GM’s plans in­cludes self-drive cars and elec­tric bi­cy­cles

The Witness - Wheels - - TRENDS -

VOLT sales to make in­roads into other elec­tric cars sales, from Tesla to Leaf; an elec­tric bike; and self-steer­ing cars — these are all in­cluded in the to-do list of Gen­eral Mo­tor’s CEO Mary Barra and ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent Mark Reuss.

GM had told the media in July it has set aside a prov­ing ground for au­ton­o­mous car test­ing that is the size of a small farm.

The latest news is that GM em­ploy­ees at this War­ren Tech­ni­cal Cen­tre can test-drive au­ton­o­mous 2017 Chevy Volts on the 6,5-hectare fac­tory grounds. and those cars will be booked us­ing a pro­pri­etary car-shar­ing app.

In early 2016, as­pects of the car-shar­ing pro­gramme — util­is­ing tra­di­tional hu­man-driven ve­hi­cles — will ex­pand to New York City, and will fea­ture the abil­ity to share rides with other users go­ing to des­ti­na­tions in the same gen­eral ar­eas.

The com­pany also con­firmed that its “Su­per Cruise” au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy will ap­pear on the 2017 Cadil­lac CT6.

In ad­di­tion, GM will fo­cus on us­ing light­weight ma­te­ri­als to en­sure that fu­ture ve­hi­cles will re­quire less fuel. That plan ap­pears to al­ready be tak­ing ef­fect, as GM cited the weight re­duc­tion achieved in the forth­com­ing Chevro­let Mal­ibu and Ca­maro, which achieve sav­ings of 300 and 400 pounds, re­spec­tively.

It was also re­vealed that a joint pro­ject with Honda should yield a zero-emis­sion hy­dro­gen fuel cell ve­hi­cle around 2020.

The most out­side-the-box as­pect of the pre­sen­ta­tion might have been the un­veil­ing of a Gen­eral Mo­tors e-bike, which would marry tra­di­tional hu­man propul­sion with an elec­tric mo­tor to ease starts and hill climb­ing.

No pic­tures or specs re­gard­ing the as­sisted bi­cy­cle were avail­able on the media site, and it’s worth not­ing many cy­cling com­pa­nies cur­rently have sim­i­lar prod­ucts avail­able to­day.

Of course, ve­hi­cle sales will con­tinue to be the com­pany’s dom­i­nant rev­enue stream, and more fo­cus will be put on re­fin­ing ex­ist­ing ve­hi­cles and in­creas­ing prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. GM says that 26% of its sales in 2015 have come from ve­hi­cles that were all new or sig­nif­i­cantly up­dated in the last 18 months. The goal is to in­crease that to 40% by 2019 and 2020.

Two brands in par­tic­u­lar were men­tioned. GM says that it is mak­ing a $5 bil­lion (R68 bil­lion) in­vest­ment in an all-new “growth mar­ket ve­hi­cle fam­ily” over the next five years, and that Cadil­lac will ex­pand into grow­ing lux­ury seg­ments.

Fi­nally, the com­pany ex­pects to off­set its costs by pur­su­ing cost pur­chas­ing, man­u­fac­tur­ing, and ad­min­is­tra­tion ef­fi­cien­cies that will yield $5,5 bil­lion in sav­ings be­tween 2015 and 2018.

— Wheels Re­porter.

PHOTO: MO­TOR AU­THOR­ITY

Gen­eral Mo­tors CEO Mary Barra and ex­ec­u­tive vi­cepres­i­dent Mark Reuss.

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