General Motors just might have figured out a good way to go head-to-head with its luxury electric vehicle competitors, the Tesla Model S and BMW i3 – throw fancy new smart energy and cloud-based connections into the deal. GM says the extended range Cadillac ELR will be "Smart Grid ready" as its technology, combined with OnStar's connectivity, can communicate between the car and electric grid to save energy.
We'll start with the expected connection features. ELR owners can access the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App for a long list of available services. Examples include, checking the car's operating systems, sending remote commands and accessing EV-specific functions. The usual EV driver's questions are, of course, answered: state of charge, driving range, electric miles drive and equivalent miles per gallon. One of the best features is controlling and scheduling charges with an option to charge during off-peak hours when electricity rates are much cheaper.
It's the Smart Grid connections where the ELR could set itself apart, for now, at least. Utilities and third-party companies will have access to some useful data from OnStar's Smart Grid Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Demand response allows OnStar to manage energy use and costs for ELR owners who opt in for the service; time-of-use rates offers dynamic time-of-use pricing from utilities, which can facilitate charging during low-cost periods; charging data will help OnStar find good plug-in locations and potential load scenarios; and aggregated services allows electric service providers to manage the charging of participating EVs in a given geographical area, if customers consent to participating, potentially offering a solution when too many EVs attempt to charge simultaneously.
It's the Smart Grid connections where the ELR could set itself apart.
Using renewable energy could be one of the aggregated service offerings. A regional transmission organization would send OnStar a signal letting the cloud-based system know that renewable energy is available. OnStar is able to use this signal to manage charging and getting more EVs to utilize available renewable energy. OnStar is also working with TimberRock Energy Solutions on solar charging and energy storage. Read the press release for details.
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DETROIT – The Cadillac ELR will be Smart Grid ready as soon as it comes off the production line. Using the luxury coupe's extended range electric vehicle technology combined with OnStar's cloud-based connection, the ELR will be able to communicate with the electric grid and potentially save energy.
ELR owners will have access to the OnStar RemoteLink Mobile App, which in addition to allowing drivers to check their vehicle's operating systems and send remote commands, gives them access to electric vehicle specific functions. The EV-tailored app shows owners their vehicle's current state of charge, electric range, electric miles driven and eMPG, or equivalency of electric miles per gallon.
The RemoteLink Mobile App also will allow ELR owners to control and schedule vehicle charging, including an option to charge during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lowest.
In addition to the RemoteLink app available today, OnStar is an enabler for solutions that may benefit drivers in the future.
"While RemoteLink is really our first Smart Grid service to be available for consumers, the same connection we use to enable the app's EV functions can be used to open the door for more energy cost and load control benefits," said Russ Eling, manager, Smart Grid and EV Services, General Motors.
OnStar has four unique Smart Grid APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, that utilities and third-party companies can work with to develop real-world solutions for the ELR:
Demand response – This future service connects utilities to companies that have intelligent energy management products, allowing OnStar to manage energy use for ELR customers who opt in for the service. Benefits include saving money on energy costs and enabling more efficient use of the electric grid.
Time-of-Use rates – OnStar can receive dynamic time-of-use pricing from utilities and notify ELR owners of the rate plan offers via email. Owners would be able to use OnStar to load the rate plans directly into their vehicle and access them to schedule charging during lower-rate periods.
Charging data – OnStar can send and receive EV data including location-based EV data that identifies charging locations and determines potential load scenarios.
Aggregated services – This solution allows electric service providers to manage the charging of participating vehicles in a given geographic area, with customer consent. This includes the ability to control charging on a large amount of EVs simultaneously. These services could potentially result in a more efficient use of clean energy.
An example of an aggregated service solution would be charging with renewable energy. A regional transmission organization would send OnStar a signal letting it know that renewable energy is available on the electric grid. OnStar then uses this signal to manage the charging of one or multiple EVs in order to utilize the available renewable energy.
OnStar recently partnered with TimberRock Energy Solutions, Inc. using Demand Response to aid with TimberRock's ability to store and charge with solar energy. OnStar's Smart Grid research is made possible by the U.S. Department of Energy.
ELR owners will get access to OnStar services like Turn-by-Turn Navigation, Hands-Free Calling, Vehicle Diagnostics, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Assistance.
OnStar's premium Directions & Connection package comes standard on the Cadillac ELR for one year.
Cadillac has been a leading luxury auto brand since 1902. Today Cadillac is growing globally, driven by an expanding product portfolio featuring dramatic design and technology. More information on Cadillac appears at www.cadillac.com. Cadillac's media website with information, images and video can be found at media.cadillac.com.
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About OnStar LLC
OnStar, LLC (OnStar) is a wholly owned subsidiary of GM Holdings LLC ("GM"). Along with its affiliate Shanghai OnStar Telematics Co. Ltd (a joint venture involving OnStar, Shanghai General Motors Co., Ltd (SGM) and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC)), OnStar serves more than 6.5 million subscribers in the U.S, Canada and China. OnStar is a provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology and is available on 39 GM branded 2013 model year vehicles. OnStar's key services include automatic crash response, stolen vehicle assistance, remote door unlock, turn-by-turn navigation, vehicle diagnostics and hands-free calling.