One of the coolest things we've seen at CES this year has as much to do with a phone that weighs just 169 grams as it does with an electric vehicle that tips the scales at 3,500 pounds. The Chevrolet Volt -- a plug-in, hybrid-electric vehicle that will be available later this year --, comes long with a trio of mobile apps (Motorola Droid, BlackBerry and iPhone) that allow you total control of charging the car from your pocket, courtesy of an app from OnStar.
For now, you can try out the app on the Droid at OnStarMobileDemo.com. And after the break, our hands-on with an exciting way to green up your life from your mobile phone, (Read The iPhone Blog's hands-on here), plus video and a slew of photos.
Let's face it: One of the scariest things for many people as we move into "the future" is giving up control. And that continues as we move from the age of fossil-fuel vehicles to hybrids to all-electrics.
Very simply put, the plug-in-hybrid Chevrolet VOlt is an electric car that plugs into your home electicity grid, either the standard 110 volts your're used to, or a more robust (and thus quicker charge) 220 volts. With a full charge (about six hours), it gets roughly 40 miles. That's no small feat. But where the Volt, which will be available for purchase later this year for less than $40,000, really shines is with its integration with mobile phones -- the Motorola Droid, iPhone and BlackBerry.
With the mobile app, you control when and how the Volt charges. Want it to juice up late at night, after the peak usage hours? No problem. Schedule it straight from your Droid. Forget to turn on the charge? Again, easy as pie. The bullet points for the mobile phone app, from OnStar:
- Display charge status.
- Tell the Volt to "Charge now," or schedule a charge cycle.
- Display the battery charge level, electric and total ranges.
- Set grid-friendly (off-peak) charging times for when rates are lowest.
- Send text message or e-mail notifications for charge reminders, if a charge was interrupted, or when the vehicle is fully charged.
- Shows miles-per-gallon rate, electric-only miles (when it's not using gasoline), and odometer readings.
- Shows MPG, electric miles and miles driven for last trip and lifetime.
- Remotely start the vehicle -- to warm or cool using the power grid instead of the car's battery or gasoline engine.
And that's all from an app that's currently only in demo status. Not bad, huh? Below is is the demonstration we got at CES from OnStar's Paul Pebbles. (Video courtesy of TiPB's Rene Ritchie.)