GM CEO Mary Barra addressed the Chicago Economic Club recently, sharing quite a few choice nuggets about what GM has in store over the next years in the process.
Straight away she made it clear that the automotive industry will experience a wave of change in the next few years.
“I believe the industry will experience more change in the next 5 years than it has in the last 50 years,” she said. “I don’t make this claim lightly. I believe we are on the verge of a revolution in personal transportation…it is impossible to overstate the magnitude of change I’m talking about.”
Every single piece of an automobile, she noted, is being reexamined and nothing can be overlooked.
“There are roughly 30,000 parts in the typical automobile and virtually all of them are being reconsidered and reimagined…different fuel sources; new propulsion systems; lighter, stronger materials; reduced environmental impact; connectivity preferences…are just a few examples of the reinvention process that’s underway.”
She also made it clear that while the automobile “best represented the 20th century,” the technology sector is undoubtedly the flag bearer of change in the the 21st century. But that perception, partially due to the merger of the tech and auto sectors, is beginning to shift.
“Interest in the auto sector is growing in many quarters. The technology industry, in particular, is becoming more engaged because they realize that cars are the ultimate mobile app. I am glad our industry is attracting so much attention…”
While Barra highlighted GM’s firm commitment to battery tech – noting the Chevy Bolt EV is on the way– she said, “electric is only part of the answer.”
Another part will come in less than two years in the form of a new wireless vehicle communications technology, known as V2X. “We are going to start connecting cars to each other, and the world around them, using V2X…”
“V2X encompasses both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology. It’s a game changer for safety, because when enough cars share information about such factors as speed, direction, and braking, crashes will be substantially reduced,” she summarized.
And if you’re thinking V2X is merely a spec on the automotive horizon, you’d be wrong. “It is here. We know how to do it. And it will transform the industry in the coming years.”
She said GM is already working with the State of Michigan and the University of Michigan to create more than 100 miles of V2X-enabled corridors in the Detroit area.
Cadillac will take the lead with V2x and the 2017 Cadillac CTS and CT6 full-size sedan will be the first GM vehicles to showcase the new tech. “I believe it will also be a first for the industry,” said Barra.
“At GM, we have made it clear…we want to build the most valued automotive company. Second place is not our aspirational goal. We want to win. We want to lead.”