Mary Barra, CEO and chairman of the GM board, discussed the future of auto technology and the new Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle during her CES keynote.

Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading

January 7, 2016

4 Min Read
<p align="left">(Image: GM)</p>

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LAS VEGAS -- General Motors is among several automotive companies demonstrating new technologies and making announcements at CES 2016.

Earlier this week, GM shared the news of its partnership with Lyft. As part of the long-term collaboration, GM will invest $500 million in the ridesharing service and join its board of directors.

The goal of the partnership is to build an integrated network of on-demand autonomous vehicles in the U.S. by combining GM's auto technology expertise with Lyft's background in providing ride-sharing services. GM will be a preferred provider for short-term use cars for Lyft starting immediately.

GM kept the updates rolling on Jan. 6, when CEO Mary Barra delivered a keynote at CES. Barra, the first woman to lead an major automaker, was named chairman of the board at GM on Monday.

[Smartwatches at CES: Samsung, Huawei, HTC]

"A lot has changed in the last 50 years, but today, the pace accelerates even more," said Barra on the evolution of auto technology. In her time as CEO, she has taken GM's senior leadership team on a tour of Silicon Valley tech companies to spark innovation.

"Societal trends like urbanization and sustainability are changing customer requirements and how they interact with automobiles," she continued. Barra predicts the industry will change more in the next 5 to 10 years than it has in the last 50.

GM is no stranger to electric vehicles (EVs), as indicated by its work on the the second-generation Chevy Volt and Spark EV. Barra said that in 2015, GM sold seven times more 4G-equipped vehicles than the rest of the industry combined.

The company is continuing to drive its efforts in electric vehicles with the 2017 Chevy Bolt EV, which appeared onstage during Barra's keynote.

Its new electric car promises to deliver the benefits of an electric vehicle at a price that isn't completely outrageous to the average consumer. The Bolt EV will cost around $30,000 after government incentives, said Barra.

Is it accessible to everyone? No, but it's less expensive than $33,800, which, according to the Kelley Blue Book last month, was the average price of a new vehicle in the U.S., Barra noted.

For each full charge, the Bolt EV will get more than 200 miles of range. The car will have advanced connectivity for an improved and more personalized driving experience.

Drivers will be able to save time with EV-specific routing, Barra explained. The advanced range predictor of its navigation system will consider factors like temperature, topography and the customer's driving habits to determine whether you can arrive without a charging stop.

Up front is a 10.2" customizable touchscreen display with a widget-based operation. The Bolt EV also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Other tech-friendly features include a wide-angle great camera mirror, which displays an unobstructed view of everything behind the car. The vehicle is also compatible with a mobile MyChevrolet app that provides info on its charging status, mapping, owner's manual, dealer service schedule, and the option to pre-set the car temperature.

In terms of space, the Bolt EV has a flat floor because its battery is built into a chassis underneath the passenger cabin, which can fit up to five people. Cargo space behind the rear seat measures 17 cubic feet.

GM is also trying to bring gamification into the owners' driving experience. Customers will be able to compete with other EV drivers on data like miles per charge and the highest MPG equivalent, Barra explained.

The 2017 Bolt EV will be in production this year and will become available in late 2016.


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About the Author(s)

Kelly Sheridan

Staff Editor, Dark Reading

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial services. Sheridan earned her BA in English at Villanova University. You can follow her on Twitter @kellymsheridan.

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