Last year, GM executives said that the company will soon mass-produce autonomous vehicles and deploy them in ride services fleets. We now have a more specific timeframe as to when this might happen. According to a report from Reuters, GM will deploy thousands of Chevy Bolt autonomous vehicles in test fleets next year, in partnership with Lyft.
If true, this will be the largest test of fully autonomous vehicles before 2020, when a lot of major automakers plan on announcing and mass-producing self-driving cars. The Chevy Bolts will apparently be used and tested by Lyft in several states across the US. GM doesn’t plan on selling the autonomous Bolts to individual customers initially, mainly because the vehicle will be quite expensive and therefore probably won’t sell very well.
Mike Ableson, an executive at GM, adds:
If you assume the cost of these autonomous vehicles, the very early ones, will be six figures, there aren’t very many retail customers that are willing to go out and spend that kind of money. But even at that sort of cost, with a ride-sharing platform, you can build a business.
GM invested $500 million in Lyft at the beginning of 2016, which is why it will partner with the company to test its autonomous vehicles next year. It is also possible that it will eventually deploy self-driving Bolts in its own car-sharing service called Maven. The company has big plans for its popular EV, as it has recently added 100 Chevy Bolts to Maven’s fleet of vehicles in LA.