New GM App Shows Chevy Volt Owners the Real Cost of Charging Their Hybrid at Home

Plug-in hybrid vehicles claim to be much more fuel efficient, and thus cheaper to run, than regular models powered only by international combustion engines. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, though; in the case of plug-in hybrids, you have to factor in the energy consumed to charge the battery at your home, which adds to the electricity bill. General Motors’ OnStar service is currently testing an application that will inform Chevrolet Volt owners about the cost of charging their extended-range plug-in hybrid. The EcoHub, as it is called, will also compare the Volt’s energy use to that of the total energy consumed by their home in the corresponding day, month or year. OnStar’s new app uses an energy data source, such as a utility or a smart meter company, to obtain overall domestic energy usage info. At the same time, it collects charging info from Volt owners who choose this app and OnStar subscribers. “We’ve found that Volt owners love to keep track of and compare their personal driving stats, like electric miles driven for example”, said Chevrolet Volt marketing director Cristi Landy. “The EcoHub app is another great example of using the vehicle’s embedded technology to provide Volt owners with useful information.” The EcoHub will initially be available to the Pecan Street demonstration project, a smart grid community in Austin, Texas. A video demonstrating how the app works, as well as most Volt owners’ lack of information about the actual cost of charging a plug-in hybrid until they receive the electricity bill, is available right after the jump. By Andrew Tsaousis
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