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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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By BRB29 on 9/24/2013 9:01:51 AM , Rating: 2
It's just Zero Emission Credits. They are worth a lot and they sell them to help the bottom line. This is why you see their stock swing wildly with news about ZE credits demand and price.

To be fair, Musk is very good with a lot of things and one of them is management. I've never seen someone can manage supply and operations that good. If there was anybody that can use Six Sigma to the fullest, it is him. That little 5-20% increase in efficiency is making a difference in production numbers and time. Combined that with free ZE credits from Cali and you got a profitable quarter from selling at a loss.


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