General Motors (GM.N) plans to phase out widely-used Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technologies that allow drivers to bypass a vehicle’s infotainment systems, shifting instead to built-in infotainment systems developed with Google for future electric vehicles.
GM’s decision to stop offering those systems in future electric vehicles, starting with the 2024 Chevrolet Blazer, could help the automaker capture more data on how consumers drive and charge EVs.
The automaker is accelerating a strategy for its EVs to be platforms for digital subscription services.
A surface-level reading of this article instantly riles up any frequent user of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. For many, the first thing they do when getting in their vehicle is plugging their phone in. For those fortunate enough to have wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, it just happens, as is the case for some GM vehicles. Perhaps it takes someone who doesn’t use either smartphone projection technology to dig a little deeper.
GM is not shy about this change being driven by data collection in order increase revenue. In fact, Edward Kummer, GM’s chief digital officer, came right out and said it:
We do believe there are subscription revenue opportunities for us.
They do believe that revenue generation is important. Taken a step beyond subscriptions, what other revenue generation opportunities might be available? With revenue a focus — as it is for any publicly traded company — how might GM’s revenue be bolstered further?
Sometimes it becomes necessary to read between the lines — to take some of the information presented and extrapolate how those things might work together down the line, whether that’s one year out or 10. GM’s partner in this endeavor is Google. Google is, at its core, an advertising company. It has a mobile operating system, web browser, search engine, Gmail and more not to provide services to consumers, but to serve as platforms for collecting consumer data and displaying ads.
Now, instead of the phone, the vehicle itself can become a data collection and ad display platform. Consider using your new GM EV as you normally would: daily commute, trips to the store, the occasional weekend or longer roadtrip. Whether you use the built-in GPS functionality or not, the car will know where you’ve been and where you are. And if you tell it, it’ll know where you’re going, too. What a veritable treasure trove of data that advertisers would love to use. And what better way to display those ads than on that big screen that’s front and center.
It seems far fetched, but the possibilities — the potential — may be too great to resist.
Let’s take it a step further. EVs are currently more expensive than their internal combustion engine counterparts. This is a truth that won’t be easily escaped, mostly due to the nature of battery technology and the need to source materials. It’s being alleviated somewhat by the tax credits in place, but what if GM could alleviate it even more and offer something that its competitors don’t?
What if buying your next GM EV was like buying an Amazon Kindle? One price for a normal EV, a cheaper price for a EV that displays ads to you that you can never turn off. Potentially, a price that’s the same or even lower than its ICE equivalent.
What a bonanza this could be. And it’s just beginning.