Insurance

General Motors ready to get into the car insurance market under its OnStar umbrella

OnStar Insurance Services will launch later this year.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

OnStar is best known as the service that activates when you press the button in your General Motors car. It can do any number of things from emergency dialing to concierge-like service. Now, GM is looking to add one more aspect to its OnStar roster - insurance.

GM's new insurance agency, OnStar Insurance Services, will be the exclusive agent for OnStar Insurance. In a release, GM said that they intend to offer "a secure, fair, personalized and easy-to-use digital insurance experience for drivers".

The insurance plan will integrate with drivers' existing OnStar services and presumably provide a great deal of data to OnStar and GM regarding daily habits of the vehicle's driver(s) and safety as part of the program.

OnStar Guardian app OnStar recently released the Guardian app, which untethered users from their vehicle and allowed them to take their services with them. Photo courtesy of General Motors

OnStar Insurance is aiming to provide insurance that is secure, fair, personalized, and easy to use. "OnStar Insurance will promote safety, security and peace of mind," said Andrew Rose, president of OnStar Insurance Services. "We aim to be an industry leader, offering insurance in an innovative way. GM customers who have subscribed to OnStar and connected services will be eligible to receive discounts, while also receiving fully-integrated services from OnStar Insurance Services."

The junction of the two arms of OnStar will allow customers to have their vehicle's Automatic Crash Response activated in the event of a collision, then have an OnStar Emergency-certified Advisor can send help. From there, OnStar might be able to access telematics, safety system, and infotainment data to determine the cause of the crash and begin the repair process without having to wait for coordinated responses from numerous parties as would traditionally occur when a crash happens.

OnStar is working with vehicle insurance providers to devise a plan that will focus on a customer's precise risk factors to determine the price, including individual vehicle usage and driving habits. The company says that those with "smart driving habits" should be rewarded. Several insurance companies currently offer discounts like this. OnStar looks to also provide feedback to drivers.

OnStar Insurance Services seeks to create a centralized location for customers' automotive insurance needs. It is likely that this means that a buyer can purchase a vehicle from a dealership with insurance and their OnStar safety system subscription built into the contract.

Starting with Arizona residents, OnStar Insurance Services will initially offer OnStar Insurance to GM employees in Q4 2020, expanding to additional customers, including the general public, in early 2021.

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A prototype of the 2022 GMC Hummer EV undergoes winter weather testing in Michigan.

Photo courtesy of GMC

All vehicles go through extreme weather testing. From the desert sands of the Arabian Peninsula and Mojave Desert to the freezing cold of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Scandinavia's upper reaches, vehicles from concept to near-production.

During that testing, research and development team members are finding out if their power- and drivetrain components are properly functioning as they have designed them to, checking on calibration, and also discovering the hardiness of their work.

When it comes to electric vehicles, there are additional tests that play into it. Does the battery deplete too quickly? Is the battery able to handle the cold weather? Are the electric motors getting enough power?

GMC HUMMER EV | The Next Chapter youtu.be

It was this, and more, put to the test by General Motors engineers when they got behind the wheel of the 2022 GMC Hummer in the northern reaches of Michigan. While driving in sub-zero temperatures they tested the all-electric truck on various slippery surfaces, including snow, ice, steep and split-mu grades. Key tests include integrating its powerful all-wheel drive torque distribution with the traction control system, as well as calibrating and testing the electronic stability control system.

The video shows the Hummer EV looping a test track, using four-wheel steering to handle ice, and bumping its way over some mild snow piles. There's also a show of the suspension system absorbing the imperfections in the roadway, allowing the cab of the truck to remain stable.

There are some differences with the prototype truck seen testing here and the renderings of the model that were shown off by GMC at the truck's reveal. Specifically, the front end. Eagle-eyed enthusiasts will note that the headlights and the area between them is not as refined as it was in the original images.

At this point, it is unclear as to why the change has been made and whether or not it's permanent. Likely, it's just fascia that has been deleted for testing and will be replaced when the vehicle heads to production.

The 2022 GMC Hummer EV is slated to go into production this autumn. Find out more about the product rollout plan for the model here.

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Bugatti is selling just 40 Divos worldwide.

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

Only 40 Bugatti Divos will be made. Four of them were recently delivered to U.S. customers. The latest customized version of the supercar to be delivered by the French automaker pushed the limits of what the Bugatti craftspeople are capable of. As company founder Ettore Bugatti once said: "If it is comparable, it is no longer Bugatti."

Meet the Bugatti Divo named "Lady Bug".

The Divo premiered in 2018 and shortly thereafter a prospective buyer and noted collector from the U.S. approached Bugatti with an idea in mind. They wanted a strict geometric pattern that featured diamond shapes in a unique color contrast on their Divo. The Bugatti design and development team set about figuring out how to make that happen.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" design process

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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Two special metallic paint colors were developed: Customer Special Red and Graphite. The diamond pattern was designed to run precisely from the front over the sides to the rear – matching the silhouette of the Divo.

Bugatti's team spend a year-and-a-half to develop and implement the technical and graphic solutions the Divo owner required. Adding the diamonds to the car was far more complex than they expected. They would have to be painted onto the body with precision and exact definition.

What made it so hard? According to Bugatti, "the digital patterns in the CAD program bear little resemblance to reality: owing to the three-dimensional, sculptural form of the Divo with its contours, curves and ribs, the 2D-printed diamonds became distorted on the surface of the exclusive hyper sports car. As a result, they had to be digitally modified."

Being off by as little as one millimeter would ruin the entire visual effect. The total would be 1,600 diamonds by the time the pattern was fully executed.

Weeks later, designers discovered a way to match the CAD data with reality. They ended up being able to pull the film over the deeply concave surfaces of the Divo without the diamonds becoming distorted or developing folds.

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug" graphics application

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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During the pattern's development, a test car was used to perfect the pattern. After the initial steps of the application process were applied to the customer's Divo, Bugatti's team need to remove each diamond. Graphite paint and a clearcoat were applied on top of the effect paint in Customer Special Red in order to invert the pattern. As part of this process, the paintwork was sanded, smoothed, checked, retouched and then re-sanded. All in, the total time spent on the paint on the customer's car alone was two weeks.

"Every Bugatti Divo is one of a kind. With the custom-made 'Lady Bug', Bugatti has demonstrated the full range of its customization expertise. What initially seemed impossible was executed to perfection by the designers and developers in collaboration with the customer," says Stephan Winkelmann, President of Bugatti."We are proud to have matched the customer's personal taste and expectations with this unique Divo. The car really demonstrates what the marque is capable of in terms of creativity and craftsmanship."

Bugatti Divo "Lady Bug"

Photo courtesy of Bugatti

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There were no changes to the car's W16 powertrain for the project.

Each Divo is priced at $5.6 million USD but buyers pay more depending on which options they choose. All Divos are produced by the Bugatti Alelier in Molsheim. The first deliveries of the supercar happened in August 2020. All models will hav been delivered by this spring.

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