Watch out Tesla – a General Motors executive just revealed that GM is working to develop an electric car with a 200 mile range that will be available for around $30,000. Vice President of Global Product Development Doug Parks explained to the AP that and while there is no current date set for its release, the car would help combat range anxiety while being more affordable for the “real consumer” than the $71,000 Tesla Model S.
Not long ago Elon Musk explained that a $30,000 electric car would be among the next additions to Tesla’s line up, potentially hitting the market in 2016—and it appears that several automakers are looking to develop just such a game-changing car for themselves. Speaking to the AP, GM’s Parks said: “The real trick will be who can do a 200-mile car for more of the price range I’m talking about [$30,000]. We’re all in races to do that.”
GM already has an affordable all-electric car—the Chevy Spark—in its lineup, which features a range of 82 miles. Arguably more than enough for the urban commute, it hasn’t exactly captured the imagination of the U.S. consumer. In fact, all-electric cars haven’t as a whole, making up only 0.3 percent of U.S. sales.
Rather, consumers making the switch to a greener car have been buying less-efficient hybrid cars—a result of frustrations with short battery life, a wariness of new technology and the high price of all-electric cars. While the Tesla Model S has been phenomenally well received by critics, it’s $71,000 price tag is still well beyond the reach of the average consumer. The combination of factors leads to headlines such as USA Today’s “Studies: Smart, rich people buy electric cars” late last year. While the studies may be statistically accurate, they produce some pretty alienating ledes.
So while Tesla’s vehicles go far, and are expensive, GM’s are cheaper and have about a third of the range. The trick is, invariably, in the battery. GM has just doubled the size of its battery research lab, with—according to Parks—the aim of doubling the speed at which the company can develop new electric cars. There’s no word on when GM hopes to release their 200 mile, $30,000 car, and no hint as to whether it will come before or after Tesla’s next development. In the meantime, Parks explained to the AP, GM is at work on a Volt that will go “little father on electricity than the current model and cost a little less.”