General Motors has just announced pricing plans for their new 4G LTE-equipped cars. The 2015 Chevrolet Malibu will be the first of a fleet of more than 30 GM models that will come with a 4G LTE connection powered by AT&T this year.
The plan starts at $10 for 200MB of data a month, and goes to $20 for 1GB, $30 for 3GB, and $50 for 5GB. OnStar subscribers get a $5 break on the 200MB or 1GB plan, bringing the monthly cost to as low as $5.
“Our objective here is to allow you to bring your digital life in your vehicle, and your vehicle into your digital life," said Terry Inch, chief operating officer for GM's OnStar unit. Translation: ‘We want to cash in on this mobile stuff too!’
With an LTE connection, the car can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot that can connect up to seven devices. The connection also will help augment OnStar coverage and services.
Now maybe I’m missing something here. My smartphone already works in my car and I can turn it into a Wi-Fi hotspot too. I can also use my phone to call for help and get driving directions. About the only thing it won’t do is unlock the car if I lock my keys inside (although I suppose I could use the phone to call AAA or use it to smash the window). The point is, why would I want to pay GM for something that I already have?
The biggest problem is that I’m pretty sure just about every study ever conducted has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that talking on the phone or texting while driving is a bad thing. So is eating while driving, putting on makeup, or yelling at your kids. Using a hands-free device is only marginally safer than texting or holding a phone up to your ear. Distracted drivers are unsafe drivers.
And I don’t care how important you think that call or text message is. Even if you are trying to close a million dollar deal or defuse a bomb over the phone it won’t make much difference when you wrap your brand new Chevy around a telephone pole.
Why don’t they just start installing cocktail dispensers in cars? Or self destruct buttons? Or devices that will randomly shut off you engine while you are driving causing the brakes and steering to stop working.
Oh wait. They already have those. GM calls them ignition switches.