GM CEO Barra Outlines an “All-Electric Future” with AI On Board at CES 

 GM CEO Barra Outlines an “All-Electric Future” with AI On Board at CES 

By John P. Desmond, AI Trends Editor 

Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO of General Motors outlined GM’s move into all-electric vehicles including autonomous self-driving cars, in a keynote speech at the Consumer Electronic Show held virtually this week.  

While global market penetration of all-electric vehicles stands at about three percent today, “We believe that is all about to change. We see an inflection point,” Barra said. “We are transitioning to an all-electric future.” 

Mei Cai, GM Technical Fellow and Lab Group Manager

Through its partnership with LG Chem called Ultium announced last year, GM is producing lithium-ion batteries that increase the vehicle driving range, lower the cost and reduce battery weight, said Mei Cai, GM technical fellow and Lab Group Manager for GM. “The foundation of our platform approach is the single, common cell design that can be used across our vehicles,” she said. 

The design allows for horizontal stacking in the bottom of the chassis, accommodating six, eight, 10 or up to 24 battery modules in a pack, depending on the power requirements of the vehicle. The chassis design provides a degree of protection for the batteries.   

A software layer, called the Vehicle Intelligence Platform (VIP), keeps everything working “It is capable of managing 45 terabytes of data processing power per hour, a five-fold increase over the current architecture,” Cai said. Plans are to roll out the VIP software architecture worldwide by 2023.   

GM has offered the OnStar over-the-air vehicle communication system for 25 years, giving it a leg up. GM receives 150,000 OnStar-related calls per day and 120,000 remote vehicle unlock requests per month, said Travis Hester, Chief EV Officer for GM.  

The SuperCruise driver-assist system, announced for Cadillacs last year, includes a driver attention system that monitors the driver’s attention with a camera to ensure eyes stay on the road. Software is updated remotely. Some 85% of Cadillac customers with experience  said they will only buy a vehicle with SuperCruise on it, Hester said. The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt electric utility vehicle (EUV) is expected to be the first Chevy vehicle to come equipped with the SuperCruise system.   

Barra said GM will have invested more than $27 billion in its electric programs by 2025.  

GM will have 30 new electric vehicles available globally in the next five years, said Michael Simcoe, VP of Global Design for GM. The Bolt EV and electric utility vehicle (EUV) will be in dealerships this summer, he said. Full-size electric pickups are coming as well.    

Barra returned to the screen and announced BrightDrop, aimed at helping delivery and logistics companies to move goods more efficiently. “BrightDrop offers a smarter way to deliver goods and services,” she said. GM has


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