GM working on 200-mile electric car, exec says

TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer
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WARREN, Mich. (AP) — 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.

 

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