General Motors plans to more than double the range of the typical electric vehicle—while also sharply driving down the cost, according to a senior official.
But with mounting concerns about the slow consumer response to the first wave of battery electric vehicles, Doug Parks, GM's global product development chief, cautioned The Associated Press that it was not yet sure if or when such a vehicle—projected to cost just $30,000—would ever go into production.
A vehicle delivering 200 mile range would come close to the range of the Tesla Model S, which is offered with a choice of several battery packs, including an extended-range version that can reach as much as 265 miles on a charge, according to the EPA.
It would also be about twice the range of the $26,685 Chevrolet Spark, which offers only about 82 miles on a single charge—in line with most other current battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, including the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus EV. Along with their high price tag, studies show that so-called "range anxiety" is the single biggest concern about plug-based vehicles.
Tesla has won significant accolades—and growing sales—by pushing battery range closer to that of a conventional vehicle. It received the highest test score ever from Consumer Reports magazine, for one thing, and sales this year have consistently exceeded the maker's own forecasts. This has helped Tesla beat first and second-quarter earnings expectations even as other manufacturers have fallen well short of initial sales targets for models like the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid and Nissan Leaf battery-electric.