Chevrolet Volt owners will be able to calculate total charging costs in comparison with the total home energy use through a new app named EcoHub that OnStar is presently testing. With EcoHub, the Volt owner can monitor energy on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. EcoHub gathers total home energy use information from the local electric company or a smart meter firm to compare it with Volt charging information to display the Volt’s percentage of total energy use. EcoHub also measures total energy cost based on local electricity rates. It has a “Ticker” screen that shows total electric-powered miles driven compared to total miles driven as well as gallons of fuel saved in EV mode. The initial tests of the EcoHub app will be conducted by Volt owners who live in the Pecan Street smart grid living community in Austin.
OnStar is expected to later make EcoHub available for Volt owners throughout the country. The 2013 Chevrolet Volt got improvements in battery density, leading to a 38-mile EV range and an EPA-rated 98 MPGe. In September, 2851 Volt units were sold. This is its highest monthly sales yet. For the first nine months of 2012, Chevrolet sold 16,348 Volts. In a release, Paul Pebbles, global manager, Electric Vehicle and Smart Grid Services, said that eventually, this app will benefit everyone who drives electric vehicles.
A GM spokesman said that the EcoHub’s availability could only be expanded when third-party sources cooperate. OnStar wants to be able to utilize the Green Button Initiative, a national program that permits customers to get access home energy information through a smart meter. No timeframe has been set yet on when the EcoHub will be offered to the public. However, GM says that it might be feasible within this year if it gets the right partnerships. For now, the app is available just on OnStar equipped EVs, hinting that Cadillac ELR owners may attempt to acquire a newer version of the app.