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by David Zalstein

General Motors is developing an electric vehicle to challenge the Tesla Model S, with a 300km-plus range and a more affordable price.

US media reports GM’s EV will have a single-charge range of over 320km and be priced “around” US$30,000 ($32,000).

Tesla’s luxury Model S starts at US$71,070 ($75,900) before federal tax credits in North America and offers its owners a335km range from its base 60kWh battery that generates 225kW and 430Nm. The range of the top-spec 310kW/600Nm Model S with its 85kWh battery rises to 426km, however, it commands a US$12,500 ($13,350) price premium.

Tesla Model S - 1

GM vice president of global product programs Doug Parks broke the news of the planned EV but did not reveal when the car was destined to launch.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Parks said while the technology is currently available, the cost of batteries remains too high to be able to execute the model today at the US car maker’s targeted price.

Even for the highest current global EV seller, Nissan, the issue of expensive and inefficient batteries is a problem, with others such as Tesla, GM and Volkswagen all working on advancing the technology to improve costs and driving range.

Chevrolet Volt

In Australia, the Nissan Leaf costs $39,990 driveaway (until October 30) and has a range of 175km. This leads the local EV range war ahead of the $48,800 Mitsubishi i-MiEV with 150km and the $59,990 Holden Volt’s 90km EV range, though the range-extender Volt does claim a combined range of around 600km.

In response to recent claims from Volkswagen that it will become the electric vehicle market leader by 2018, Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer told CarAdvice at last week’s Frankfurt motor show, “yeah but we say that too, don’t we? One of us is going to be right…”




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