Last week the Consumer Electronics Show went virtual, as have most events and Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors was a keynote speaker. If you have not read Part 1, check it out and then finish off with Part 2 below and finish up with Part 3.
Back to body-on-frame
Since inception, and until the last few decades, a majority of GM vehicle were built body-on-frame of metal and fiberglass. They have enormous experience. And, if you think of it, a skateboard and top hat make vehicle differentiation extremely easy and quickly accomplished. GM is committed to delivering 30 EVs, globally, in the next five years, based on three distinct architectures for Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC, with three new EVs for Buick. We think those will be designed for and in China and eventually imported.
“Design is influenced by manufacturing, materials and components,” according to Michael Simcoe, vice president of global design for GM. EVs and the way they are envisioned, designed and created recreates the original Harley Earl process. Auto makers have been the first to seize and use digital tools, from early pens and tablets, to laser scanning, Virtual Reality and 3D immersion. Now, VIP (more on GM’s digitalization later) provides designers with the ability to digitally provide distinct personality and personalization using light, color and sound.
GMC Hummer EV
“The irony of introducing Hummer as an EV is not lost on us,” said Aaron Pfau, lead development engineer, GMC Hummer EV. “And a clear articulation of what we mean when we say any vehicle can be an EV.” Newly announced is Terrain Mode with one-pedal driving wherein the accelerator combines with friction brakes to provide superb control.Watts To Freedom, a double-press on the traction control followed by firmer braking, vehicle lowering, Bose sub-woofer shaking the Hummer’s seat, battery system optimization is succeeded by an IP command to floor the throttle. “Then release brake and hold on.”
If Hummer is power, “Lyriq is the artful integration of technology for our most intimate driving experience,” according to Candice Willett, advanced creative lead designer, Cadillac.
It’s abundantly clear the Cadillac’s use of the Unreal Engine to bring its 3D instrument panel alive, the choreography of personalized greeting light show, customizable User Interface means the brand is now full-on towards luxury—which continues to be a growth segment.
Announced, or rather acknowledged, during the presentation was Celestiq, which appears to be a high roofline sedan or low roofline Bentayga competitor
With picturesque descriptions of four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering, suspended particle, selective quadrant glass roof and “A curated selection of materials, hand-crafted luxury experience, rear seat active privacy, and pillar-to-pillar display,” Crystal Windham, Cadillac director of interior design brought the digital creation to life. If Celestiq is the “bespoke and curated experience” described, it will be magnificent—and pricey.
Where’s My Flying Cars?
We couldn’t close without sharing the “maybe-soon-kinda-really” reality of what Ultium could ultimately provide. Yes, drones that enhance fully autonomous vehicles.
First, we were introduced to a halo vehicle, “biometrically sensing, voice controlled for relaxation and arrival. Of course there was a drone to follow, or a VTOL craft more precisely. Aimed at those for whom “time and convenience” are paramount, equipped with 90 kWh batteries and four rotors, it’s GM’s “glimpse of future autonomy.”