Calculating the fuel costs of a traditional vehicle is quite easy – just look at the price read-out on the gas pump or receipt after you finish filling it up. The cost of filling up an electric vehicle's battery can be a bit more difficult to pin down because you don't get a receipt on the spot and the cost of electricity fluctuates regularly. GM plans to make the process easier for Chevy Volt owners with a new app currently being tested designed to give Volt owners a full cost breakdown.
The EcoHub app, which is currently being tested at GM's Pecan Street smart grid demonstration project in Austin, Texas, pulls home energy data from the utility company and also collects information about the owner's Volt charging. It calculates the energy used to charge the Volt and the cost of that energy, taking into account the Volt's consumption and the rates at the time it is charged.
This information is displayed in dollars and kilowatt hours and shows it as percentage of total home energy use. Users can get readouts for the day, month and year and save themselves the work of breaking down the numbers. The app should take some of the mystery out of EV charging costs for owners and prospective buyers.
Of course, the Volt is a series hybrid, not a pure electric vehicle, so Volt owners will need to consider the cost of any gasoline used when calculating the total cost of fueling. As we alluded to before, though, the cost of gassing up doesn't exactly require an app.
GM hopes to make the EcoHub app available to all Volt owners that are interested "in the near future." Volt owners will have to opt in to give GM access to their personal charging information.