General Motors Co. GM +0.44% is developing an electric car that can go 200 miles on a charge for around $30,000, officials at the largest U.S. auto maker said, offering a challenge to luxury electric-car startup Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA +0.63%
Doug Parks, GM’s vice president of global product programs, disclosed the effort on Monday at GM’s battery laboratory and test facility in Warren, Mich., but didn’t say when the car would be available. He said while the technology is available now, the cost of the batteries remains too high to be able to pull off the feat today.
GM’s move to raise the profile of its battery research efforts comes as Tesla is challenging the established auto industry’s claim to technology leadership with its $70,000 and up Model S. Mr. Parks’ comments came just a few days after Germany’s Volkswagen AG VOW.XE +0.43% said it intended to become the largest seller of electric vehicles by 2018.
Analysts and industry executives say Tesla, GM, VW and the current global electric vehicle sales leader, Nissan Motor Co., 7201.TO -0.20% all face the same problem: current electric vehicle batteries are too expensive, and deliver too little usable driving range compared with vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.