Chevrolet is partnering with Shell to launch a new feature that allows drivers to pay for gas on their vehicle's information and entertainment screen. It is the latest feature of General Motors' new Marketplace service where owners can pre-purge coffee and gas or make restaurant reservations from the driver's seat.
The owners of selected Chevy models will soon be able to drive to any Shell station, select the fuel payment icon on the screens of their dashboard and then start charging fuel. No need to touch your wallet or your phone, says the automaker. In fact, it's a little more complicated than that, as Rick Ruskin, Chevy's online business manager, showed in this video.
it's a little more complicated than you think
As Ruskin demonstrates, Chevy owners must enter the number of the pump they are parked in and then select their payment method. (Marketplace allows users to enter several different credit cards). Then, the owners must enter a PIN number that Shell sends them when they register in the "Pay and Save" program of the gas company. The PIN allows a "safe" transaction, says Ruskin.
Photo of John F. Martin for Chevrolet
And there is more! The screen asks Chevy owners to authorize payment. And when they get out of the car to start fueling, they must enter the authorization code in the pump that was provided to them on the dashboard screen before the gas starts to flow. Those are three separate codes that are needed even before a drop of fuel enters your gas tank.
This feature is specific to Chevy 2017 and 2018 vehicles, and only works at Shell stations in Detroit, Seattle and Houston. Chevy says it is preparing for a nationwide launch this summer, by which time it will be available at more than 14,000 Shell stations.
The new feature is part of a continuing effort by automakers to redesign the driving experience and include more smartphone style features. When it was announced last December, GM described the Marketplace as "the automotive industry's first trading platform for on-demand bookings and purchases of goods and services." Of course, other car companies are exploring similar characteristics, including Jaguar with an almost identical shell association.
Chevy says that its on-board payment system is "embedded", which means it does not require a smartphone or any type of anchor such as the Jaguar solution. And although Jaguar uses PayPal and Apple Pay as a method of payment, Chevy points out that its users can import their own credit cards, which eliminates intermediaries.
As cars connect more, adding Wi-Fi and LTE capabilities, they expect to see more shopping and brand advertising features included on vehicle screens.