OnStar Energy Management System Explained
Unlike Nissan, however, GM has a tiny advantage called OnStar. Already present in the vast majority of the models the car maker produces, OnStar has the advantage, compared to Nissan's CARWINGS Connect, of being notoriously efficient.
Trying to tap into a segment of the market that will surely expand exponentially in the years to come, OnStar announced in the beginning of February that it is working on an energy management system for EVs, which would allow owners and utilities to charge, keep informed and save money at the same time.
The system has not officially been launched, with OnStar currently testing it using the Volt PHEVs. And yet, the main features of the system, as well as the benefits they are hoped to bring have already been defined by the infotainment solutions provider.
Time-of-Use (TOU) rates – one of the most important aspect of owning an EV for customers will be the rates utilities will charge for the electricity they will be providing. By using OnStar's TOU, any customer will be notified, via email, of the pricing charged by several utilities. Aside for the fact that this system will give the owner the choice between a given electricity supplier or another, it also comes with another neat feature: it allows owners to upload rate plans into the Volt, so that it will begin charging at the exact time when the owner tells it to – that is when the rates are at their lowest.
Vehicle-to-Home Integration Technology – perhaps one of the most important aspects of the OnStar energy management system is the Vehicle-to-Home Integration Technology. Doing exactly what its name says (connecting the vehicle to the home you live in), it will give Volt owners a far better control over the Volt, the charger and the overall energy management.
As said, the OnStar system is not exactly on the market yet, and it will probably not be in the near future. Using funds provided by the US Department of Energy, OnStar will be testing the system in the coming year together with DistribuTECH. Probably, the system will be in-place and fully operational in under five years, or about the same amount of time it will take for the second generation Volt to get here.