General Motors Considers Tesla A “Completely Serious Competitor In Every Way”

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 61

Cadillac ELR Compared To Tesla Model S - GM Now Insists That The ELR Is Not To Be Compared To The Model S ...Hmm

Cadillac ELR Compared To Tesla Model S – GM Now Insists That The ELR Is Not To Be Compared To The Model S …Hmm

ELR Is Not GM's Answer To Tesla

ELR Is Not GM’s Answer To Tesla

A couple of weeks ago, InsideEVs presented a Cadillac ELR versus Tesla Model S comparison PDF straight from General Motors.

One has to then wonder why Mark Reuss, General Motor’s head of global product development, purchasing and supply chain stated the following on WWJ Newsradio 950:

“People like to say the ELR is [a Tesla Model S competitor], but it’s really not.  It’s a different car, it’s a different price point. It’s way-different technology.”

Of course, that statement doesn’t jive with the message GM is trying to send with the ELR vs. Model S PDF posted above.

Reuss’ ELR is not aimed at Model S statement seems to contradict GM’s stance, but Reuss added one more comment that we believe puts Tesla Motors where it belongs.  According to Reuss, Tesla is a “completely serious competitor in every way.”

It took more than a decade from the creation of Tesla for that admittance to be made, but now that it’s out there, we suspect that the big automakers will take direct aim at competing with Tesla, which of course won’t make it easy for Tesla in the years that lie ahead.  But it will be better overall for the consumer.

Source: Detroit News

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61 responses to "General Motors Considers Tesla A “Completely Serious Competitor In Every Way”"

  1. kdawg says:

    “we suspect that the big automakers will take direct aim at competing with Tesla, which of course won’t make it easy for Tesla in the years that lie ahead.”
    ————-
    This was always Elon’s goal. Let’s hope it actually happens.

    1. EV says:

      i dont see any other truly compelling car out or even coming soon besides Teslas cars….

      I will amend a car that is truly as good or better than the Model S, but i have very high doubts that will never happen, especially anytime soon.

    2. Omar Sultan says:

      Maybe being overly cynical, but that can be interpreted two ways — they can up their game or they can spend a whole bunch of effort to try and bury Tesla to protect the status quo. So far, I have not seen much evidence on the “upping their game” front.

      O

  2. EV says:

    Cadillac advertising for Tesla… simply amazing

    you know your product is bad and struggling when you have to mention how its somehow better than a certain competitor

    LOLOLOLOLOLOL

  3. ffbj says:

    No doubt, but that is what competition is all about, and I think Tesla has proven it is a competitor. They took a different tack with the Model S, as many of the listed things are amenities, while the Model S is more of a bare bones well engineered driving machine.
    Also some of the things like blind spot, lane departure, collision avoidance, etc… have been promised by Musk.
    In some ways I think this has been the big 3’s problem, they focused more on the accessories of the vehicle itself. The models have nice handbags and shoes, but their dresses are out of style and rather shabby. If you catch my meaning, if you get my drift.

  4. Someone out there says:

    All good, this will only make Tesla push harder and provide an even better product at a lower price. Tesla could certainly lower the price of all those options and/or make some of them standard.
    As an EV though the ELR’s 37 miles electric range isn’t much to brag about, hopefully potential customers will think so too.

    1. pete g says:

      It’s not 37 miles. Its the first 37 miles of daily driving. The way you state it sounds like it replaces 1 gallon of gas per tank full,

      1. TomArt says:

        true, but that is true for the Volt, too – most people expected more than putting a Cadillac body on a Volt frame for the difference in price.

  5. Ryan says:

    Tesla is the only truly innovative auto manufacturer out there… the only thing the big three have done here in the states is take technologies developed elsewhere and add them to their vehicles (Bluetooth, cameras, etc)… it is about time for America’s big three to actually start creating NEW technologies or Tesla will continue to chip away at their sales

    1. taser54 says:

      Volt isn’t new technology? I think you have selective focus.

      1. Jouni Valkonen says:

        Volt is based on 5 year old battery technology. In that field even Tesla’s three year old battery technology is starting to look old. Therefore Tesla is planning improved batteries perhaps as soon as 2015.

        In the field of new technology, you must run in order to keep your current position. And the underlying problem is that GM and other biggies do not run.

