I've been thinking about the removal of the projection subsystem in Android Automotive for GM's upcoming EVs and sent the following to [email protected]
on Sunday. What I didn't want to do was send a "whine" letter, but rather one that made product improvement suggestions that would benefit GM's bottom line while giving GM's customers more control over their vehicles.
Subject: Removal of Android Auto/Apple Car Play in Ultium EVs
Dear CEO Barra,
The removal of the projection systems for Android and Apple is a mistake. Given that the cell phone industry is continuing to push for higher and higher speeds and that there is limited bandwidth available, this means that current cell phone networks will be replaced. This has occurred at least twice since OnStar was first deployed and GM United States has never offered a way to upgrade the OnStar cellular receiver/transmitter in their vehicles. GM Canada did offer to upgrade for a price the vehicles in Canada during this last network upgrade.
While I understand GM’s desire to ensure they receive telemetry for product improvement, this can be done without requiring an OnStar account. I also understand that as they currently sit, the mobile device versions of Google Maps and Apple Maps are unable to provide some of the information vehicle integrated mapping software can provide. However, rather than take away the ability to run a cell phone powered map via projection, provide this feature as an added cost item (not too much).
In fact, knowing that there is a significant portion of the population that doesn’t want to have GM, or any other automotive manufacturer, to receive telemetry from their vehicles, here’s a proposal that would bring in some more money for GM and keep everyone reasonably happy:
- Base price includes full OnStar with navigation – If the cell network upgrades during the initial or any subsequent subscription OnStar pays to replace the cell network interface.
- Additional cost, not more than $100 - $200 US, add the projection systems back to the vehicle. Android Automotive supports projection systems natively and GM is having to explicitly remove this feature.
- Additional cost, $500 - $1,000 USD – removal of all telemetry from the vehicle via a special OnStar module that doesn’t contain . This gives those who don’t want any telemetry from the vehicle a way to purchase this feature.
Also, below is my list of GM cars from my first vehicle in 1985:
1985 Pontiac Fiero 2M4, traded for a Fiero GT after 8,000 miles because I didn’t trust the engine. About a month later the first media reports of Fiero 2M4 engine bay fires started showing up.
1985 Pontiac Fiero GT, traded for a Pontiac Transport when it no longer met the needs of a new parent.
1990 Pontiac Transport, traded for a Pontiac Montana after 240,000 miles when my kids got tall enough they needed higher backed seats.
2002 Pontiac Montana AWD, traded after 186,000 miles for a 2012 Chevy Cruze LS for my son’s college graduation.
2012 Chevy Cruze ECO, destroyed by hail after 103,500 miles.
2017 Chevy Volt LT, purchased partly with the insurance check from the Cruze ECO and my current vehicle.
The 2024 Equinox EV 2LT was my number one choice to replace the Volt, but with the removal of the projection system from the vehicle, it is now at the bottom of the list while I look at other options.