It was only a matter of time before Google managed to wedge itself into the electric car game. But the search giant isn't building an EV of its own—it's teaming up with OnStar to develop a bunch of new navigation features on the Android app for the upcoming Chevy Volt EV.
The new features, set to be exhibited this week at the Google I/O conference and shown in the video below, will allow Volt users to access a new "Navigation" tab that displays the current location of their Volt on Google Maps along with their location relative to the car. The OnStar screen will also let users search for destinations on Google Maps via voice, send the destination to OnStar by phone, and have OnStar turn-by-turn directions waiting when they get back to their vehicle. Don't let this sway your decision to purchase a Volt, though—the Google navigation features won't be available on the Volt application when it launches. Instead, Chevy and Google plan to integrate them into a later update.
The Volt app will have a number of other features upon launch, including a display screen showing the percentage of battery charge level, electric and total ranges; remote start; the ability to schedule charge timing; and a display screen featuring miles per gallon, electric only miles, and odometer readings, and more.
The app is the perfect companion for neurotic EV owners who want to know what their vehicle is up to at all times. But the auto industry's first smartphone app is also an experiment—will most people even care enough to remotely schedule charging?