Plug-in hybrid cars are said to be more fuel efficient and of course cheaper to operate compared to the regular vehicles using conventional combustion engines. It is not a free lunch though since charging these hybrids will mean consuming energy too, and money to pay for the electric bill.
The OnStar service of General Motors has an application that can tell owners of the Chevrolet Volt about the real cost of plugging their hybrid vehicles to an outlet at home. The app is called EcoHub and has the function of comparing the energy used by the Volt against the total consumption of the household on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis.
The new app will be using the energy data that can come from a utility company or a smart meter to get the info on overall usage. It also collects information from the Volt owners about the charging information of the vehicle.
The marketing team of Chevrolet pointed out that owners of the Volt have the good habit of keeping tract of their stats and compare their driving stats like the number of miles driven for a single charge. The app is a perfect combo to the technology of the Volt to provide very useful information to Volt owners. The EcoHub will be made available to a demo project in Austin, Texas initially.
You can click on the video below to learn more about the EcoHub app:
The small electric vehicle concept EN-V of General Motors which was originally designed for the the 2010 World Shanghai Expo produced in collaboration with Shanghai Auto and Segway has recently morphed to become the EN-V concept under the Chevrolet brand that will be used for pilot projects in chosen megacities across the globe.
The EN-V is still true to its original purpose of meeting the bigger demand and stronger clamor for greener and safer personal transportation. It was first unveiled in 2010 with GM describing it as an ideal urban mobility device for the future which may help address problems in air pollution, lack of parking spaces, and heavy traffic.
EN-V by the way stands for Electric Networked Vehicle. The EN-V is considered an ultra compact mode of transportation weighing only 1,100 pounds and measuring not more than 5 feet long. Comparing it to the conventional car, the EN-V is just a third of its size in terms of length and weight. The small configuration of the EN—V makes it extra maneuverable with an ability to park in very tight spaces in the city.
The vehicle depends on electric motors which runs on lithium ion battery that can be charged using a normal household electric current. The driving range of this car is about 25 miles.
GM recently announced that the EN-V will be re-badged under the Chevrolet brand and will have new features like climate control, have a storage space, and be operable in all weather conditions. The Chevrolet EN-V will also be retaining the original capabilities of the concept like its connectivity, autonomous driving features, and electric propulsion technology.
The car manufacturer sees the EN-V to re-invent transportation in major cities by effectively merging connectivity and electrification. Aside from doing test runs in emerging markets, the EN-V will also have a test run in New York.
Selected dealerships of Chevrolet across the United States gets equipped with solar panels to help charge up Chevrolet Volts and also help with the power supply of the site. The structure is called the Green Zone which is aimed at helping dealerships have the flexibility in charging up their vehicles and also emphasizing the commitment of the company to renewable energy.
Chevrolet dealerships in Grand Blanc, MI and Modesto, CA are the first dealerships to get the Green Zone structure. According to the owner of the dealership in Grand Blanc, the solar canopy actually helps reduce their cost of operation and also decrease their carbon footprint.
An insider from General Motors explains that one solar canopy can charge a Chevrolet Volt 4,00 times in a year. The Green Zone project traces its roots from the initiative of GM Ventures and investment of around $7.5 million with Sunlogics, a company that manufactures and develops solar panels.
The solar canopy can actually generate electricity enough to power 2 to 3 homes annually. Looking at the numbers, that will be about 25% of energy consumption of a Chevrolet dealership.
General Motors is actually among the leaders of renewable energy users in the automotive sector. The company boasts of the biggest rooftop solar panel installations in the United States. It also has the biggest solar installations for a car factory in Spain. They also have started building a solar field in the Detroit Hamtramck facility and have completed a solar setup in their Baltimore facility.
During the General Motors press conference at the North American International Auto Show, it was announced that two fuel efficient Chevrolets will hit North America in 2011—The Chevrolet Spark mini-car and the seven-seater Orlanda multi-purpose compact vehicle.
The Chevrolet Spark was formerly introduced as the Chevrolet Beat Concept at the New York Auto Show in 2007. While most of the Beat’s concept was adapted, the implementation of larger windows is the most notable change. The fog lamps, headlights, and grille have been changed; the front has been altered to appear less sporty; and the Spark also looks as if it has been raised higher off the ground.
“Chevrolet Spark will bring great style, roominess and versatility to the segment of extremely fuel-efficient small cars in the U.S.,” Troy Clarke, president of GM North America, said. “The decision to add the Spark to Chevrolet’s portfolio reflects the brand’s commitment to being a fuel efficiency leader in the country.” The full production form of the Chevrolet Spark will be shown in March 2009 at the Geneva Auto Show. Europe will get the first glimpse of its sales in 2010.