        1. taser54 says:

          Manufacturers(including Tesla and GM)simply test chemistries developed by battery companies. If them chemistry is an improvement, it will be adopted.

      2. Rob Stark says:

        It is new but half-assed.

        In the evolution of the modern car it is an amphibian dead end.

        1. mustang_sallad says:

          Uhh, given that I’m not a fish, I’m pretty sure amphibians weren’t a dead end…

          If your argument is that you don’t need PHEVs because pure EVs are already available, talk to me again when pure EVs make up something a bit more than 0.5% of the market.

        2. Dan says:

          Voltec is arguably the most advanced consumer automobile drivetrain on the planet. There isn’t another comparable offering currently on the market.

          So I’d say that GM’s technology is plenty “new” enough. It’s the marketing that’s behind the curve.

  6. Alex says:

    Again GM lies.
    They forgot:
    Cost to drive 200 miles.
    ELR 40$
    Model S 2$

    You see what I mean?

    1. ClarksonCote says:

      At 300Wh/mi, it is 50kWh to drive 200 miles, so that would be $6 at 10 cents per kWh. Still not sure where the $2 comes from though, maybe it is assuming super low off-peak rates that many don’t have access to.

      1. You’re right, the cost of the first leg of your trip depends on your local utility rate, which can vary quite a bit. But utilities that do not have overnight off-peak rates (most do) usually have pretty low rates overall. Even if you are paying $0.16 overnight, that’s still just six cents per mile, and then the superchargers are no additional cost after that (your Supercharger fuel was prepaid when you purchased the car).

        I have driven from Seattle to San Diego and back and paid less than $2 in fuel (the cost to get to the first Supercharger).

        1. ClarksonCote says:

          I know, I think detailing your assumptions are very important though. Because not everyone has the same benefits you have, not everyone can utilize a supercharger, etc.

          I have solar on my roof, but if I tell people electricity for my Volt is free, they will call me out on it. And rightfully so, because it is not free for everyone.

          Also, thank you Mr. Loveday or Jay for removing my errant post. 🙂 Any chance we have editing privileges back yet for the part-time site editor? 😉

          1. Jay Cole says:

            I’d say soon-ish, currently tearing a lot of stuff down and rebuilding behind the scenes starting this past Sunday, (=

            1. Phr3d says:

              Great news – and Thanks Jay!

      2. Bill Howland says:

        Yeah, one frustration is, that even at this late date (the S has been out for years now), is that since I live in buffalo, what is the wh/mile in 20 degree fahrenheit weather or colder?

        Also, what are the parasitic losses over a 24 hour period when the car is in my very cold garage, and how many kwh / 24 hour period are required to keep the S on an even keel?

        The ELR, if identical to the volt, at least requires minimal power to condition its admittedly smallish battery, and if it is very cold, reverts to otherwise wasted engine heat.

    2. pjwood says:

      Then, there’s always where one can come up with “$40” for 200 miles in an ELR. Help?

    3. GSP says:

      Why would it cost $40 to drive an ELR for 200 miles?

      I have driven my Volt for thousands of miles with no gas, and its range is only slightly higher than the ELR.

      Driving 200 miles in one day is more rare than you may think.

      GSP

      1. Robert says:

        diving 200 miles in a day (and every day) for 5 days a week is not so uncommon, I know a number of coworkers that drive that regularly!

        I don’t, an would likely never buy a house so far from work, but some people like living in nice, quiet little places far out of the city, even if it means a big, time and energy wasting commute! For such people, the Tesla Model S is the only all electric vehicle that would cover the drive, and it would take the 85 Kwh model to be on the safe side in the winter! A Nissan LEAF would not cut it for such a drive just not practical!

        Sure, the Voltec systems (Volt or ELR) could do the drive, but compared to just keeping his Civic, what would be the cost advantage? Still need to buy Gas $5.00 a Gallon in Ontario, Canada. Still have service calls from a dealer. Etc.

        Toronto now does have its Supercharger operational, and one is getting set to start the build in Barrie, in the way to Cottage Country, a path many take.

        Model S scores points again!

  7. ClarksonCote says:

    It is a completely different car, etc. but people will always make the comparison. They sure do on here, all the time.

    So it makes sense to have that comparison available that goes beyond acceleration time or electric-only range.

