Investor's Corner

GM watches Tesla go from “graveyard-bound” to inspiration in pursuit of million-mile battery

Tesla's 2170 battery cells. (Credit: Tesla)

Tesla was once “headed for the graveyard,” according to ex-General Motors executive Bob Lutz, who, in 2010, claimed the electric automaker would be obsolete if spending allocation didn’t change. But ten years later, GM is gunning for Tesla’s plans for the million-mile capable battery. This revolutionary design would give the electric automaker a battery cell with an extraordinary life span.

GM claims that its million-mile battery pack is “almost there,” effectively stating that it will beat Tesla to release the long-lasting power source for electric cars. But the change in tune in GM’s opinions on Tesla in a short ten year period is relatively striking considering the electric car company headed by Elon Musk has gone from the graveyard to the “heavens” of automotive manufacturing.

GM Executive Vice President Doug Parks stated that “multiple teams” are working on zero-cobalt batteries, solid-state electrolytes, and ultra-fast charging, according to Reuters. Interestingly enough, Tesla’s not-so-secret plans for a million-mile battery are incredibly similar to GM’s.

But it doesn’t stop there, because Tesla’s Chinese battery cell provider CATL is also working with GM’s local partner SAIC Motor.

The developments are exciting as they suggest that GM has drawn inspiration from the company that it once deemed as basically a guaranteed failure. In the short period, Tesla has gone from the doubted to the doubter. Once the new company on the block with a small number of funds to draw developments with, to the head of the pack in electric car development, Tesla has a sizeable lead in battery tech, and every company wants to beat them to the next big thing.

Electric cars are becoming more popular every month, every quarter, every year. Figures suggest that a COVID-19 affected auto market has slowed the sale of vehicles in basically every country that has been forced to slow due primarily to social distancing measures and required Stay-at-Home orders.

In many regions of the world, however, Tesla is showing an uptrend in sales, and GM wants a part of that.

Stealing the company’s thunder by quickly throwing together a million-mile battery would give GM an advantage heading out of a post-pandemic world. While electric cars are becoming more popular, GM has already committed to selling 1 million EVs by 2025 in the U.S. and China, and customers buying the cars want range, dependability, and performance.

The first company that can bring a high-performance, cost-effective battery pack with limited degradation to fruition will have a distinct advantage in controlling the narrative for having a “high performance 1 million mile car”, something that Tesla has already established itself as a leading contender on.

The question is, has Tesla already accomplished the highly-sought-after million-mile capable pack? Is it close, or is it a distant goal? Speculation from EV enthusiasts insists that the company’s upcoming Battery Day, which was delayed by COVID-19, could be the perfect time to unveil the new development, giving every indication that Tesla has fully revived from its once (falsely claimed) graveyard-bound future.

GM watches Tesla go from “graveyard-bound” to inspiration in pursuit of million-mile battery
To Top