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I don't expect GM to provide software functionality updates that are dependent on hardware revisions, although some updates of that type might be feasible on a fee basis. However, I see no reason why GM cannot, and doesn't, have a policy for offering hardware compatible software updates for their cars, including Volt, even if for a fee. For example, when I bought my iPhone 4 in 2010, it shipped with iOS 4. Since that time, the phone's software has been updated numerous times; although not all iOS 6 features run on my iPhone 4, the vast majority of them work fine. The functionality added over time has, for me, greatly added to the value and appeal of iPhone, compared to its competition. Similarly, GM could add to the value and appeal of their cars, compared to the competition, by deliberately designing the car's hardware and software systems in a manner that permits software functionality updates. These updates could, for example, introduce user interface enhancements, as well as help maintain compatibility with new handheld devices, such as iPhone 5. Additionally, software based functional enhancements, such as Volt's "HOLD" mode could be made available to extend the value and appeal of Volt (I'm thinking HOLD is software based, since the feature apparently existed on Ampera before made available on Volt). ...
On the Chevy Volt Facebook page, "Grant" once claimed that Hold Mode requires a hardware change, but he wouldn't elaborate. I've also seen a comment here from a supposed GM engineer citing regulatory difficulties; others speculated it was CARB.

GM's refusal to elaborate leads me to conclude that their reasons cannot stand the light of day. What is to say that I would not pay for a hardware upgrade to my 2012 to get Hold Mode? I do not live in California, so why do I care about some ridiculous CARB decision that makes my car *less* efficient?
 

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...why do many of us expect Chevrolet to "update" our Volts?
Because it would be so incredibly easy to do. This is a computer on wheels, and when I buy software for my computer these days, most of the time it comes with free updates, sometimes for life.
 

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If a phone update arrives and your phone goes wonky, it is an inconvenience.

I have to think that a lot of the software in the Volt is interdependent. So making a change in one area might affect operation in another. As a programmer, I am well aware of those kinds of unintended consequences. And with your car zooming down the highway at 70 mph, that would not be a good time to find out that newest release caused the speed control disconnect to stop working. It is a big difference from the cell phone analogy, IMHO.

Plus, does anyone really know if the federal government would really allow a vehicle that has passed all testing at a certain software revision level to be updated without starting the testing procedure all over again? I would also think the logistics would be a bit of a problem. They would never allow self installed updates, so they would all have to be done at the dealer, who would want to be paid for that time....

I am not saying I would not like to see some of the features in the car to have updates made available, I just don't know how realistic it is for cars.

C-5277
There are many software updates each year. They just don't include feature enhancements from later years.

BTW, GM has announced an API for user code. We'll see how that works out.
 
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