Could GM Build a Better Tesla?

Tesla Model S

The article posted at CNN Money made me chuckle.

It opened with these lines, which should make you laugh, too:

GM says it wants to develop a car that can match Tesla’s 200-mile range for less than half the price.

The goal was laid-out Monday as the company announced a $20 million investment in its battery lab in Warren, Mich. But the company didn’t give a specific time frame for achieving it.

GM’s car would go 200 miles between charges and cost $30,000.

It seems as though that’s exactly what the Volt was supposed to do… which is only where the humor begins.

General Motors is afraid of Tesla. Maybe not to the point of being concerned that the small automaker will immediately steal sales, but scared enough to start an internal task force to study the possible impact of alternative automakers. Namely, Tesla.

With the Tesla Model S gaining media attention, getting perfect safety ratings and increasing in sales, GM is right to be concerned. Tesla built the perfect electric car, and GM just can’t stand it. Instead of giving Tesla a virtual high five and congratulating the Model S, it acts like a 5-year-old and says, “Oh yeah? We can do it better.”

The Model S costs over $60,000 and can easily go 200 miles on a charge. The General wants to provide the same range at half the price and say it has a Model S killer.

Even if GM succeeds in making an EV that goes 200 miles on a charge and costs $30,000, it won’t be a Tesla killer in the same way a Chevy Cruze isn’t a BMW 3 Series killer. I admire the ambition from GM, but a cheap Chevy that’s on par with the Tesla?

The thought makes me laugh.

Can GM build a better Tesla than Tesla?


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  1. While it wouldn’t compete with the Model S, an electric Chevy that goes 200 miles and costs $30,000 would probably sell. GM is about volume, not precision. If anyone can make the volume happen on an EV like that, it’s them.

  2. Anyone who has worked R&D at GM knows that R&D is a PR tool. GM is best at mediocrity, and never leads in anything.

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