Chevrolet is launching the brand’s first pure-electric vehicle — the 2014 Spark EV (and its 400 lb.-ft. of torque) next year. Unfortunately, the limitation imposed by the electric range is a normal reality when it comes to today’s pure-electric vehicles, with the Spark EV being no exception. So to help mitigate the uncertainty and concern surrounding the car’s range, The General is adding a component to the OnStar RemoteLink application that will address the possible range anxiety of its EVs.
Called Waypoint, the new feature will become a part of RemoteLink app and will assist Spark EV owners in determining if they can reach their planned destination on a single charge, if they will need to stop and charge their vehicle to reach the destination, or if the route is beyond the range of the vehicle entirely; if the destination is beyond a single charge and requires the vehicle to stop and charge, Waypoint will also plot a route with recommended charging stations.
In practice, the driver will launch the RemoteLink app and select the destination using the app’s navigation feature. Once the destination is selected, the Waypoint feature will compare the distance of the destination to the remaining battery life of the Spark EV, and tell the driver one of the following four things:
- Destination is within the range of a single charge
- Destination is within a single charge range, but the vehicle needs to be charged more before the driver begins traveling
- Destination is further than a single charge range and requires a waypoint route
- No waypoint route is available and destination is beyond vehicle range. Due to a lack of charging stations a waypoint route may not always be possible.
Waypoint will tell the driver how long the drive (in and of itself) will take as well as how long it will take to charge the Spark at each stop, if applicable; the app is capable of combining the two time measurements for a total trip duration.
“The Spark EV Waypoint tab aims to instill confidence in drivers who are not sure if they’ll be able to reach their destination on a single charge,” said Paul Pebbles, global manager, OnStar Electric Vehicle and Smart Grid Services. “It’s also for drivers who know they’ll be traveling beyond a single charge range.”
OnStar plans to roll out the Waypoint addition to the RemoteLink app in time for the launch of the 2014 Spark EV in 2013. It will also make the Waypoint feature available online at the recently-launched GM Owner Center. Doing so will allow users to send directions to their vehicle, which will be stored in the OnStar Virtual Advisor service.
Waypoint functionality will join the other EV-specific aspect of the RemoteLink app, as Chevy Volt owners have had the ability to manage the charging of their vehicle, including selecting to charge during off-peak hours, in the application.
The GM Authority Take
This Waypoint is pretty cool, we tell ya. The type of functionality found here will be necessary until 1) battery technology progress to a level where EV range is no longer an issue, and 2) EV charging stations are as common as gas stations are today. Nevertheless, it’s technology like this that makes us appreciate GM, OnStar, and its products that much more.
And you know what would be even more awesome? If Waypoint was able to take into account traffic conditions, such as the functionality recently attained by the Chinese-only variant of RemoteLink.