General Motors decided to increase their range and sales of Electric vehicles by introducing new Smartphone Apps that will bring down the cost of charging.
The company has set a target to sell 500,000 EVs annually by 2017. They are convinced that this will be achieved by including smartphones apps in the equation. Two of the three new applications, Volt Driver Challenge app and Park-Tap-Charge, target the public charging costs and range anxiety, while the third, Spark EV Waypoint tab, would act as a navigation system that will show the way to the nearest charging station.
- 1. Waypoint tab. This app will provide information about the current state of the battery and will inform drivers whether they can get to a destination of their choice on the existing battery pack charge. The app will be especially designed to take into consideration the habits of the drivers. It will send information about directions and battery life directly to the vehicle electronically. The anticipated release is scheduled in 2013, when the Spark EV will appear on the market.
- Park-Tap-Charge. This app will provide estimate of exactly how much charging away from home is. It will display hourly rates of charging, time and cost of a full charge and it will also provide drivers with the option to pay for electricity through their smartphone using PayPal. This will be accomplished by the use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. It works when devices are near to each other, following the basic principle of radio-frequency identification. This will connect smartphones and charging stations securely so that information can be easily transferred.
- Volt Driver Challenge. This is the entertaining one, available to Chevy Volt drivers. They will be able to compare their driving habits and receive digital badges (“Rookie”, “Fuel Minster” and “EV VIP”) as well mileage. The app will keep track of the number of miles that have been covered by the driver, and it will calculate how much fuel has been saved by driving in electric mode. The data will then be stored online in the form of a leaderboard, enabling drivers to compare their numbers. The app is already available to drivers with active OnStar accounts.