Driving a Chevrolet Volt could get even more guilt-free in the future as the company plays with ways to coax consumers into charging with renewable energy.
GM is partnering with energy company PJM Interconnection to send data via their OnStar cloud service, called the Advanced Telematics Operating Management System (ATOMS), to Volts that need to charge. The technology would notify drivers of renewable energy as it became available relative to their location.
There is also a smartphone app in the works to alert Volt owners of available energy when they aren’t in their car, though the overall project is still in the testing phase.
Those tests are being conducted on Google’s 17-vehicle “Gfleet” based out of their Mountain View, California headquarters. While renewable energy isn’t going to fuel your car any differently than a charge originating in a coal plant, it could help drive demand for more renewable sources.
By harnessing the hordes of anti-pollution diehards, comparatively tiny as they may be, GM might make a dent in promoting green energy beyond what selling their volt already can.
“This demonstration shows that in the near future customers will have a real signal of demand for renewable energy,” said Nick Pudar, OnStar vice president of planning and business development. “As customers configure their Volts to favor renewable energy for their charging cycle, this real demand signal will influence utilities to tap into renewable sources.”
There’s also a silver lining to the plan: peak wind power hours, according to PJM, fall between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., meaning those taking advantage of a renewable charge-source would be taxing the system during off-peak hours.
GM’s continued push toward promoting the Volt is a strong demonstration of their commitment to the car, despite the controversy that hounded it last year after a few cars spontaneously combusted days after crash testing. Extended range hybrids like the Volt offer a practical solution to ultra-high milage transportation without the range anxiety we felt while road testing the Nissan Leaf.