14 Comments

Summary:

General Motors announced Tuesday night at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that the upcoming Chevrolet Volt, an electric vehicle scheduled to launch in late 2010, will roll out equipped for remote control via smartphones. The automaker says its application (shown in a video […]

General Motors announced Tuesday night at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that the upcoming Chevrolet Volt, an electric vehicle scheduled to launch in late 2010, will roll out equipped for remote control via smartphones. The automaker says its application (shown in a video below the break) will allow Volt owners to control certain vehicle functions through their BlackBerry Storm, Droid or iPhone, for example: schedule battery charge times, view whether or not the vehicle is plugged in, check voltage at a charger, get text notifications of interruption or completion of a battery charge and turn on climate control.

Sound familiar? It’s a heckuva lot like the app unveiled by Nissan for its all-electric LEAF last summer. Nissan’s app was still in the development stage at the time, and GM is now calling its Volt the “first electric vehicle to demonstrate wireless smartphone application,” and “the auto industry’s first working smartphone application” that will provide Volt owners with constant connection to vehicle functions and features of GM’s OnStar system, such as remote door unlocking. Prior to this app, GM notes OnStar features “have typically been accessible only through a call into the OnStar call center.”

These types of apps are a key piece of the emerging Car 2.0 era — the idea that the next generation of cars will be networked to the power grid as well as communication networks, and will have the ease and functionality of our consumer electronics.

For GM, the so-called OnStar Mobile Application could also be a key part of marketing the vehicle to gadget-minded consumers. The automaker says that with this app, the Volt “showcases technology beyond the battery,” something GM needs to do to go beyond niche markets for a $40,000 plug-in sedan. As Andrew Farah, vehicle chief engineer for the Chevy Volt, recently emphasized in a call with reporters, “Our whole goal here is to put together a great vehicle for customers, not just a battery on wheels.”

A demo of the app for iPhone will be available on iTunes starting Jan. 6. More demo screen shots are available here.

Related research

Subscriber Content
?
Subscriber content comes from Gigaom Research, bridging the gap between breaking news and long-tail research. Visit any of our reports to learn more and subscribe.
By Josie Garthwaite
  1. [...] will take it a step further with connections to the power grid. Already, electric car makers have unveiled smartphone apps designed to let users to remotely control certain vehicle functions and bat…. Down the road, we’ll likely see not only electricity flowing to cars from the grid, but also [...]

    Share
  2. [...] will take it a step further with connections to the power grid. Already, electric car makers have unveiled smartphone apps designed to let users to remotely control certain vehicle functions and bat…. Down the road, we’ll likely see not only electricity flowing to cars from the grid, but also [...]

    Share
  3. [...] will take it a step further with connections to the power grid. Already, electric car makers have unveiled smartphone apps designed to let users to remotely control certain vehicle functions and bat…. Down the road, we’ll likely see not only electricity flowing to cars from the grid, but also [...]

    Share
  4. [...] to start charging at a later time, when energy demand (and rates) might be lower. But their app, unveiled in January, doesn’t actually gauge real-time electricity pricing or [...]

    Share
  5. [...] that they really want and need for electric vehicles.” He was quiet on the details, but GM has already announced that the Volt — scheduled to launch in late 2010 — will roll out equipped for remote [...]

    Share
  6. Terry Noris Monday, May 10, 2010

    It may seem like a marketing plot at first glance, but there is actually some real value here. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be with the car for this to work. So, you can monitor your car from the road and keep an eye on its activity if there is a second user and run it in conjunction with other iphone app to really boost the car’s efficiency.

    Share
  7. [...] electric car makers including General Motors and Nissan have unveiled smartphone apps designed to let users to remotely control certain vehicle functions and bat… for plug-in models scheduled to start rolling out as early as December. Down the road, we’ll [...]

    Share
  8. [...] 2010: GM announces plans for OnStar Mobile Application providing Volt charging controls via smartphone. Demos app at [...]

    Share
  9. [...] loads of software, slick screens showing efficiency and battery information, and the capacity for remote control of battery charging and other functions via smartphones. The charging systems for electric cars will also be managed via communications networks and smart [...]

    Share
  10. [...] As Scott Griffith, the CEO and Chairman of car sharing provider Zipcar, told us in an interview last year, “Electric cars by nature have to be connected cars.” So these recent developments are part of the larger march toward integrating vehicles with mobile devices and the web, and will also shape the playing field when it comes to locating charge stations and controlling functions like battery charging in electric cars. [...]

    Share

Comments have been disabled for this post