General Motors will still focus on affordable mainstream electric vehicles despite plans to launch the electrified Cadillac ELR coupe late this year to complement its Chevrolet Volt, according to Doug Parks, vice president for global product programs. Parks remarked that while the Cadillac ELR coupe will allow GM to compete better with electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc, the carmaker still plans to further improve the performance and lower the costs of the Volt and its future siblings.
"We're trying to put more stress on getting this right for the lower-priced vehicles," Parks told reporters at GM global battery systems laboratory near Detroit. Although the Volt starts at $35,000 before federal tax credits, it has been outsold by the Tesla Model S sedan, which has a base tag of $71,000. According to Parks, GM officials "haven't simplified the message" enough to consumers about the Volt's value.
GM also offers the Chevrolet Spark EV for around $27,500. The carmaker offers discounted leases on the Spark and the Volt. GM has disclosed that the next Volt -- due in 2015 or 2016 -- will have a price of between $7,000 and $10,000.
The carmaker is aiming to produce up to 500,000 electrified vehicles annually by 2017. The vehicles would include the Volt, the Spark EV and those with its eAssist hybrid system. Parks called the Tesla Model S as an "intriguing" car, but remarked that the "real trick" is hitting that target at a price point that entices a wider customer base.