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GM Canada Engineering Center to build fleet of self-driving 2017 Chevrolet Volts

In remarks to the Economic Club in Ottawa, GM Canada president and managing director Steve Carlisle confirmed that its Canadian Engineering Center in Oshawa, Ontario, has been awarded a mandate to play a leading role in the build of autonomous driving vehicles. These vehicles will be part of a test fleet based at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan.

GM’s fleet of self-driving 2017 Chevrolet Volt electric vehicles will first be deployed as part of a broader test program at GM’s Technical Centre in Warren, Michigan. Through this program, GM employees will reserve a Volt using a car-sharing app, then select a destination. GM’s autonomous technology will bring the vehicle to its destination and park it.

The program will serve as a rapid-development laboratory to provide data and lessons to accelerate GM’s technical capabilities in autonomous vehicles.

In April 2015, GM Canada announced it that had been awarded a new automotive R&D and innovation mandate at its Oshawa Engineering Centre, focused on fast emerging “connected car” and the development of new urban mobility solutions. The company is hiring 100 new software engineers and engaging a growing ecosystem of select Canadian universities, accelerators and suppliers in its mandate.

The opportunity to realize fully autonomous vehicles has recently become a high profile issue for governments as billions of dollars are expected to be invested in new infrastructure. The Conference Board of Canada has suggested that autonomous cars could save Canadians $65 billion per year through less congestion, less fuel and fewer collisions and fatalities.


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Full speed ahead GM and everybody else that are developing fully self-driving vehicles. It can only go too slow. The world need this technology now in order to create nearly endless demand for taxi BEVs that have the lowest fuel cost per mile and that can be operated at minimum 100k miles per year as a taxi service in order to also get very low capital expenses per mile. Gassers and dirty diesels will be uneconomical by comparison as they are expensive to fuel and they are only good for 200k miles whereas a BEV can be made to be good for 1 million miles before scrapping.

With endless demand for batteries the cost of batteries will fall dramatically and that in turn will make wind and solar power the only energy source we need. So all energy related pollution problems on this planet can be solved simply by creating the software that enables vehicles to drive themselves.


Revenue-producing vehicles are rarely "scrapped" merely for propulsion failures. Engine and transmission repairs and reconditioning generally occur in small increments, such as rebuilds/part replacements. Vehicle repairs become uneconomical for a variety of reasons, but it's hardly just propulsion.

The full replacement cost of a typical engine in the A through C class for a "taxi" is far cheaper than even the projected cost of a battery with competitive range capability. For example even a battery of modest 24kWh capacity in the Gigafactory world of $150/kWh is over $3500, more than 3x the cost of a 1L ICE. It scales with size and capability. You can buy an LS6 crate motor as a consumer from a distributor for about $30k, giving you over 500shp to meet all your sporting desires. That implies an engine cost at the manufacturer of under $20k. A 90kWh battery in 2020 will be almost the same at factory cost and cannot last 200kmi with day one performance.

Also, is there something about BEVs that improves the life of struts, springs and shock absorbers? Suspension ride/height adjustment mechanisms? Door and window mechanisms? HVAC actuators (which are now mostly electric)? Power steering components? Brakes? Body structural corrosion? Seat rail and safety mechanism wear? On and on it goes. There is far more to cost of upkeep than propulsion.

Moreover since there is no meaningful large scale reliability and service cost data (excepting the excellent Prius), the "1Mmi" number is currently a projection with no foundation for assessment.


It's nice to quote replacement 'crate' ICE prices, but the installation labor, scores of mechanical/electrical/hydraulic/air/exhaust/.. parts multiply the replacement price.

I actually owned a 2000 Hyundai Elantra, 30,000 miles, with a two inch hole in the oil pan.

-NO one would attempt welding/brazing the pan in engine fumes

-Body bracing blocked replacing the pan in-place

.. soo, my option was to pull/fix pan/reinstall the engine - with a quote of several times the cat 'Blue Book' worth.

Thank God for J&B welding epoxy(solid for over 50,000 mile until traded[perhaps still])

..think replacing EV battery/bolt-in motor..


Since I don't know when this happened to you, I'll assume that the car was two years old at 30k miles. The Elantra sold in 2000 for about $8k. At 2-3 years it had lost about 30% value, so had a KBB of roughly $5k.

"with a quote of several times the cat 'Blue Book' worth"

Sorry, I don't believe it.


I agree with Henrick. A new 100% e-taxi company (Téo) started in Montreal last week with 50 units (Tesla Model-s, + Leafs + e-Soul). The intention is to grow to 2,000 e-units by 2019. Total cost will be around CAN$200 million.

Hope that automated drive units will be incorporated in the fleet ASAP.

Uniformed drivers are employees paid CAN$15/hour + social benefits but many on part time to match demands.

Quick charge stations are installed in strategic places


First, I like self drivi8ng. I'd like not to have to drive.

Second: Has anyone considered how this essentially costly development compares to seat belts, air bags, and enhanced crumple zone/crash testing? I mean, the car companies made the argument when certain safety features were to be mandated that the cost would be borne by the consumer and thus the added cost would adversely affect consumers and hurt the market. Shouldn't scoff at these guys now as the spend on this "unnecessary" advancement in an attempt to demonstrate how weak and babyish their whining about seat belt and catalytic converters was in the hope of knocking the whiney weakness out of them? I mean, couldn't it be argued that any technological advancement is just like seat belts and catalytic converters and shouldn't we enlighten as much of the populous to this as possible so that we don't have to fight the trogs of the status quo industries?


driving-shouldn't we-they edits you can put in.


Herman, my point - esp. mechanic/shop labor & offered trade-in wholesale - was clear and this reality has little to do with what you believe.

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If you build a factory making 500k units per year of a 250hp combustion engine with associated exhaust system and complex transmission IMO it will cost about 2 to 3 times as much as making 500k units of a 250hp electric motor with control unit and gearbox. The electric system can be made to go 1 million miles before replacement and the combustion engine will do 200k miles if gasoline and perhaps 400k miles if diesel non-turbo.

Of cause the battery cost a lot more than a fuel tank. However, the economic advantage of a driverless taxi (two seater) BEV doing 100k miles or more per year is quite clear. The final proof will be when these driverless taxis arrive commercially around 2020. They will nearly all be BEVs. Those that are not will be priced out of business in a few years thereafter.


Henrik as a very good point.

UBER-X like well programmed supply and demand e-taxis could be very effective (bu picking 2 to 4 passengers going to the same relative places) without overloading street and road traffic.

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