an icon that says "schedule charge" and program your husband's Vegan Chariot to charge from 8:30-10:00 pm, allowing you to get his car charged, tax the environment less and, the gilded cherry—save some green (while you're being green). As electric vehicles slowly gain traction, OnStar gives us a vision of the not-too-distant future where remotely charging and scheduling your car's charge, while saving some money by scoring a better rate and using a higher proportion of renewable energy, can all be done with a couple of taps on your smartphone. The OnStar cloud would be able to sort through the data of available energy, the percentage of that energy that is renewable, the amount of charging your vehicle needs and an optimal rate at which to charge your car. Using technology already available in the Chevy Volt, OnStar is able to offer your utility company access to your vehicle's battery life and other vehicles using the same power grid, and schedule charges in a manner that's more efficient and less taxing on the utility companies. Instead of everyone just plugging in before bed for example, your car would be scheduled in a slot along with others, allowing all cars to be charged at optimal times. This would also mean letting customers choose options such as "notify me when there is at least 60-percent renewable energy available on the grid," and an alert to your phone will do just that. Customers would also be privy to special lower rates during off-peak times.
Automotive.com's take: To us, the idea of an efficient smartgrid makes good sense. People using greener energy, paying less, and placing less stress on our utilities seems logical. But there are remaining questions of privacy, something that OnStar has had to deal with in the past, and still many obstacles before such a scenario could be viable. Now a good start would be if Chevy could sell a few more of those Volts. Source: OnStar