Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Important Media Cross-Post


GM Working On $30,000, 200-Mile EV That Could Compete With Tesla Model E

September 19th, 2013 by  

Editor’s notes: Assumption is that Tesla’s affordable, 2017 EV will be called the Tesla Model E; Tesla’s use of lithium-ion batteries (a different kind than used in laptops) will not result in a worldwide shortage of such batteries (video on that coming soon). Now, here’s Chris DeMorro’s post from Gas2.


Tesla’s incredible sales success has automakers the world over wondering how to counter the Silicon Valley automaker, and General Motors could have the answer. GM is developing a 200-mile electric car with a targeted sales price of $30,000, right in the same sweet spot Elon Musk is aiming for. But who will launch first?

GM has already hinted that it is developing a line of Tesla-rivaling EVs, one with a 100-mile range and the other with 200-miles of range per charge. Elon Musk’s goal is to launch a $30,000, 200-mile electric car by 2017 at the latest. While GM hasn’t put a timetable on the launch of its own Tesla fighter, executives have said the technology exists; it’s just the price point that remains a sticky issue.

To date GM’s only pure electric car is the Spark EV, which has been surprisingly well-recieved, though it is for sale only in a handful of markets for now. It also has just 82 miles of range per charge, well short of Tesla’s entry-level Model S which boasts up to 208 miles of range as well as a $70,000 price tag.

But whereas Tesla needs to launch the Model X SUV next, GM is free to concentrate on an affordable competitor that might even reach the road first. It just comes down to price, with automakers stuck paying twice as much or more for their battery packs. Tesla’s use of laptop batteries (which could soon lead to a worldwide shortage) means their batteries are substantially cheaper than the batteries used in the Chevy Volt. Speaking of which, may I suggest returning to the original Volt concept (above) for design inspiration?

GM will have to overcome that price hurdle, or else sell its electric vehicles at a loss, in order to compete with Tesla. It only has about four-years to do it, though. Is GM capable of fighting Tesla on its own turf? Or will another automaker steal the show?

 Source: Wall St. Journal

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  • Matt

    Tesla 200 miler will be able to use Supercharger network…free. Has GM figured that one out yet? Current commercial 240v chargers (Blink, Chargepoint, etc.) only charge 10 -12 miles per hour. And many of them cost you $2/hr to charge. Tesla will have full 200 miles put back in in same amount of time at no cost. Which $30K electric would you buy?
    BTW – I love my Volt. But would like to drive electric 100% of the time. Better driving experience.

    • Bill

      People forget that Supercharger access is a $2,000 option on the 60kWH base Tesla, which now costs $71,070 (including freight, before $2,000 Supercharger enabled option price, before tax credits). You have to spend a minimum of $81,070 on an 85kWH car (including freight, before tax credits) to get “free” Supercharger access.

  • Wayne Williamson

    Availability of cheap batteries is the key….

  • Marion Meads

    The next couple of years is going to be extremely interesting in the EV world! GM is having a watchful eye over Tesla. Let us hope that there will be real competition instead of coopetition between the various EV makers. While GM has excellent scale up and Supply Chain Management experience, it is saddled with the same union workers….

    • Bob_Wallace

      Right. The way we build great cars is to turn workers into serfs.

      Line ’em up and screw ’em.

  • Marion Meads

    You should mention Envia, to which GM is a stakeholder. In the Envia poster, the same GM BEV can go 300 miles with a price tag of only $20,000

    • synanon

      Then why does no such car exist? If GM could make $20K EVs with 300 mile range you’d think they would let somebody know.

  • JamesWimberley

    I back GM. Both GM and Tesla (as well as Renault-Nissan) have solved the conceptual challenge of designing an attractive, usable electric car. What´s left is a very straightforward double technical challenge – more range, lower cost – and the deeper the pocket, the more chance of getting there first.

    • synanon

      The Volt isn’t an EV and the Spark isn’t attractive, so GM has yet to solve the challenge.

      Whats left is GM just starting out on this strategy while an affordable long-range EV has been Tesla’s “north star” since the company was created. Who would seriously bet on GM over Tesla?

      • Jim Goller

        I have have driven 11k miles on 30 gallons of gas with my volt (some have gone thousands of miles on no gas), call that an “EV”, 92% of the time it is an EV, it just has a gas extender for longer trips that even a tesla couldn’t do without a supercharger. The Spark has more torque than a Ferrari and I think looks better than a Leaf (so does an old shoe). I think the Volt is now closer to $30 K in price, and has OnStar and is fast and fun to drive. GM is going to do OK…

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