Intelligent Energy

OnStar tech alerts Volt drivers to clean power

OnStar tech alerts Volt drivers to clean power

Posting in Energy

New tech piloted by OnStar and Google may someday send an alert to Chevy Volt drivers when renewable energy is available to charge their electric vehicle.

OnStar and Google are testing a new technology that could someday alert owners of the GM Chevy Volt when renewable energy is available and help them determine the best time to charge their cars. OnStar has partnered with PJM Interconnection, a regional grid operator, to provide the renewable energy data.

OnStar and Google are demonstrating the technology this week at the 2012 DistribuTECH Conference in San Antonio on the 17 Chevy Volts in the search engine giant's Gfleet.

The graphic below provides a simplistic breakdown of how the tech works. OnStar receives a signal from PJM that shows the percentage of available renewable energy on the grid. The data is then downloaded to the OnStar cloud and passed onto Volt drivers who have opted into the service. A mobile app also could be used to alert EV drivers that clean power is available.

EV owners could configure their Volts to favor this power for their charging cycle, which in turn could influence utilities to tap into renewable sources, Nick Pudar, OnStar vice president of planning and business development said in a release today.

OnStar also has developed other smart energy management tech, including charging data that can be sent to utilities without having to connect with the vehicle's EV supply equipment. The location-based EV data identifies charging locations and determines potential power load scenarios for utilities. They also developed a demand response solution that will connect utilities to companies that have smart energy management products. These companies can use OnStar to manage energy use for Volt customers.

Photo: GM

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Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure