General Motors’ electrified, autonomous vehicle future is about to hit overdrive—with related industry standards playing a vital role in the transformation.
“The Chevrolet Bolt EV cracked the code—long range and affordability—and proves that we have the capability to bring electric vehicles to life faster than anyone else,” asserted Ken Kelzer, GM’s Vice President of Global Vehicle Components and Subsystems, during a keynote address on the opening day of SAE’s 2018 WCX conference in Detroit.
Kelzer said that SAE is a great forum for members to learn and collaborate on new technologies as well as navigate a consistent approach to standardization. “As we look toward the future challenges of new technologies, it is critical that we are unified in the development and application of standards,” he said.
Kelzer encouraged the WCX audience and engineers in general to get involved with SAE’s standards committees, which are the backbone of global mobility standards development.
In the next 18 months, GM will introduce two new all-electric vehicles based off the lessons learned from the 2017 battery-electric Bolt. They are part of a stream of “at least 20” all-new, all-electric vehicles that GM will launch by 2023.
“General Motors believes in an all-electric future and a world with zero emissions,” Kelzer said, noting that drivers of the Bolt and the Chevrolet Volt range-extender hybrid have logged more than 2.6 B miles (4.2 B km) of all-electric operation.
The automaker’s move toward electrified vehicles dovetails with its work on autonomous vehicles, which is production-exemplified by the Super Cruise hands-free driving technology (SAE Level 2) that debuted on the 2018 Cadillac CT6 sedan.
On the testing side, GM has autonomous vehicle fleets on public roads in metro Detroit, Phoenix, and San Francisco. Urban environments are especially relevant with challenging self-driving situations occurring up to 46 times more often than other testing scenarios. Kelzer said that every minute of testing in San Francisco is as valuable as an hour of testing in the suburbs.
“We plan to commercially launch our self-driving Cruise AVs in dense urban environments in 2019,” Kelzer said about the all-electric vehicles.
The automaker’s new mobility business, Maven, has a prime role in the electrified, autonomous vehicle of tomorrow. It is “helping GM prepare for the future by gaining real-world insights into fleet management, public sector partnerships, mobile transactions, infrastructure development, and EV charging patterns,” he said.
GM’s ongoing work with hydrogen fuel-cell stack development, in collaboration with Honda Motor Co., is being used in prototype and concept vehicles, including the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2 pickup currently being evaluated by the U.S. Army, and the SURUS (Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure) heavy truck platform with four-wheel steering and modular design. Kelzer claims the production stack, due in 2020, “will lead the industry when it comes to cost, power, and compactness.”
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