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GM & Tesla Race Towards Affordable Electric Vehicles

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On: Fri, Jan 17, 2014 at 9:04AM | By: Elizabeth Puckett

GM & Tesla Race Towards Affordable Electric Vehicles

When Tesla Motors emerged as America’s fourth domestic auto manufacturer, the Detroit three felt the pressure bearing down. Tesla not only threatened the big brands in this country, it threatened the whole mind-set of the industry. Instead of trying to discredit the technology, the top three Detroit automakers are responding with fierce competition—and GM could be taking the lead.

Tesla has cornered the market for the luxury electric sedans with the Model S—which is a pretty big deal for a new company in the industry. The market up for grabs now is the affordable electric car, and Tesla will have to deal with GM if they want to take over that class.

GM has been making very respectable efforts in the last few years to shake their stale image (one they earned from quality issues and their role in the government bailout)—and they’re certainly getting there. The automaker has accepted the demand for self-driving cars with open arms, they’re filling the gaps in the small truck market, and they’re testing the waters of niche markets they’ve shied away from in the past.

Although GM is getting into “alternative” markets while Tesla is moving towards the mainstream, the differences in the two are still dizzying. If someone had told me three years ago that GM and Tesla were in direct competition, I would’ve thought they were off their medication.

Tesla’s big wig, Elon Musk, puts more effort into social media interaction and marketing than media confidence—while GM’s approach is quite the opposite. That’s only a shallow representation of the difference in the companies.

Tesla Motors even challenges the traditional dealerships and the whole way people buy cars. However, it is this very challenge that’s kept Tesla in legal battles in certain states for some time now.

While Tesla Motors has its challenges, they are taken seriously by the automakers in this country. GM isn’t going to let Tesla quietly walk away with the entire electric car crowd either, they’re using their resources and experience to try to stay ahead of Tesla.

They’re in such direct competition for the same market that they’re even aggressively recruiting their competitor’s engineers to try to get an edge on each other.

As it is, the market is wide open for the affordable EV—and Tesla’s presence in the luxury EV field has produced very little concern by GM.

The goal is to make an electric sedan that can be mass-produced and sold in the $30,000 price range; that would be nothing less than a game changer for the auto industry.


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