  8. drpawansharma says:

    I think the main differentiator between tesla and others will always be the battery prices(in the absence of major battery breakthrough like the one envia promised but failed),
    tesla already has huge advantage because it went the standard format route and honed on it. Right now the real reason others are not even trying the huge kwh approach is because they can not offer huge batteries at the price point that तेस्ला tesla can offer.even if they wanted to. With the gigafactory they will go further behind the tesla. This is the real reason behind spate of 10, 20,80 miles phev/evs by established manufacturers.

  9. pjwood says:

    The ELR is a competitor to the Tesla, at the available price difference. As cars, I think that’s easy to see. As companies, one is getting paid far more (perhaps deservedly, so) simply for who they are. This comparo isn’t just about the cars. No way.

  10. Aaron says:

    Bose Active Noise Cancellation:
    Standard on ELR
    Not necessary on the Model S

    1. HVACman says:

      Skeletal supercharger network access optional for Model S. Not necessary for ELR.

  11. pete g says:

    Yes Tesla is a serious competitor. They are eating someones lunch. I don’t think its GMs, unless they ordered sushi with a small side of sauerkraut.

  12. DaveMart says:

    ‘Tesla is a “completely serious competitor in every way.”’

    If only Tesla could say the same about GM.

    1. Anon says:

      Tesla does not seem interested in competing with GM (or Ford) on ignoring poor / unsafe engineering for decades at a time, or covering up any resulting customer deaths…

      1. pete g says:

        To bad according to kelly blue book 3 of the 10 vehicles with the highest resale values were GM (corvette, camaro and Silverado)

        1. Anon says:

          That’s strangely inaccurate. Many Model S’s that are used, sell for higher than when they were first purchased.

          Tesla also updates their cars firmware constantly (unlike GM)– so I don’t get why Kelly’s is so out of touch with reality. *shrugs*

  13. James says:

    It’s nearly comical hearing GM talk about Tesla.

    If Model 3 enters the market on time and for a price of $35,000, GM will have to respond with more than words and they know it. Tesla will most assuredly follow Model 3 with a CUV version ( ala Model X ) and the race will be on. GM talks about this mysterious 200 mile BEV they could make if they wanted to…It will be gloves-off if Tesla succeeds in a model that sells over 120,000 units per year.

    For now, it’s just posturing and talk – GM has uber resources to delve into. The 200 mile GM BEV could be under a tarp someplace just waiting…

    Still – I believe all GM execs believe what many here and all over the net state: That Model 3 can never make it to market under $40,000. If that truly is the case, then Musk could be in trouble, since he’ll still be fighting it out with marques like BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Lexus. To truly enter into a space where the electric challenge is all systems=”GO”, he’ll have to hit that $35,000 area. Average car in the USA goes for $32,000 as of today.

    Food For Thought Dept: MSRP seems to be the linchpin for 200+ mile BEV success, yet just watch any car review show and marvel at just how quickly some pretty pedestrian family cars out there soar above $40,000 today with just one or two options packages.

    1. Spec9 says:

      But really . . . there is very little chance of Tesla delivering a 200 mile EV for $35K. Perhaps $40K.

    2. Dan says:

      GM (and for that matter, Ford and Toyota) won’t really need to care about Tesla introducing a $35-60k luxury sport sedan. It’s BMW and Mercedes that would need to circle the wagons in that scenario.

      Tesla is content to steal sales from 3/5/7 Series. They have expressed no interest in the Corolla/Camry/Prius market, which is where GM is gearing up.

  14. Spec9 says:

    What is a ‘Safety Alert Seat’?

    1. Taser54 says:

      Seat vibrates if there is an obstacle behind you (say, backing up into a street it will warn you of cars).

      1. MDEV says:

        But my cellphone vibrates in my pocket too…..

        1. That would be an anti-safety distraction alert. Totally different thing.

  15. jmac says:

    Perhaps the Mitsubishi Outlander will end up a much bigger competitor to the major car companies than anything from Tesla or BMW.

    Nissan Leaf — Look out… Here comes the PHEV Outlander.

    1. Josh says:

      I would say look out Rav4, CRV, and Escape.

  16. Ryan says:

    Maybe one of these days GM will stop playing around(if they are still in business).

    Do an electric truck first or let Tesla or Ford go first?

    Offer a full electric Volt or let Toyota offer a full electric Prius first(GM would have to follow)?

    Remember in the 1960’s when Ford wanted to beat Ferrari at any price(and did, 1966-1969)?

