Car makers are increasingly making data connections the default in new vehicles, and it’s having an impact in terms of usage: Chevrolet released numbers today that show in-car use of its OnStar 4G LTE data connection grew by around 200 percent in 2016 vs. 2015. Among its best-selling full-size SUV Tahoe and Suburban drivers specifically, the usage spike was even greater, rising 260 percent.
The total amount of data used among Tahoe and Suburban owners in 2016 was 713,669 GB of data, which Chevrolet notes is equivalent to 3 million hours of streaming video or 25 million hours of streaming music. It’s likely that this will only grow in the future, too, since Chevrolet now makes 4G LTE connectivity standard equipment across its lineup of cars – though service still requires an additional data subscription on the part of the user.
These in-car data usage spikes are significant because they increasingly represent a way for car makers to drive additional revenue post-purchase from car owners. In fact, connected cars could drive 10 times the revenue as ordinary cars over their lifetime, according to a recent industry survey.
Data connectivity will likely only become more important to vehicles and car owners, too, since vehicles are going to lean more heavily on in-car and inter-car communication as autonomous vehicle and driver assistance technology grows. We still might be a decade out from full, truly self-driving automobiles we can use in everyday life, but staking out that connected territory early is going to be smart for automakers looking to profit by it later on.