GM CEO says Tesla could be disruptive to auto industry

Article by Anita Panait, on July 22, 2013

GM chief executive Dan Akerson has created a small team to study Tesla Motors, which he thinks has the potential to become a disruptive force to the automotive industry. During an interview with Bloomberg last week, GM vice chairman Steve Girsky said that Akerson has tasked the team to study how Tesla could threaten the GM business.

Girsky said Akerson thinks Tesla could be “a big disrupter” if GM is not careful. He noted that history is filled with large companies that ignored innovation “that was coming their way” since they didn’t know where they could be disrupted. The move is part of Akerson’s bid to change GM’s culture as he tries to make the carmaker the most profitable auto manufacturer in the world. 

Akerson has already redirected research and development spending and has started focusing on commercial applications. He also started making investments in startup companies that are developing cutting-edge technology.

Akerson noted during a company forum to celebrate innovation at GM that while the carmaker had people with 20 and 30 patents, none were commercialized and none were also present in their vehicles. Akerson joined GM as member of its board as part of its 2009 bankruptcy and $50 billion bailout. He replaced Ed Whitacre as GM CEO is 2010, before the carmaker launched its initial public offering.

The pioneer fully electric sedan is truly an evolution in automotive engineering. The Tesla Model S manages to coherently blend safety, efficiency, and performance. In the process, the Tesla Model S sets unprecedented standards for every car in the 21st century. After all, the Tesla Model S has the numbers and track record to back up these bold claims, registering the longest range among all electric vehicles, obtaining the highest possible safety ratings based on standards set by NHTSA and Euro NCAP 5-star, and showcasing software updates that are revolutionary and over-the-air.

One key element of the Tesla Model S is its extremely low center of gravity which not only lowers any risk of roll-over but also allows the driver to have better handling of the vehicle. This is due to the fact that the Tesla Model S’s battery is located on the floor. The Tesla Model S also has a much larger crumple zone in cases of front end collision compared to other performance sedans. This is because as an electric car, the Tesla Model S comes without an engine.

Another main contributing factor to making the Tesla Model S one of the safest cars in the world is that beneath the car lies a unique electric drive train. Having also set the lowest record for potential injuries to occupants as tested in the United States, the Tesla Model S is further enhanced by other safety mechanisms like blind spot detection, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, collision warning, plus other add-ons such as autosteer, autopark, summon, and traffic-aware cruise control.

Topics: gm, ceo, tesla

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