In brief: GM went all-out at this year’s annual CES tech event. Instead of showing off an incrementally-improved line of cars, the company aimed high. It revealed an all-new ‘Ultium’ EV battery platform, as well as two exciting new vehicle concepts: a single-occupant VTOL, and an autonomous van with a comfort-focused interior.
GM claims its Ultium batteries will have the “highest nickel and lowest cobalt” content and will come in “large-format pouch cells.”
Theoretically, this design approach should allow the cells to be stacked vertically or horizontally in an EV, paving the way for better-optimized battery layouts and reducing the design burden for vehicle engineers.
Alongside the Ultium platform, as we said before, GM teased two other vehicles, both of which boast rather futuristic — and decidedly unrealistic — designs. First up is the Cadillac VTOL, a “personal drone” that can travel from rooftop to rooftop at speeds of up to 56mph.
GM says this drone would prevent you from contributing to ground traffic, while also freeing up time for you to do “what you want.” Clearly, such a vehicle would be targeted at the rich (in true cyberpunk fashion), but it’s still a pretty cool idea.
And then there’s something a little more down-to-earth: the Cadillac Personal Autonomous Vehicle. GM envisions a “mobile living room” interior designed for comfort and an “enhanced customer experience,” while featuring a fully AI-controlled, biometric-based user interface. In other words, the vehicle could feature your own Jarvis.
Voice control would adjust things like lighting, “scent,” and air humidity, letting riders tune their riding experience to their specific tastes.
Since these vehicles were revealed as vague concepts at CES, they are almost certainly not undergoing active development at GM HQ. Perhaps that will change in 10 or 15 years, but for now, they should be viewed as little more than cool ideas for the future — the far future.