The Chevrolet Bolt EV (shown here from NYIAS 2016)
The Chevrolet Bolt EV will offer over-the-air (OTA) updates, similar to Tesla. GM Chief Executive Engineer Pam Fletcher recently spoke at a conference about the upcoming Bolt and verified the new information. She said:
“Yes over-the-air programming, and so the Bolt EV will have over-the-air software download capability."
The Bolt will arrive soon, ahead of its biggest competitor, the Tesla Model 3, and GM needs to assure that everything is in place to convince consumers that its product is better.
On top of this, GM is currently facing a substantial recall involving about four million vehicles (which includes the Chevrolet Spark EV).
Every affected GM owner will have to take their car in to have the software problem fixed. In the future, with the OTA update system in place, similar issues will be able to be easily fixed on vehicles like the Bolt EV, without a dealership visit.
Fletcher also addressed the company's initial focus on security, since consumers may have concerns with the new OTA concept. She explained:
“We take very seriously, and we were the first major automaker to establish a dedicated cybersecurity team … we really wanted to have all the necessary safeguards in place so that we could do over-the-air programming safely and securely on the Bolt EV."
While the OTA method is obviously a great benefit to customers and to GM, dealerships are affected negatively. This is a non-issue for Tesla since the company doesn't use dealerships, however, GM will have to figure out exactly how much will be handled over-the-air and how dealerships will be compensated.