GM working on 200-mile electric car, exec says (Update)

As automakers race to make cheaper electric cars with greater battery range, General Motors is working on one that can go 200 miles (320 kilometers) 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 (61 kilometers) on electricity before a gas-powered generator kicks in. It also offers the all-electric Chevy Spark subcompact that can go 82 miles (132 kilometers) on a charge. It starts at $26,685. Electric cars are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit.

The 200-mile (320-kilometer) 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 (426 kilometers) on a single charge.

A moderately priced electric car with a 200-mile range would make electric cars more appealing to Americans, solving the two chief complaints about such cars: Anxiety over running out of power and high price, said Tom Libby, lead North American analyst for the Polk automotive research firm.

"That would be a huge step forward, no question," he said.

Currently, cars powered solely by batteries make up only 0.3 percent of U.S. sales, Libby said, but he's confident that would increase if an automaker came out with a moderately priced 200-mile car.

Tesla gets accolades for the Model S, including the highest test score ever recorded by Consumer Reports magazine. And the Palo Alto, California, 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 from Tesla, 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, a suburb 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.

GM on Monday showed off a 50,000-square-foot (4,645-sq. meter) addition to the battery lab. The added space, which nearly doubled the lab's size, will let the company test batteries and computer controls much faster than before. Parks said the goal is to develop electric cars twice as fast as the company could in the past. It took GM about four years to develop the Volt and bring it to market.

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User comments

Sep 16, 2013
GM has a proven record of failing the public. The only thing good about them is NOTHING. I do not trust a company that spends $1 Billion/yr on marketing. They just don't get it that it is very expensive to sell junk!

Sep 25, 2013
GM's interest is not societal- they wish to maximize revenue- green cars seek to maximize user value.

An example of sharing is home valet service. Many fine home's offer this. It's affordable as the valet doesn't only park YOUR car and get paid 24/7 to do nothing else. GM fear computer's will skip over parking directly to being shared so that in less time then IT would take to get back to you the efficiency of having nearly infinite cars available to you at all time's will have a car show up instantly instead anticipating your need for it to meet you to within seconds, not minute's.

GM fear's, and I mean put's out 'hit-contracts' on those who so disrupt, shared use of green car's. They lose money on them- and so they game for more low cost disposable car sales and mutation from real green to 'battery' BUT personal only 'owner's. Kind of like the sell of electronic ant-hysteria gadget's direct to women failed to prevent unintended pregnancy from Out Of Pocket sale's.

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