GM goes big at Consumer Electronics Show to bolster EV cred

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News
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Detroit — General Motors Co. is making its presence known at this year's virtual Consumer Electronics Show, another overt move to showcase its EV cred and underscore its bid for tech leadership in the auto industry.

GM is the only one of the Detroit Three automakers putting heavy emphasis this year on CES, a Las Vegas trade show that many automakers over the years have used to tout their technological chops to, well, a skeptical audience.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is participating with demonstrations of the company’s newest technologies using interactive product tours at fcaces2021.com. Ford Motor Co. isn't participating this year. Meanwhile, GM CEO Mary Barra is Tuesday's keynote speaker, following a Monday presentation by GM Chief Marketing Officer Deborah Wahl. Barra is expected to deliver news about GM's EV business and show off new electric product, Bloomberg previously reported. 

Also on Tuesday, GM senior vice president for innovation and growth, Alan Wexler, will take part in a digital change gents panel moderated by Edwin Wong from Vox. On Wednesday, GM's chief technology officer, Matt Tsien, will have a conversation with tech analyst Jeremiah Owyang, and GM President Mark Reuss will speak with authorMalcolm Gladwell.

During the pandemic last year GM "got more committed than ever to our EV plans," GM spokesman Stu Fowle said. "And we looked at how to keep that story going and CES, in terms of timing and a big audience and a tech leaning and with EVs being our message ... we saw [it] as a great opportunity at the right time."

GM's new logo is seen atop the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit.

Ahead of CES, GM introduced a new logo, the fifth in the company's 113-year history and what the company calls the most progressive. It features a lowercase "m" that is meant to resemble an electrical plug. GM changed the logo on its downtown Renaissance Center headquarters on Monday. It will replace logos at all of its properties in coming months. It also updated its website and launched www.gmexhibitzero.com/, a new website dedicated to GM's EV news and information. 

All of this and GM's new campaign dubbed "Everybody In" are geared to pushing EV adoption so GM can meet its goal of selling 1 million EVs globally by 2025. The Detroit automaker is spending $27 billion through 2025 on autonomous and electric vehicle technology. It plans to offer 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade, and it plans to make 40% of its U.S. entries battery-electric vehicles by the end of 2025. 

During her Monday address, Wahl introduced GM's new safety brand called Periscope, which uses a holistic approach to vehicle safety with a focus on vehicle technology, research and advocacy. 

"At GM safety is in our DNA," Wahl said. "We have a bold vision of a world with zero crashes. Now with over 90% of accidents due to human error, we need to help mitigate driver error, which means we must go beyond vehicle features and technologies. We're thinking more holistically and taking the human factor into consideration, Periscope is how we engineer safety through a human lens, where safety is more than vehicle features."

khall@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @bykaleahall

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