WARREN, Mich. • As automakers race to make cheaper electric cars with greater battery range, General Motors is working on one that can go 200 miles per charge at a cost of about $30,000, a top company executive said.
Vice President of Global Product Development Doug Parks wouldn’t say when or if such a car will be built, however.
Currently GM sells the $35,000 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, which can go 38 miles on electricity before a gas-powered generator kicks in. It also offers the all-electric Chevy Spark subcompact that can go 82 miles on a charge. It starts at $26,685. Electric cars are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.
The 200-mile car would cost about the same as the current Volt, and it would match the range and be far cheaper than Tesla Motors’ $71,000, all-electric Model S. The Model S can go up to 265 miles on a single charge.
Tesla gets accolades for the Model S, including the highest test score ever recorded by Consumer Reports magazine. And the Palo Alto, Calif., company also is working on a mass-market electric car. CEO Elon Musk has said it will have around a 200-mile range and cost about $35,000. It could go on sales as early as the end of 2016, he has said.
GM has taken a different approach, Parks said, pricing electric vehicles from around $25,000 to about $40,000. They don’t go as far after each charge, which has kept battery costs down and made the cars more affordable, he said.
"Their pricing is up there for a real unique customer," Parks said of Tesla. "The real trick will be who can do a 200-mile car for more of the price range I’m talking about. We’re all in races to do that."
The 200-mile car won’t be the next-generation Volt. Speaking at a Monday event to show off GM’s expanded battery laboratory at its technical center in Warren, Mich., north of Detroit, Parks said that GM engineers are now working on a new Volt, which will go a little father on electricity than the current model and cost a little less. He wouldn’t say when it will arrive in showrooms or how much it will cost.
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.