GM's OnStar subsidiary will offer smartphone applications that will let Chevy Volt owners control key vehicle functions and OnStar features from afar.
The applications for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones will be available when the electric vehicle launches late this year, OnStar said. Remote access will also be possible from a cellphone's Web browser.
Last fall, Directed Electronics unveiled a Smart Start app for the iPhone, and at International CES it launched a BlackBerry version of the app. Via cellular, the apps transmit commands for remote starting, door locking and unlocking, security-system arming and disarming commands, and trunk popping. Smartphones with the app also act as car finders by honking the horn, and they also receive notifications of a break-in.
For the Volt, the smartphone apps will remotely lock and unlock doors, honk the horn and flash the lights, activate the heating or AC (from the power grid if the car is plugged into a power outlet), remotely charge the vehicle if plugged in, set a timer to remotely charge the vehicle during off-peak hours, and remotely view the status of vehicle systems. On their cellphone display, Volt owners would be able to see charge status, remaining vehicle range, cumulative and last-trip miles per gallon, and odometer and trip odometer readings. The smartphone would also receive vehicle diagnostic updates via email with a regular OnStar subscription.
With an OnStar app, consumers will be able to remotely unlock doors, honk the horn and flash the lights without making a call to an OnStar call center, but the call centers will continue to offer key OnStar service, including automatic crash response, turn-by-turn navigation, hands-free calling and stolen vehicle assistance.