New OnStar service will help Chevy Volt owners to recharge their car with renewable energy

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 26, 2012

Chevrolet Volt owners may soon be able to recharge their plug-in hybrid with renewable energy via a new OnStar service. This technology depends on wind forecasts to show the availability and amount of renewable energy on the electric grid. The predictions are generated by PJM Interconnection, an energy management firm that serves 60 million U.S. users, located mostly in the Midwest, and eastern and southeastern U.S.

OnStar makes use of data from these forecasts to simultaneously handle the charging of multiple Volts and preferably match the availability of renewable energy. OnStar said that the generally, the peak period for renewable energy generation from wind is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., a period when many Volt cars are being charged by their owners.

OnStar said that it is developing a mobile app to inform customers when renewable energy is available. This technology will be shown this week at the 2012 DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio by OnStar and Google.

Nick Pudar, OnStar vice president of planning and business development, said that this only proves that customers will demand renewable energy in the near future. Volt owners have to sign up for an OnStar subscription to get the service and charge with renewable energy.

Every car has a “heart” that keeps it running. The Chevrolet Volt, for one, is kept alive by its Voltec propulsion system, a combination of pure electric drive and efficient, range-extending engine. The said system empowers the Volt to reach up to a total 350-mile range.

Manufactured in Brownstown Township, Michigan, the Voltec propulsion system contains a 5.5-foot, 435-pound (198.1 kg) T-shaped, 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack enough to give it a longer life compared to normal batteries. An advanced, 111-kW (149-horsepower) electric drive unit receives energy supplied by the lithium-ion battery pack, revving the car to life.

With only the battery’s stored energy, the Volt can run a fuel- and tailpipe emissions-free electric driving of around a range of 25 to 50 miles depending on the various road conditions (i.e. terrain, temperature) and driving techniques. Once the battery’s life is depleted, the Volt turns to its extended-range mode. What happens is that a technically advanced, 1.4-L 63-kW (84-horsepower) gasoline-powered onboard engine inverts power into the electric drive unit, providing an additional 310-mile range.

The Volt battery is designed with a set of standards for value, safety, quality, performance, durability and reliability and is covered by an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty. The Volt battery packs (including each of its nine modules and 288 prismatic cells) have been tested by GM engineers since 2007 to ensure its quality which includes one million miles and four million hours of validation testing.

Each of the battery’s 161 components (95% of which were designed and engineered by GM) have been validated, all of its developments, validation and test teams meeting the thousands of specifications to ensure quality.

While customers are slowly turning to environment-friendly and petroleum-dependent vehicles, Chevrolet gains their trust by developing technologies reinforcing this movement. According to Micky Bly, GM executive director, global electrical systems, Chevrolet is committed to create products and technologies that are developed with the highest standards for value, safety, quality, performance and reliability.

Chevrolet Volt debunks all myths of EV’s being slow cars as this particular vehicle can reach a top speed of 100 mph and 273 lb.-ft. torque on electric drive. Being a spirited EV, the Chevrolet Volt is capable of a 0 to 60 mph sprint of less than 9.0 seconds and it can cover a quarter mile in less than 17.0 seconds.

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