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GM Announces OnStar Apps to Help EV Owners

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OnStar's RemoteLink featuring the Spark EV Waypoint Tab

GM’s OnStar service is developing two new mobile apps that can help owners of its EVs plan routes and pay for public charging more easily. (Photo courtesy General Motors.)

According to a GM press release, the apps will at first be targeted at drivers of the forthcoming Spark EV. The first of GM’s mainstream electric-only cars on the North American market, the Spark will present the driving range and route planning challenges typical of other, established EVs such as the Nissan LEAF and Mitsubishi iMiEV. The release named two new OnStar apps aimed at tackling those challenges:

Spark EV Waypoint Tab is intended to help Spark EV owners determine whether a given trip will be within the Spark’s driving range. If not, the app will help owners locate charging stations along the route or near it, if available. It can tell drivers if the trip will be within the car’s range based on its current level of charge, if the car can make it but needs to be charged first, if the trip will require a charing waypoint, and whether a trip that is too long to make at the current state of charge has no waypoints and should thus be avoided.

Park-Tap-Charge Prototype App will help owners pay for public charging more easily. An EV owner would, in theory, roll up to a public pay-to-charge station, tap their smartphone or mobile device against the charging device, and be presented with a range of payment options. Once a payment option was approved by the driver, the flow of electricity would begin to recharge the EV’s batteries. Of course, to make this work, infrastructure providers have to make use of the app and provide a way for the “tap” access to smartphones and other devices.

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