Posted Nov 23rd 2013 8:55AM
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.