Many car makers tout smartphone connectivity as a selling point, but GM won't in the future. In a Reuters interview, GM digital chief Edward Kummer and vehicle cockpit experience executive director Mike Hichme say GM will phase out Apple CarPlay and Android Auto with upcoming electric cars, beginning with the 2024 Chevy Blazer EV. Instead, you'll have to rely on Android Automotive and its apps.
Users will get eight years of free Google Assistant and Google Maps use at no extra charge, GM says. The company doesn't mention what you'll pay if you still need those functions afterward. We've asked GM for comment. It will still offer CarPlay and Android Auto in combustion engine models, and you won't lose access on existing EVs. GM plans an all-electric passenger vehicle line by 2035.
The company argues that Android Automotive provides more control over the experience. There are upcoming driver assistance technologies that are "more tightly coupled" with navigation features, Hichme says, and GM doesn't want them to require a smartphone. Kummer also acknowledged that there are "subscription revenue opportunities." Don't be surprised if you're paying a recurring fee for certain features like you already do with some brands.
Android Automotive has a growing footprint. On top of GM, companies like BMW, Honda, Polestar, Stellantis, Volvo and VW are adopting it with or without Google apps. However, the platform doesn't preclude support for CarPlay or Android Auto. GM is deliberately dropping those features. While this could lead to some innovative driver aids, it could also force you to mount your phone if there's an app or function the EV's infotainment system doesn't support.
The decision is a blow to Apple. Its services may not have native support in GM EVs. The iPhone maker is also developing a next-gen CarPlay experience that can take over the entire dashboard — GM just ruled itself out as a potential customer. If Apple is going to have more control over your drive, it will have to turn to other marques.