By this time, you’re probably very much aware of the OnStar MyLink app available for Apple iOS and Google Android-based mobile devices on some 2010 and most 2011 model-year GM vehicles in the U.S. and Canada. And while the Chevy Volt is capable of all the features provided by the MyLink app, it has a special version of MyLink made specifically to take advantage of the car’s unique powertrain.
Not only is the Volt’s variant of MyLink capable of remote functions such as locking and unlocking doors, remote start (with automatic temperate setting), and activating horn and lights, it also contains a wide variety of electric powertrain management features.
The app’s charge monitor section, for instance, displays electric range, battery charge, EV range, and total range. Other info such as lifetime MPG, EV miles driven, and tire pressure is also available via a simple swipe. But the app goes well above and beyond simple display capabilities, allowing the user to set whether to charge the Volt immediately upon being plugged-in or mostly during off-peak hours to save money. The app then provides an estimate of when the Volt will reach its fully-charged state (for example, full charge by 7:00 am tomorrow morning).
The app also gives users the ability to set email or SMS reminders if, for instance, the Volt hasn’t been plugged in at a certain time during the day, if charging is complete, or if charging has been interrupted.
And while the “regular” OnStar MyLink app is available for Apple iOS and Google Android devices, Volt owners can also access most of the features provided by the app online at www.MyVolt.com. According to GM Authority sources, the same web-based functionality will soon be available to all OnStar subscribers (most likely at OnStar.com).
For those wondering about a BlackBerry Storm version of the OnStar MyLink app (as shown in the OnStar-produced videos), here’s what we know: the app was planned at first but was unceremoniously scrapped due to technological reasons. Last week, however, GM Authority exclusively reported that OnStar is actively pursuing development of its app for the BlackBerry and Windows Phone platforms. Let’s hope this is the light at the end of the tunnel for our BlackBerry- and Windows Phone-wielding counterparts.
The GM Authority Take
After experiencing this functionality firsthand, here’s all I have to say: if this isn’t the car of the future, I don’t know what is.
And if you dare to imagine the possibilities that an OnStar-connected electric vehicle brings to the table, the future is oh-so-much brighter. Consider, for instance, Nick Pudar’s recent presentation at Where 2.0, where the OnStar VP of Planning and Biz Dev discussed a scenario in which OnStar would integrate with a driver’s Google Calendar, understand that he will need to drive the Volt at 6 in the morning the next day, and — based on that information — figure out that off-peak charging simply won’t fill up the battery, sending the driver a request for permission to commence charging immediately (at non-off-peak rates). Oh the possibilities!
Now, while we wait for that killer texting and social media solution, have a peak through the following videos of the OnStar MyLink app for the Volt in action.