Smartphones are becoming an ever more integral part of motoring, especially for those driving plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).
Virtually every PEV manufacturer has developed apps for mobile devices allowing remote access for monitoring charge status, initiating charging, pre-heating and pre-cooling interiors, locating charging stations, and much more.
General Motors is basing its remote PEV access on the well-established OnStar system. In one example, Chevy Volt owners can manage vehicle charging, including the option to charge during off-peak hours through the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App.
The 2014 Chevy Spark EV will also come with the Spark EV Waypoint tab integrated into the RemoteLink app. The aim is to help reduce the range anxiety experienced by some battery electric vehicle drivers.
When a destination is selected, the app will determine whether the destination is within the range of a single charge based on the distance and battery state-of-charge. If not, the app will plot a waypoint route with recommended charging stations along the route.
In some cases the trip may not be possible because the destination is beyond the vehicle’s range and no waypoint charging stations are available along the route. The app tells a driver how long the trip will take including charging time at each waypoint. In addition to mobile devices, waypoint routing will be available on GM Owner Center, allowing directions to be sent online to a vehicle.
The next step is the Park-Tap-Charge app that’s currently in prototype stage. Here, when EV drivers tap their smartphone against a charging station, the device will automatically show payment options that, once accepted, will initiate charging.
Prior to accepting payment, the app will show the hourly rate of charging, estimated time for a full charge, and estimated full-charge cost. The app uses Near Field Communication technology for contactless payment that’s already used in smartphones.