Chevy Volt drivers may soon have a cleaner way to charge their plug-in electric hybrids.
General Motors announced Monday that OnStar, its subscription-based communication and navigation system, is developing a technology that would allow Volt owners to choose renewable energy when it becomes available on the electric grid to recharge their cars.
How would the new OnStar service work? PJM Interconnection, a company that manages the electric grid for 13 states and the District of Columbia, will track the percentage of renewable energy available on the grid and send that data to OnStar’s cloud. OnStar will monitor the number of Volts being charged and match them with renewable energy, depending on the customer’s interest.
OnStar is also working on an accompanying mobile phone app that would alert Volt owners when the clean energy becomes available.
OnStar’s new smart grid solution will not only help Volt drivers reduce their carbon footprint, but it may also save them money, the company said in a statement. Because wind energy is most readily available between 10 a.m. and 6 a.m., recharging a vehicle with wind power overnight will cost less than charging during peak times of energy use during the day when electric rates are higher.
To test the new technology, OnStar has teamed up with Google to try out the smart grid solution on Google’s 17 Volts based at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. OnStar is also demonstrating the new technology at this week’s DistribuTECH Conference and Exhibition in San Antonio.