GM has been spotted benchmarking a Tesla Model S Plaid and Model 3. The latter appeared to be in order to test Tesla’s Summon feature.
Tesla has had a lead in electric vehicles for a long time, which made its vehicles popular for other automakers to benchmark as they develop their own EV programs. Benchmarking involves acquiring a Tesla vehicle and either dismantling it to inspect and learn from its sub-system or testing it on the road to benchmark the performance.
Porsche was often spotted benchmarking Tesla’s vehicles. Mercedes-Benz famously benchmarked and dismantled a Tesla Model X in the weirdest way ahead of launching its own electric SUV.
Tesla vehicles have also made their way to Michigan to be tested by “the big 3,” or what used to be known as “the big 3.” In 2016, Ford paid a $55,000 premium to buy one of the first Tesla Model Xs and benchmark it. GM hasn’t been spotted benchmarking Tesla vehicles as much, but it has certainly been involved in similar tactics.
Back in 2019, Steve Carlisle, who at the time was the head of the Cadillac brand and now is in charge of the North American market for GM, said that the company was ‘obsessively’ benchmarking Tesla.
Now in the space of just a few days, GM has been spotted benchmarking both the Tesla Model S Plaid and the Model 3 – via GM Authority. Both Tesla vehicles were spotted near GM testing facilities in Michigan.
In the case of the Model 3, GM Authority reports that it was spotted testing the Smart Summon feature:
These photos were captured near a GM testing facility. The Tesla Model 3 sedan is finished in white and includes a GM vehicle inventory barcode on the rear bumper, as well as Michigan manufacturer license plates. Critically, the Tesla sedan did not have a driver onboard when these photos were taken. In fact, the sedan was driving by itself to another person nearby.
GM has its SuperCruise suite of advanced driver-assist features, and it might be looking to add to it with some features similar to what you can find in Tesla’s Full Self-Driving package, like Smart Summon.
GM is going to rapidly expand its EV lineup in the coming years, starting with the Cadillac Lyriq in the coming months.
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