General Motors CEO Mary Barra is sticking to the goal of overtaking Tesla in US electric vehicle sales by the middle of this decade.
In a fresh interview with The Associated Press, the executive said she's confident GM can unseat Tesla with higher-priced specialty vehicles and long-range EVs at prices that people can afford.
GM's goal remains very ambitious seeing as the automaker sold just 25,000 electric vehicles in the US last year, less than one-tenth of the estimated 325,000 sold by Tesla. And this year's figures don't look better in the wake of the Bolt EV/EUV recall, with GM selling some 7,300 EVs in the second quarter in the US, including GMC Hummer EV pickups and BrightDrop commercial vans.
To beat Tesla in as little as two and a half years, GM will have to fight not only the US EV maker but also spiking inflation, rising interest rates, soaring material costs and a global shortage of computer chips.
Another obstacle General Motors will have to face is US consumers' reluctance to switch to EVs, which only make up about 5% of the US new vehicle market. That said, Barra remains confident General Motors can become the US EV sales leader come 2025.
Gallery: Chevrolet Equinox EV Preview
"To really get to 30, 40, 50% EVs being sold, you have to appeal to people that are in that $30,000 to $35,000 price range."
GM CEO Mary Barra
The automaker has already cut the starting price of the Chevrolet Bolt to around $26,000 and is planning to launch the Equinox EV small SUV for around $30,000 in fall 2023 and the $45,000 Blazer EV next summer.
These affordable EVs will be joined by the Cadillac Lyriq luxury SUV, the Hummer EV Pickup and SUV, and the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra Denali EV pickups in taking on Tesla. According to Barra, that's just the beginning, as GM plans to offer 30 battery-powered vehicles worldwide by 2025. "What we have coming, it’s in the heart of the market," she said, without giving details.
The executive added that GM is hoping to keep prices relatively low by banking on chemistry breakthroughs to cut battery costs, offsetting massive prices hikes for lithium and other key battery elements.
Tesla is yet to launch a mainstream vehicle as its most affordable EV, the Model 3 RWD, start around $48,000 including shipping.