GM’s self-driving unit Cruise issued an update on its progress as it looks to achieve large scale deployment in San Francisco, including a scaled buildout of electric vehicle infrastructure.
Cruise’s investment in EV infrastructure will include “the largest EV fast charger station in the country,” CEO Dan Ammann said in a Medium post. There weren’t any further details about that specific plan, however.
For comparison, Tesla’s Kettleman City Supercharger station is one of the largest — if not the largest — EV charging station in the US, with 40 Superchargers.
GM’s Cruise has the world’s largest fleet of all-electric self-driving cars — it uses Chevrolet’s Bolt EV — and Ammann says Cruise owns “nearly 40 percent” of the EV fast chargers in San Francisco, where it is headquartered.
Cruise originally planned to launch a driverless taxi service by the end of this year, but it appears testing will take a little more time than anticipated, according to Ammann:
In order to reach the level of performance and safety validation required to deploy a fully driverless service in San Francisco, we will be significantly increasing our testing and validation miles over the balance of this year, which has the effect of carrying the timing of fully driverless deployment beyond the end of the year.
The timeline for that launch is now unclear, though Cruise will increase both the number of cars on San Francisco roads and its presence in the community.
Ammann also notes Cruise continues to work on “the self-driving car of tomorrow” with both GM and partner Honda. The car is being developed in Warren, Michigan, and Amman stresses it “is not a concept car.”
Furthermore, Ammann writes that “this new vehicle completely re-imagines from the ground up what a car can be.”
Cruise secured an additional $1.15 billion in funding in May, giving the company a valuation of $19 billion.
Considering where things are at right now with full autonomous driving, we’d be more surprised if the service was ready by the end of the year — we’ve only got about five months left, after all. Cruise was probably too ambitious with its timeline, and at this point, the company has reset the clock. Ammann didn’t hammer down a firm future date, and that’s probably smart.
We’re obviously intrigued by Cruise’s other plans for the country’s largest fast charging station, and its idea of what the car of the future might be. But as with the driverless service, it appears we’ll have to wait for further details.
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