Autos

General Motors takes 'shot across the bow' at Tesla with new all-electric vehicles

Key Points
  • General Motors on Wednesday shared unprecedented details about its plans to roll out next-generation all-electric vehicles, starting next year.
  • The event was meant to woo Wall Street into buying into the automaker's plans, but some took away another message as well: GM has Tesla in its crosshairs more than ever.
  • GM's performance specifications are all in-line or better than Tesla's current vehicles.
GM CEO and chairman Mary Barra speaks during an "EV Day" on March 4, 2020 at the company's tech and design campus in Warren, Mich., a suburb of Detroit
GM

General Motors wants to make it a two-horse race between itself and Tesla with its next generation of all-electric vehicles starting next year.

The Detroit automaker during an "EV Day" on Wednesday provided unprecedented details about its plans, including unveiling about a dozen of its upcoming products and announcing spending of more than $20 billion over the next five years on all-electric and autonomous vehicles.

"We thought it was time for people to understand that General Motors has a leadership position in electrification and we're moving fast," GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra told reporters.

GM shares closed Thursday down 3.4% to $30.10, which more than wiped out their gain Wednesday, when they closed up 3.3% at $31.53. The company's stock is down more than 23% in the past year, including a slide of about 18% so far this year.

The event was meant to woo Wall Street into buying into the automaker's all-electric vehicle plans, but some took away another message as well: GM has Tesla in its crosshairs more than ever.

"We believe the event was a clear shot across the bow against (Tesla CEO Elon) Musk and Tesla which continue to lead the EV landscape by a clear margin," Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note to investors Wednesday.

GM said its new all-electric vehicles will be capable of 400 miles or more, charge more than 100 miles in 10 minutes and accelerate 0 to 60 mph in as low as three seconds. The performance specifications are all in line or better than Tesla's current vehicles.

Tesla's Model 3 is capable of 322 miles of range, 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and recharge of 172 miles in 15 minutes.

Ives cited GM's new proprietary "Ultium" battery-cell technology, which can be stacked inside the battery pack either horizontally or vertically, as a "highlight of the event" to compare to Tesla's vertical cylinder cells.

"Our thoughts for Tesla. GM, given its vast distribution and global customer base, must be taken seriously in this EV arms race," Ives said, adding GM's plans are "markedly more aggressive" than in recent years.

Joseph Spak, of RBC Capital Markets, in a note to investors late Wednesday, said the EV Day "should help show investors that GM is serious about decarbonization and has a strong plan."

RBC, he said, continues "to like GM's stock and would take advantage of near-term concerns." The firm has a price target of $49 for GM and expects it to outperform the segment.

BofA Securities research analyst John Murphy, in a note to investors, said the event "reaffirms GM's industry leadership position." The firm maintained its buy rating and price target of $55 for GM.

Correction: GM shares on Wednesday closed up 3.3% at $31.53. An earlier version misstated the percentage and price.

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