    When was the last time GM did anything? 1967-1969 Camaro? Those were nice cars.

    The Corvette has always been an issue. Anything they ever build can’t be faster than the Corvette.

    I think a 1500hp Vette would sell nicely. Don’t go a little bit, go all the way. And don’t stop at 1500, start there.

    Like someone once told me; “Don’t just rock the boat; flip it over!” (he used more colorful language then I can repeat here.)

    GM could do impressive things but they are content with mediocre. Bland and boring doesn’t sell cars.

    1. Anon says:

      GM has a lot of R&D under it’s belt, but you’d never know it based on the kind of vehicles they end up selling.

      They are boring. They are technologically dated, and even beyond that, they have a terrible reliability / recall record and there are currently lawsuits regarding their poor choices in engineering their vehicles for safety.

      It’s unfortunate that some corporations prefer to rest of their shriveled laurels, rather than seeing the sustainable vehicle market as an engineering and styling opportunity.

      1. James says:

        OH EMM GEE! – If I have to hear the glory of inventing the small block 327 one more time I think I’ll hurl!

        With GM’s marketing money – you’d think they could put out an entertaining documentary retelling the EV-1 and Volt story with a bit more of a positive spin than “Who Killed The Electric Car”, and “Revenge Of The Electric Car” did. GM could show some behind-the-scenes battery lab work, and even positive spin the exploding battery in the lab that sent workers to the hospital…saying that pushing the limits and taking chances, GM employees are NASA-like in their dedication and resolve, to solve society’s biggest transportation hurdles, like OPEC, global warming and national security concerns revolving around who has access to oil.

        If GM sits on their butts and continue milking the large SUV, CUV and pickup truck cash cow while others evolve, they could go under for good sooner than later.

        In GM’s worst moments, they leaned on catch phrases like “The Heartbeat Of America” and built sh*t and told us we wanted it. Today, they have every opportunity to build an EREV pickup truck and van that could sell millions.

        Does GM have it in them to go the distance? If we look at how they’re dealing with Ford’s aluminum truck – it doesn’t look good. If GM’s clueless marketing director keeps calling Volt a niche product that has a small potential market – they’re doomed.

        1. pete g says:

          James the curb weight of an F150 runs between 5000 to 7000lbs. The aluminum version will 700 lbs lighter. The Silverado averages 300 lbs lighter than today’s F150. And yes they did just redesign the escalade. But they’re also going to release the Trax, Colorado and Transit connect all small vehicles.

    2. Phr3d says:

      @Ryan:
      “When was the last time GM did anything? 1967-1969 Camaro? Those were nice cars.”

      Painful example (though I do love the car):
      Reacting to the success of the Mustang, and the 67’s were rusting already in ’69. Let’s not forget the 396 convertible model that frame-twisted so bad under hard acceleration that the doors could no longer properly close (lift-and-push) within weeks of delivery. Late 60’s were a Wild ride.

      (and to be fair the Mustangs rusted horribly as well, just not During their existing model cycle, LOL)

  17. pete g says:

    Wow! all the haters come out after dark. With the 2 hottest selling sports cars in the US, reliability ratings close to the top of the charts. An infotainment system years ahead of all other car companies. Some of the most fuel efficient engines on the planet. Not to mention the volt is still the most technologically advanced car out there 4 years after its release. The only thing you guys are close to being right about is GM had a few recalls this year. Well 1 company has lead in recalls 5 years running and it is not GM. It’s the one that the only nice thing people have is” reliable”

  18. Bill Howland says:

    Man, what a lot of GM haters on here today..

    I will probably never purchase a non-ev again in my lifetime, but the main issue for wide-spread acceptance of EV’s is they must constantly improve and not rest on their Laurels.

    GM is highly innovative, and I’m not that big a supporter of GM so its difficult for me to say it. But I give credit where its due, and, as a for instance, the 2015 Corvette will go 0-60 in under 3.7 seconds (a bit faster than a roadster sport for $130k), while ALSO getting 32 EPA Miles per gallon on the highway. Admittedly, that is incredible.

    This is the marketplace that EV’s compete against. As far as GM not coming out with sufficient models of EV’s, I guess we could look to the way VW was for many years. VW had by far the world’s largest number of models, but you couldn’t until recently get any of them. Meanwhile the VOlT is THE MOST POPULAR PLUG-IN CAR in the states period, as well as Canada.

