With most of the world’s major car manufacturers jumping on the EV bandwagon, electric vehicles are on the cusp of setting off into the mainstream. Even as the sustainable mobility arena gets crowded, General Motors enters the fray bringing along a storied legacy of pioneering work in the modern EV realm. In fact, before any other modern day EV, it was the General Motors’ EV1 electric car of the 1990s that showed us a glimpse of how electric propulsion has the potential to go mainstream in the automotive world. The car also pioneered several technologies that are now commonplace in modern electric vehicles.
Building on this pioneering legacy, the global auto major plans to transition into the new era of mobility with technology and sustainability at its core. The brand’s vision of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion with electric and autonomous driving, is one that promises to make the world a safer and less polluted place.
In keeping with its efforts to minimise environmental impact, GM aims to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035 and plans to be carbon neutral by 2040 in its global products and operations. To reach these goals, the automaker plans to decarbonise its portfolio by transitioning to battery electric vehicles or other zero-emissions vehicle technology, sourcing renewable energy and leveraging minimal offsets or credits.
GM has also committed to bringing to market 30 EVs globally by 2025, many of which will come to the Middle East, and has increased global investment in Electric Vehicle and Autonomous Vehicle future to $35 billion between 2020 and 2025. There are also plans in place to make EVs appealing and accessible. The brand already has the Chevrolet Bolt EV and will be launching the GMC HUMMMER EV next year, as well as the Cadillac LYRIQ in 2023.
A milestone in the brand’s journey towards a future of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion is the launch of OnStar, GM’s pioneering in-vehicle safety and security technology, in Kuwait this past summer. OnStar offers the widest range of safety and security services to drivers and enables the underlying connectivity in the vehicle brands allowing a suite of connected services focused on convenience and innovation, setting a new benchmark in in-vehicle services. “OnStar is fully integrated within the majority of General Motors’ vehicles from model year 2021,” says Gary West, Managing Director, OnStar and Future Mobility at General Motors Africa and Middle East. “OnStar is a leader in in-vehicle safety and security services and has over 25 years of experience in assisting its members in their hour of need, across the world. The safety features that OnStar is renowned for – such as Automatic Crash Response, Emergency Services and Stolen Vehicle Assistance – all feed into our wider vision of Zero Crashes, while the Connected Services features that it enables for our GM Auto brands – such as Smart Driver, Remote Key Lock and Unlock, On-Demand Diagnostics and Wi-Fi – all of which further provide a seamless and convenient driving experience. We are already in the process of rolling out this offering to the Middle East and it is available in Kuwait with more markets to come soon,” West adds.
To help make this vision a reality, GM is working closely with governments across the world and the Middle East. Within the UAE, the brand recently announced a partnership between the GM majority-owned Cruise and Dubai RTA which will bring a fleet of autonomous vehicles to Dubai from 2023, aimed at public transportation. Cruise will be the exclusive provider for self-driving taxis and ride-hailing services through 2029, in support of Dubai’s mission to reduce transportation costs and convert 25 per cent of trips in the city to self-driving transport by 2030.
“Many governments in the Middle East have put in place a thorough sustainability plan, such as Dubai in the UAE’s aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and Saudi Arabia targeting cutting emissions to net zero by 2050 as well,” says West. “The work underway to achieve this is promising when we look at the adoption of our EV and AV portfolio. We believe in an all-electric future, which can only be achieved via a broad EV portfolio that will drive consumer adoption. We have seen support so far from regional governments in incorporating our technology and offerings to align with a wider mandate of efficient, safe driving experiences, and look forward to achieving further similar milestones.”
Further enabling GM’s commitment to its vision, specifically with zero emissions, is its innovative Ultium battery technology, a modular battery with flexible drive unit combinations scalable to build a wide range of trucks, SUVs, crossovers, cars and commercial vehicles, leading to an EV for everybody.
To shed light on how GM is leading the way in electrification with its ‘Everyone In’ strategy, an event is being organised in Dubai on November 22 which will be livestreamed and open for the public to tune in. Titled Exhibit Zero Arabia, this virtual experience showcases how GM’s vision, technology and people are driving us all toward a future world of Zero crashes, Zero emissions and Zero congestion.
The event visualises the all-electric future in Arabia powered by GM’s Ultium Battery System through informative keynote presentations, exclusive looks at EVs, and interactive exhibits from Exhibit Zero, as well as the marvels of Ultium — all leading up to an immersive experience. With cutting-edge technology, floor-to-ceiling LED screens will create dynamic 270-degree photo-real landscapes of a connected, electrified and sustainable Arabia. This immersive live video allows perspectives to shift — giving them the experience of a future world unfolding all around them including:
• Futuristic city streets
• Cadillac VTOLs flying from rooftop to rooftop
• GMC Hummer EVs dune bashing in the desert
To make Exhibit Zero Arabia as realistic as possible, GM has worked with Alanoud Alhashmi, a well-known Futurist who has input into the creation of the CGI film and also serves as a speaker for the experience itself.