As electric vehicles grow in popularity, so will demand for managing the range and charging of EVs. General Motors is already addressing range anxiety with a new component to the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app, and it plans to tackle the challenges related to public charging with an all-new app.
Meant to be used for public charging, a new prototype app currently known as Park-Tap-Charge will allow EV owners to tap their smartphone against a charging station; doing so will automatically show payment options (including hourly charging rates as well as the estimated time and cost of a full charge) on the smartphone, which the user can accept. Doing this initiates the flow of electricity to the vehicle.
“This type of functionality contributes to an end-to-end solution for owners of the infrastructure and drivers”, said Paul Pebbles, global manager, OnStar Electric Vehicle and Smart Grid Services.
Park-Tap-Charge uses NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to facilitate the communication between the smartphone and the charing station. The communication is initiated by an NFC-enabled phone to a charging station with an embedded NFC tag. Drivers who have previously connected their account to the station can automatically initiate payment by tapping the station.
The app is currently a concept and provides the foundation for a scalable and viable solution for public charging as more EVs appear on the market, such as the 2014 Chevy Spark EV.
The GM Authority Take
Park-Tap-Charge is another GM solution to a real-world problem currently faced by owners of EVs as well as of the infrastructure. In particular, the app promises to solve the issue of public energy/electricity transactions, improving the overall electric vehicle experience. However, for the app to work on any kind of mass scale, most (if not all) smartphones will need to adopt NFC technology — which is not the reality currently.
But for the sake of smartphone longevity, we hope users don’t “tap” the phone to the meter too hard…