Will GM take on Tesla Motors with 200-mile, $30000 electric car?

General Motors is developing an electric car that can go 200 miles on a charge and would cost $30,000, The Wall Street Journal reports. The car would compete with luxury carmaker Tesla Motors, which plans to roll out its more affordable Model E late in 2016.

Jeff Kowalsky/Reuters/File
The General Motors logo is seen outside its headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit, Mich. General Motors is reportedly developing an electric car that could rival future Tesla Motors models.

So far, the Tesla Model S is alone among plug-in electric cars in providing 200 miles or more of electric range.

But as Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] prepares to roll out its more affordable Model E late in 2016, it may face serious competition from General Motors.

GM is developing a Tesla-rivaling car that can go 200 miles on a charge and would cost $30,000, The Wall Street Journal reports.

But while the General has the technology to build this new electric car, it won't go on sale particularly soon--due to high battery costs, said Douglas Parks, GM's vice president of global product programs.

He made the comments at a ceremony opening an expansion of GM's battery test lab at the company's Technical Center in Warren, Michigan

Tesla is widely thought to have the lowest battery cost per kilowatt-hour of any plug-in electric carmaker.

It uses thousands of Panasonic "commodity" cells, specially designed to be even less expensive than the ones used in your laptop, and has many patents on this unique approach--which is not presently used by any other automaker.

This isn't the first time GM has discussed an electric car with a 200-mile range range that would sell for the price of a nicely-equipped mid-size Malibu.

Back in March, GM CEO Dan Akerson confirmed that his company was working on such a car, citing breakthroughs in battery technology "on the horizon" that would make it possible.

One such breakthrough may come from Envia Systems, a Newark, California-based company in which GM invested $17 million in 2011.

Envia specializes in lithium-ion cathode technology, and claims it can create batteries with greater energy density.

Specifically, Envia has claimed an energy density of 400 watt-hours per kilogram--much higher than the 140 watt-hours per kilogram of the Nissan Leaf's battery pack.

GM may be waiting for this battery technology to become available for its Tesla rival, rather than using the same LG Chem cells as the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR.

Currently, GM's only battery-electric car is the Chevrolet Spark EV, which has a maximum range of 82 miles and starts at $26,685.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.