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Dan Akerson
GM wants to take on Tesla with both luxury and affordable EVs

Tesla Motors is the underdog that went from being just another electric vehicle startup to racking up profit and car sales while paying off government loans years ahead of time. These feats have drawn the company a lot of attention recently -- especially from competitors

General Motors Co. Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said GM will target Tesla specifically with new EV offerings from Cadillac. GM is hoping to grab some of Tesla's audience with flashy new Cadillacs that also outperform Tesla's models. 

“If you want to compete head-to-head with Tesla, and we ultimately will, you want to do it with a Cadillac,” said Akerson. “But I do think when the (Cadillac) ELR comes out late this year, early next — it’s certainly in the same postal code as Tesla, but now we’re going to move up. It’s not going to be a mass-produced car.”

Last week, GM's VP of global product development Doug Parks said the company is planning a $30,000, 200-mile range electric car. Akerson said this will likely take on Tesla. 
 
Tesla said it's working on an affordable EV of its own. In May, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that his company's Model S is a great EV, but it's a luxury car that is out of the price range of many consumers. Musk said the ideal affordable Tesla EV would be available in about three to four years, and would be sold for under $40,000. It would also have a range of about 200 miles per charge. 

Akerson even managed to slide a little jab at Tesla's Model S when talking about the Chevrolet Volt. 

“We’ll sell more (Chevrolet) Volts and lose less money on the Volts than they’ll lose on the (Tesla) Model S,” said Akerson. 

While GM sees that there is clearly demand for Tesla's product and wants to create something similar (but better) to tap into that audience, Akerson believes problems like range anxiety still prevent EVs from really taking off in the American auto market.

“I’m not convinced that an all-electric car is the panacea that I think the American public wants," said Akerson. “What we see on the line of sight is a 200-mile battery car, but at the same time 200 miles is great, but it’s not going to satisfy the range anxiety that persists. It’s still a major issue with the purchasing public and I think you’ve got to have a generator on board so that you basically have unlimited range.”

However, GM is still interested in following Tesla's footsteps as Akerson recently created a GM team to specifically study Tesla. 

Tesla has raked in many successes this year, such as a surprise profit in Q2 2013; ramped up Model S production 25 percent to almost 500 vehicles per week (it expects to sell 21,000 Model S' worldwide for the whole year); paid off its $465 million U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan nine years early; snagged the highest safety rating from NHTSA for the Model S, and unveiled several new technologies like the $60-$80, 90-second battery swap feature in the Model S. 

Musk has proved to be an unstoppable CEO that will do anything to take his company to new levels. He's currently considering taking a dealership fight to the federal level because states like Texas refuse to allow Tesla to sell its cars via its own company-ran dealerships. 

Source: The Detroit News



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RE: Hey GM - dream on
By flyingpants1 on 9/23/2013 3:11:37 PM , Rating: 5
If GM made a $30k 200-mile EV, it would obsolete all their other cars in one go.

And it wouldn't matter because as they said themselves, people would still have range anxiety because there is no national recharging network. Meanwhile Elon is making a cross-country trip this year in a Model S using his superchargers.

Gotta hand it to Elon, he basically did it single-handedly. $30k EVs are just inevitable now. Nobody could have predicted that 5-10 years ago.


RE: Hey GM - dream on
By foxalopex on 9/24/2013 1:57:00 PM , Rating: 2
The thing is Superchargers still take some time to charge your vehicle and they won't account for situations where there isn't a supercharger available. Such as in Canada or in nearly any place in the world.

Elon's biggest accomplishment is kick starting the automotive industry towards EVs. If you watch Revenge of the Electric Car, they point out Bob Lutz had actually wanted an EV car again after the technology finally caught up (thanks to the widespread use of Lithium Batteries.) The problem was most publicly traded companies are bean counters and unwilling to take the risk until some small company proved it could be done.


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