General Motors developing an affordable electric vehicle to take on Tesla

Article by Anita Panait, on September 18, 2013

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.

All-new 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV is a clear electric urban mini-car built for the sake of fun driving and easy ownership. It utilizes no gasoline, yet its GM-fabricated engine and drive unit convey 400 lb.-ft. (542 Nm) of instant torque, a best speed of 90 mph and a 0-60 time of under eight seconds.

Saving that energy from the charging process and the car’s regenerative braking capacity is a 21-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. When it is completely charged, Chevrolet Spark EV presents an incorporated city/interstate EPA-evaluated range of 82 miles and an EPA-evaluated city/highway 119 MPGe fuel economy equivalent, making it the most productive U.S. retail electric vehicle available today.

For city inhabitants whose transportation needs can be met with an all-electric car, Spark EV expands on Chevrolet's tested electric engine and battery enhancement programs for the Chevrolet Volt and its full-size truck and SUV hybrid projects.

Three available levels of reenergizing ability include the industry’s first utilization of the recently affirmed SAE combo charger for DC fast charging, that charges 80 percent of the battery in only 20 minutes. Aero refinements, distinct wheels and tires and the active shutter system on the grille opening help broaden the Chevy Spark EV's range.

Topics: gm, electric car, tesla

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