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USA: OnStar Looking to Make the Smart Grid Smarter

DETROIT – OnStar is inviting utilities, energy companies and tech firms to develop Smart Grid solutions for the Chevrolet Volt using a set of proprietary OnStar application programming interfaces, or APIs.

“With the power of OnStar behind it, the Chevrolet Volt is Smart Grid-ready today,” said Nick Pudar, OnStar vice president of planning and business development. “Now we need utilities and other companies to take the steps necessary to make Smart Grid solutions a reality for Volt owners.”

OnStar is opening up its APIs to give developers the ability to broaden the potential for integrating EVs like the Volt with Smart Grid technology.

“At OnStar, we believe that innovation is fostered best through openness and transparency,” said Pudar. “The benefit of the approach we’re putting forth here is market-driven development of applications to best suit the needs of our customers.”

The set of Smart Grid APIs will be focused on a variety of recently developed solutions from OnStar including:
■Demand response – This solution connects utilities to companies that have intelligent energy management products. These companies can use OnStar to manage energy use for Volt customers who opt in for the service. This future service allows the customer to save money on energy costs while enabling more efficient use of the electric grid.
■Time-of-Use (TOU) rates – OnStar can receive dynamic TOU pricing from utilities and notify Volt owners of the rate plan offers via email. Owners will be able to use OnStar to load the rate plans directly into their vehicle and access them to schedule charging during lower-rate periods.
■Charging data – OnStar also sends and receives EV data that helps utility providers without having to interface with the vehicle’s electric vehicle supply equipment. This includes location-based EV data that identifies charging locations and determines potential load scenarios.
■Aggregated services – This solution allows electric service providers to manage the charging of participating vehicles in a given geographic area, with customer consent. This includes the ability to control charging on a large amount of EVs simultaneously. OnStar recently showcased these capabilities on Google’s “Gfleet”, where a Volt would receive a renewable energy signal provided by an energy management company, opening up the potential to alert EV customers when renewable energy is available on the grid for charging.

OnStar has previously used APIs to demonstrate Smart Grid solutions with a number of utilities across the country.

“We have partnered with OnStar to demonstrate the ability to display our time-of-use electric rate on both the Volt dashboard as well as on smart phones,” said Haukur Asgeirsson, DTE Energy engineering manager. “The ability to display the rate on the vehicle could help customers make informed decisions about when to charge their vehicles.”

Two weeks ago at the International Consumer Electronics Show, OnStar announced plans to give selected developers access to a proprietary API that will allow them create mobile applications designed to interact with OnStar services. The Smart Grid set of APIs is among the first to be offered outside of the company.

OnStar services are enabled by its Advanced Telematics Operating Management System. ATOMS is the most-powerful automotive cloud platform in the market today – connecting to more than 6 million OnStar customers. Apps created using the API will deliver services and functionality in the same manner. Giving safe access to the ATOMS Cloud Platform is part of a broad 2012 growth initiative OnStar announced at the CES.

Developers for Smart Grid services can access OnStar’s Smart Grid APIs by visiting OnStar’s dedicated Smart Grid website: or by sending an e-mail to

OnStar, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Motors, is the global leading provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology. With more than 6 million subscribers in the U.S, Canada and China, OnStar is currently available on more than 45 MY 2012 GM models, as well as available for installation on most other vehicles already on the road with OnStar FMV. More information about OnStar can be found at


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