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Electric Avenue

GreenCharge App Reveals Cost Of Owning An Electric Car

The gas pump conveniently displays exactly how much a full tank costs. Plugging your EV in means a fill-up is mixed in with the rest of your electric bill. But a new app lets you calculate exactly what you’re paying (and saving).

GreenCharge App Reveals Cost Of Owning An Electric Car

Ever wonder how much money you’re saving by owning that Nissan Leaf or Chevy Volt? Maybe you’re just curious about how much CO2 you could prevent from being released if you owned one. Xatori, the startup behind the electric vehicle outlet-hunting Plugshare app, is back with GreenCharge, an iPhone app that lets Leaf and Volt drivers get real-time battery, charging, and range information; see driving broken down by mileage and price; compare savings to gas vehicles; and see how much CO2 they saved.

"We have this big community of Plugshare users, and one of the biggest frustrations was around information and cost of electric vehicles," explains Xatori Co-Founder Armen Petrosian. At the same time, he says, Nissan and Chevy "built a lot of technology for their cars but keep the cool features to themselves."

In fact, both Nissan and Chevy have apps that allow EV users to check on their charging status, but the apps don’t do much more than that. GreenCharge syncs with the two vehicles, which actually come with usernames and passwords so that drivers can hook the cars up to outside apps, much like the Facebook Connect program allows outside developers to use the Facebook platform. Petrosian expects that more EV manufacturers will adopt similar platforms in the future.

The app itself is surprisingly detailed. Xatori gathered up public (but hard-to-find) information on local electricity prices throughout the U.S., and then plugged it in so that users can find out how much it costs to juice up their EVs. The CO2 emissions information is a little less exact; it takes into account the average electricity mix in the U.S., which is mostly made up of petroleum and coal. In areas that use more wind and solar power, then, the emissions calculations might be off.

The GreenCharge app can still come in handy for users that don’t have an EV. Xatori set up a demo vehicle that all users can tap into and explore. Of course, an app with a $9.99 price tag will probably only lure users that actually have an EV.