To deal with this so-called “range anxiety,” auto makers have been developing mobile applications to ease consumers’ fears that their battery-powered car won’t have enough juice. Over a recent weekend, I decided to try one out. General Motors Co. let me borrow their new Chevy Volt and a Motroloa touch-screen phone using Android software to see for myself how their OnStar app interacts with the car.
The app lets you lets you check the charging status and initiate charging, and it tells you how many miles the car can travel before it runs out of battery power and gasoline. It also can unlock doors, check tire pressure and cool or heat the cabin from anywhere as long as your phone is getting service.
GM says the app can help consumers manage their battery usage. For instance, by using the app to pre-start the car and warm the cabin while the vehicle is still docked at a charging station, the driver won’t have to drain any of the battery’s power to do that while on the road.