Canadian Manufacturing

Chevrolet launching in-vehicle mobile data, Wi-Fi in 2015 models

Automaker said integrated wireless technology to be available in U.S., Canada in summer 2014

LAS VEGAS—Chevrolet said it plans to introduce the same high-speed wireless connectivity available in today’s latest smartphones in its 2015 model year lineup.

Announced ahead of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the automaker said its vehicles will soon employ a next-generation version of its OnStar service that will include 4G LTE connection and built-in Wi-Fi wireless internet hotspots in the United States and Canada.

“Chevrolet is expected to implement the broadest deployment of 4G LTE in the automotive industry,” Chevrolet senior vice-president Alan Batey said in a statement.

Beginning this summer, the 2015 Corvette, Impala, Malibu and Volt models will be available with the optional connectivity package, followed by the Equinox, Silverado and Spark models.

Chevrolet said the tiny Trax sport utility will also be available with the technology in Canada.

More models available with the option will be announced later this year.

“The fact that OnStar with 4G LTE will be available in models that range from the Chevrolet Spark to the Silverado to the Corvette is indicative of our broad commitment to deliver more value and convenience through smart technology applications,” Batey said.

“This new, purposeful technology solution will make our consumers lives easier to connect.”

As part of the wireless rollout, vehicles equipped with the option will include Wi-Fi hotspots, allowing passengers to connect Internet-enabled devices to the network, and an integrated app store that will allow drivers to download applications directly to the vehicle.

According to Chevrolet, its AppShop will be accessible through the MyLink infotainment system, allowing the download of news, weather, music and travel apps right to the vehicle.

“We know that our customers rely on being connected on a daily, if not hourly basis, and they expect to be provided with the information and content they desire with no interruptions,” president of Chevrolet parent company General Motors’ connected consumer division Mary Chan said.

“A 4G LTE hotspot that’s built into a car’s architecture will provide a more consistent and powerful Wi-Fi connection than a smartphone.”

According to Chan, the wireless connection will also allow for the infotainment system and other on-board software to be updated over time.

The program is being introduced in collaboration with U.S. communications giant AT&T, allowing existing customers to add their vehicle to a shareable pool of data through AT&T mobile plans.

Drivers can also pay for data as a standalone plan, according to Chevrolet.

The automaker did not announce how Canadian customers will be able to access data or through which service provider.

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