Amidst Tesla’s dominance in the electric vehicle market, General Motors has claimed that its new battery design could help it catch up to, or even surpass, the Elon Musk-led company within a few years. It appears that GM truly believes its batteries could dent Tesla’s industry dominance, similar to how Android devices gained the ability to compete head-on with Apple’s iPhone.
GM unveiled its $20 billion plan to begin producing a competitive lineup of fully electric vehicles on March 4. CEO Mary Barra and fellow executives noted that a lot of its efforts has to do with batteries that have reduced cobalt content. The battery design GM plans to implement also can be modified in size or layout, making it versatile enough to fit into a variety of vehicles, from small cars like the Chevrolet Bolt to massive trucks like the Hummer EV.
GM executives noted that designing a cost-effective and range-efficient battery is crucial to the success of its upcoming electric vehicle lineup. Barra stated that a range of 300 miles per charge is vital before consumers even consider buying an electric car. If a company can accomplish this in an affordable package, success will likely be within reach.
Tesla’s dominance, especially amidst the rise of the Model 3, is comparable to iPhone’s emergence in 2007. The iPhone arguably started the movement away from flip and candy bar-style mobile devices towards sleek, touch-based phones. Android-powered devices came along soon after, offering features that Apple’s iPhone simply did not have.
Tesla’s recognition as the “iPhone” of the electric car industry and GM’s pitch as the “Android” of EVs suggests that the veteran automaker is willing to explore its options to give competition for the experienced EV maker. GM recognizes batteries are the key to making a mark in the sector, and its customizable modular battery pack design is believed to be the company’s answer to Tesla’s industry-leading batteries.
“What matters more than anything is battery cost. If you can get cost down, you can get better range. The big automakers like GM have an advantage in scale, and global reach,” Head of Transport Analysis for BloombergNEF Colin McKerracher said.
While GM currently has electric cars like the Bolt, the Audi e-Tron, and Jaguar I-PACE, and Tesla’s lineup of vehicles have continuously outsold the legacy automaker. This is due to several factors, part of which includes GM dealerships’ conservative push for the otherwise great vehicle.
Whether GM can solve the puzzle and begin making a move towards Tesla’s dominance in the electric vehicle sector remains to be seen. Competition between automakers can provide one thing for the future of sustainable transportation: a surefire way to increase technology as manufacturers aim to one-up each other. And when this happens, it is usually consumers who win in the end.