Cadillac Wants To Compete With Tesla: Can It?


cadillac-elr-2014Tesla Motors has taken the luxury car market by storm, grabbing huge chunks of key demographics and outpacing the sales of many top European brands. it isn’t just ze Germans that have to watch out for Tesla either; GM’s CEO sees Cadillac as a competitor for the up-and-coming California automaker. But is Cadillac up to the challenge?

Of course GM’s CEO Dan Akerson thinks Cadillac can handle the electric upstart known as Tesla, and he isn’t entirely convinced pure electric cars are what Americans want. Sales of the Tesla Model S aside, lower-priced electric cars are only just starting to gain market awareness and share among Americans. Then again, the Tesla Model S is a much better car all the way around, and GM would really have to step up its game to compete with a pure electric car.

Instead, GM may rely on a plug-in hybrid, like the upcoming Volt-based Cadillac ELR to serve as the opening salvo in the war of green luxury cars. Tesla’s inherent advantage of course is that it was designed from the ground-up as an electric car, while the Cadillac ELR is a luxury car based on the chassis of the Chevy Cruze, a car meant for the masses rather than the elite.

If Cadillac wants to take Tesla on, it is going to have to design a completely new green car, whether it is a pure electric vehicle or some form of hybrid.  GM is said to be working on an affordable electric car with a 200-mile range, though if you slap a Cadillac badge on it, you can toss the “affordable” thing right out the window.

Can Cadillac compete with Tesla at electric cars, or is GM biting off more than it can chew?

Source: The Detroit News

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • Drivesolo

    Can GM go toe-to-toe w/ Tesla in the EV world? Given enough time; yes. Maybe 20 years from now, but not anytime soon. IMO, anything short of a pure BEV (not an EREV) is only a half-heated attempt on the part of anyone claiming to challenge Tesla.

    • Rich

      I think GM can go toe-to-toe with Tesla in the EV world. Unfortunately GM chooses not to. It’s obvious GM has no interest in producing Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). I think we won’t see decent BEV nationwide offering from GM until 2016 or beyond. This will come at about the same time Tesla, Nissan, or one of the other BEV manufacturers start handing GM their hat.

      Electric vehicles require less maintenance than a comparable gasoline vehicle. Carbon Fibre composites will last a lot longer than painted steel. I truly believe this is one of the (if not The) driving factor behind almost all auto manufacturers reluctance to offer battery electric vehicles.

      Less maintenance equates to less revenue generated in parts and service for an electric vehicle vs. a gasoline vehicle. In addition, less maintenance costs could equate to higher customer satisfaction with their existing BEV and could lengthen the sales cycle for upgrading / buying a new vehicle. Why would GM willingly produce something that generates less revenue over the life cycle of the product and would lengthen the sales cycle of the product? Side note: There could be a debate on whether a greater range offering would incent people to upgrade or not.

      GM is offering plug-in hybrids. From a maintenance point of view, this is acceptable for GM because it generates some (not all) maintenance revenues for the gasoline engine and adds the maintenance revenues for the electric drive train.

      Pure Electric Vehicles are great for saving consumers money and not so great at making The Man money.

      From a consumer (me) that is replacing one car in a year and another car in 3 years, I’ll consider Nissan (possibly BMW or Mercedes if their offerings aren’t just compliance cars) for the first replacement car (I can’t afford a Tesla). The second car in 3 years will be from one of the car manufacturers that aren’t dragging their feet in offering nationwide BEVs at a value price. With a little luck, Tesla will have it’s economy model out and I can heavily consider them in the purchase decision.

    • Rich

      Drivesolo, my previous response was a very long winded way of saying “I agree”. 🙂

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  • egogg
    • Christopher DeMorro

      The Volt is based on the Cruze. So both.

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