What is the magic number when it comes to EV driving range? The initial wave of Nissan Leafs received a 73 mile rating, though plenty of owners have achieved more or less range, depending on a wide variety of factors. Yet EV sales are not what Nissan hoped for, and other automakers have taken note. GM’s CEO Dan Akerson said the General is working on an EV with 200 miles of real world range.
Akerson told Bloomberg News that his company is developing two separate technologies side-by-side, to see which works out better. One of these technologies will result in a 100-mile EV, while the other will supposedly give GM an EV with 200 miles of range. Such a car is probably a long ways out though, and in the interim the Chevy Spark EV will fill the gap with 75 to 80 miles of range.
The key here will be price; Tesla already sells a Model S sedan that can comfortably go 200 miles on a charge, but it costs around $80,000 (before the tax credit). If GM could sell an EV with 200 miles of range at half that price, it could give EV sales the kick in the ass they need. Nissan has managed to sell 50,000 Leaf EVs across the world since going on sale in December of 2010; respectable, but not nearly as many as Nissan had hoped to sell.
But Akerson’s comments about battery “breakthroughs” that are “just on the horizon” aren’t exactly encouraging. That’s the same story we’ve been hearing for years. His call for Obama to form a 30-year energy commission also isn’t much help right now, considering the whole sequester situation. How much longer before one of these battery “breakthroughs” actually comes to market?