In a segment dominated by Tesla, GM is risking plenty of sales by downgrading its “hands-free” driving technology.
The upcoming redesigned 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV and all-new Bolt EUV crossover will offer General Motors’ Super Cruise “hands-free” semi-autonomous driving technology. However, interestingly, it will be a watered-down version in comparison to the tech GM has already featured in other vehicles.
According to a recent report published by GM Authority, while GM already introduced an Automated Lane Change feature in several Cadillac models, the Bolt’s version of Super Cruise tech will be void of the advanced driver-assistance system.
Essentially, GM’s Super Cruise can pilot the car on its own on select highways, and it doesn’t require you to keep your hands on the wheel. However, if you’re driving the new Bolt, you’ll have to take the wheel every time you need to change lanes. Since GM’s primary rival is Tesla, and Tesla’s cars can perform nearly all driving operations unassisted – on at least some level and under certain conditions – it would only make sense for GM to beef up the Bolt’s available automated driving technology to better compete.
Gallery: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV
Keep in mind, no current advanced driver-assistance system is capable of full self-driving. Regardless of Tesla’s feature names – Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Capability (FSD) – it doesn’t yet offer a car that can drive itself. However, FSD Beta testers have already proven the technology can pilot a car in mixed conditions with minimal engagements. They’ve also proven that the technology is far from perfect, and must be used with the utmost caution.
It’s important to note that GM didn’t just choose to deactivate the Automated Lane Change feature, but rather, the Bolt’s platform isn’t actually capable of supporting it. The feature requires GM’s new Vehicle Intelligent Platform (VIP), or Global B architecture. Sadly, while the new Bolt looks updated, both the Bolt EV and EUV are still on the old Global A platform. If GM had truly completely redesigned the Bolt and built it on the new platform, this wouldn’t be an issue. However, it chose not to do so.
GM Authority says that even though the Bolt is technically a “new” vehicle, it’s mechanically similar to the outgoing model. The same applies to the new Bolt’s tech features.
Gallery: 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Perhaps it made sense, and cut costs, for GM to redesign the Bolt and steer it in the direction of the new Global B platform without completely moving it to the updated architecture. However, if you talk to just about any Tesla owner, Autopilot and the eventual Full Self-Driving technology are at the top of the list of reasons the Silicon Valley automaker is considered a leader in the segment. Meanwhile, some publications and experts strongly disagree.
So, aside from the platform situation, what is GM’s reasoning behind this decision? Is it hoping to avoid the constant scrutiny Tesla is under related to its self-driving tech? Is the transition to enable the tech too expensive (GM is saving it for its pricier luxury electric vehicles)? Is Tesla Autopilot far enough ahead that GM is unwilling to go to bat against it at this time?
We really have no way of knowing exactly why GM decided to keep the Bolt on the old platform and exclude such features. We’d love to know what you think. Leave us a comment below.
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