General Motors is attempting to develop an electric car with a range of 200 miles (322 km) on one charge, and priced at around US$30,000, according to the company via the Wall Street Journal. The intention is undoubtedly to rival the sales and performance success of California-based Tesla Motors.
Although Tesla has found sales success with its luxury Model S, the company is also planning to make a mid-market model priced in the mid-thirties by 2017 at the latest, CEO Elon Musk has said. This new development from GM is no doubt intended to arrive on the market at or before this is released.
Nissan’s electric LEAF is also starting to sell quite well in the U.S., and after recent price cuts is priced below $30,000 for the standard model. The LEAF is so far the world’s most popular electric car. GM will have other competition, including VW which has just announced that it intends to be the biggest maker of electric cars by 2018.
GM vice president Doug Parks has said that although the battery technology is ready now, the cost of batteries for 200-mile range cars is still too high to bring a car out now. As WSJ points out, all the automakers have this same issue, so as battery costs come down over the next few years, competition for long-range, mid-market cars is likely to heat up significantly.
There is certainly a lot of room for growth in the emerging electric car market. Tesla has found sales and image success, but electric cars still account for less than half a percent of the overall market. The opportunities are obvious, given Tesla’s recent success. In the face of many naysayers, it has proved that people do want to buy well designed electric cars.