CES 2010: Chevy And OnStar Show Off BlackBerry Application For Chevy Volt

By Bla1ze on 6 Jan 2010 09:46 am EST

We've heard before that Chevy was working alongside OnStar to come up with a mobile application that would interact with the much talked about electric Chevy Volt. The official announcement actually arrived back in December. Engadget got an up close and personal look at the interaction the application has with the Volt in their hands on video posted above.

Working between your device (BlackBerry, iPhone or Android) and the OnStar backend you can monitor and manage quite a few aspects of the Volt all from your mobile device. Things such as checking the charging status, reviewing driving statistics and of course locking or unlocking the doors, beeping the horn and finally, starting the car up. Pretty cool connectivity with your car, the only bad thing about it is that you likely have to wait until the end of 2010 or 2011 in order to make use of the application as that's when Chevy expects the Volt to roll out to consumers.

Reader comments

CES 2010: Chevy And OnStar Show Off BlackBerry Application For Chevy Volt


This a very cool feature. If I new this application was out and was getting that car I would get a phone that would have the ability to get this app. Unfortunately, I am not going to be getting a Volt.

they can do this for any car that is connected to the On-Star system. Great idea and all manufacturers should have something like this for their cars moving forward. Especially the unlock door feature which could literally be a life saver.

This is not really new technology, telematics has been around since the late 90's. It allows you to use your phone to call to unlock, lock, or remote start your car with an aftermarket alarm system.

I wish they would work with my Chevy Duramax diesel truck with Onstar with the ability to unlock/lock and remote start it. Then I could start it during these frigid temps without having to leave my office desk.

I thought you truckers just left the diesels running....

Well then maybe you could use this to shut it off remotely ;-)

they tell us not to idle these new ones with the diesel particulate filter(DPF) on the exhausts very long because it is hard on the filter.

you (rayjr13) are thinking of a tractor and trailer truck, he was talking about a passenger truck. yes it is true that most drivers leave their trucks running in the winter, except where it's illegal to do so, as it's much harder on the equipment to turn it off and on frequently.

the ability to unlock your car is AMAZING on your phone... think about it.. no more carrying your keys around when you have your phone...

Then what happens if you lost your phone.

It becomes a whole other security issue if you don't adequately secure your phone.

Also, this goes through the OnStar system which means Onstar may have information about where you have been what you are doing how fast you are going, etc. If you get in an accident, it could be used to harm your case (assuming you were driving too fast or something).

I guess I like these kind of apps, but take them with a grain of salt. There is always a negative to be found.....

Losing your phone is already a security issue, with or without the OnStar app.

No one is forcing you to use OnStar. There are plenty of step-by-step tutorials on the Internet that show you how to completely disconnect the system.

So the first editions of the Chevy Volt will be the traditional gas-electric hybrid not plugin. Not only that the suggested MSRP is around $40,000 while a Honda Insight or Toyota Prius start around $20,000. With an estimated government credit of $7,500 you are still looking at a more expensive machine than either rival hybrid, even with the two years of Onstar they will probably throw in for free. Good business plan? I would be much happier if GM spent their time working on fit and finish and shoring up the rest of their car division rather than exercises in Blackberry development. Our tax dollars at work here.

They are considering putting a pin for the control of door locks? seriously? With all the people that end up pocket dialing what makes you think this app would be immune? I wouldn't necessarily think someone would steal your car but anything left lying around inside or in the trunk.

Where did you read it was not a plug in?? I've had the production model and a few WIP versions at my house and it was plugged right into the outlet.

1. Gas-electric hybrid cars are relatively new on the market; not what I'd call "traditional."
2. The Volt is propelled exclusively by an electric motor all the time, but on the occasion that you drive more than 40 miles a gas engine will generate electricity until you can get to a place to charge the battery.
3. Please tell me where I can get a Prius for $20K. What a steal!
4. "Fit and finish" are old headlines. You might be surprised at how much the quality has improved.
5. Someone who has problems with "pocket dialing" probably has even worse issues with the remote control key fobs that most cars have now, but that's no reason to eliminate the benefit for the rest of us.

1-2. your right, I should have written that it was not a pure plug in and has a "gas generator" that comes into the mix when you travel over 40 miles or for most people less than that due to the conditions. By "traditional" I meant that the gas-electric model is the most commonly referenced model of building hybrids like a "traditional" engine placement would be longitudinal as it was the early choice even though the transaxle engine is much more common currently.

3. the current MSRP for a base model third generation Toyota Prius is $22,400 a Honda Insight is $19,800, MSRP. the Nissan LEAF will likely be around the $30,000 without a govt rebate and be out sooner is some areas than the VOLT.

4. I drive three cars in the GM line regularly for work, a 2009 Chevy Malibu, a 2009 Chevy Impala, and a GMC Savanna van '06 I think. Although the Malibu is a major step up from previous cars its improvements have not gone through the whole line up. (Chevy Aveo vs. Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, etc.) Gotta love the corvette zr1 though.

5. a key fob has a limit to the distance in which you can unlock/lock doors. etc. Onstar does not. On more than one occasion I have been in our offices on the third floor while a co-worker is on the phone getting onstar to unlock the car to get the keys locked inside. I am not saying to eliminate the option but the idea to not add a pin would be just asking for lawsuits from people in too tight skinny pants.

It kills me that so many car companies are literally 5 to 10 years behind the curve when it comes to converging technologies like multimedia or communications. CD playing, radio data system, MP3 playback, and cellphone/GPS integration are all simple things that seemed to take FOREVER to make it into the 'standard feature' category (some still haven't). Good for GM for thinking ahead to where technology is going, this is the kind of thing that really doesn't cost much compared to the rest of the expenses of new model production, but can have such a dramatic impact on the driving experience.

This will pay huge dividends for GM if they are able to release clean, easy to use apps that give drivers useful information. For a lot of people, a car is the most expensive thing they will ever own, for some it's second only to their home. Why pay so much for something that's stuck in the stone age?

They take forever because: 1) they cost money to include; and 2) design to showroom floor is probably around 5 years.

Do you know what is going to be the gadget du jour 3 to 5 years from now?

It would literally "kill" a lot of people if car companies were as sloppy with product development and testing as consumer electronics companies. Not only do automotive manufacturers need to find protocols and interfaces that have a chance of being around for the next 10-20 years (Will Bluetooth even exist in 5 years?), but they have to make sure that they will work reliably and safely in the harsh automotive environment (See how well a BlackBerry works when it is soaked at -40 or +130 degrees.).

I applaud GM for integrating personal technology into the Volt, but I worry that it will be obsolete 5 years from now. I'd rather leave these kinds of leading edge electronics to the aftermarket so I can upgrade during the life of the vehicle.

Being able to control other attributes of your live though a phone is the future. I plan to create a app where you can control electronics in your house, through an app on a blackberry. I promise you other things such as this will be were the money is at.

I was just saying they needed an app that interacts with your car so you can lock/unlock doors; start it; turn the heater, radio, whatever on; show you gas mileage, quantity, and other stats.

I sent in a picture from another website, gminsidenews.com, and what I thought was interesting was that they showed three phones with screen shots of the app, but more interesting was that they were all of the Storm. Blackberry has been getting a lot of face time lately...