    I of course have no private info, but it stands to reason GM is waiting for the VOltec drivetrain to break even, and then at that point it would make good business sense to come out with many more variants.

    Until then it is simply the most popular EV car in North America. SO what is so wrong with that?

    If any other company is so great, how come they can’t best GM’s ev car sales figures?

  19. Martin T says:

    Well Tesla is willing to give things a go and not stuck in outdated ways of thinking.

    GM should be scared, lot of very nice innovation going on at Tesla even for a GM volt owner like me to admit.

    1. Bill Howland says:

      Well Hi Martin,

      I’m a Volt and a Tesla owner, and I’m not sure Tesla has innovated enough in the reliability department. Things they got right on the Roadster you’d think they’d also get right on the S, but in some ways the S is a step backwards from the Roadster.

      I’m currently in the market for probably either a Tesla S, GM ELR, or 2016 volt. Overall reliability was a selling point for the roadster, and, truth be told, Tesla fibbed a bit, seeing as my Roadster has had more service at 36,000 miles than all my previous cars combined. I’m separately addressing the issues one by one, but I would have appreciated more Candid info out of Tesla. Unless they themselves didn’t know about some things, which I’ll grant is a possibility. And so far there has been no lack of willingness to address problems due to manufactured defects/Tesla employee problems, etc. That is definitely a feather in their corporate caps.

  20. iwatson says:

    We own a Chevy Volt, and a Mitsubishi imiev. We own these vehicles because we want to drive electric and these vehicles are the ones we can afford. GM took the mass market approach with the Volt. The goal was to make an EV that the average Joe could afford. Although it’s a little too expensive for the average Joe it largely delivers on its design criteria. At the other end of the scale is the Tesla model S, a vehicle that I can not afford. Who would have thought that they would sell as many as they have at that price. I think the auto industry as a whole is surprised at Tesla that they can have that kind of success with an all-electric design. Now as Tesla and GM race to build a 200 mile EV aimed at the masses I’m thankful that Telsa’s a player, That they are succesful, that they are a serious competitor. The consumer will ultimately benefit from their presence. Let the best car win! and lets hope they both sell tons of them!

  21. jmac says:

    Well, I guess GM should certainly consider Tesla a major competitor.

    Since its inception in 1953, the Corvette has sold a grand total of 1,557,738 copies of its 60 year history various Corvette models for a whopping yearly average sales total of 25,962 copies per year on average.

    Not really all that many sales, but the Corvette is an icon and is widely held up to be one of General Motors’ success stories.

    The Corvette is paraded around in the press as some kind of supernatural manifestation of the ultimate muscle car.

    Here’s a link where Tesla Model S kicks the rear end of a 2014 Chevy Corvette.

    If I were Chevy/GM, I would be VERY worried.

    1. Dan says:

      So in the video you linked, the Model S won the first race by 0.0235, then lost the second race by 0.0774.

      C7 Z51 MSRP: $59,995
      Model S P85 MSRP: $94,570

      I don’t think GM has to worry about the Corvette.

    2. Bill Howland says:

      Well, this is exactly my point of resting on your laurels. The S beat the 2014 corvette. It will not beat the 2015, and you can buy TWO corvettes for the price of one 85P-S. The Corvette’s fuel efficiency / power combination is simply amazing, and the “S” seems to be just about the lowest efficiency electric car on the market. The Leaf and VOLT both seem to have very high electrical efficiencies.

  22. jmac says:

    I think the idea here might be that well designed electric cars can compare favorably with the best ICE vehicles.

    The image of electric vehicles as milk floats or golf carts might not quite be so true as it once was. I think the major car companies are beginning to see that electric cars are indeed competitive.

    It’s not against the law to build an electric car and no one is stopping Detroit from doing so …… except Detroit.

    I bet the guy in the Corvette was a bit shocked when he got nipped on that first run.

    Just about everybody should agree that the Corvette is probably the better chick magnet.

  23. Robert says:

    It takes 1 Model S to carry 5 people, but it takes more than 2 Corvettes, plus, you need more drivers!

    The Tesla Roadster is now targeted for a potential battery upgrade, giving it 400 miles range, and, it could be possible to ad upgraded electronic components to make it quicker, too! Now that would be a better comparison for the 2015 Vette! And they are both equal in seating, to make it more fair!