GM is stepping up the bullish rhetoric on electric cars. During a conference presentation on Sunday, the company’s president, Mark Reuss, said electric cars will soon cost the same as gas cars and “reach parity a lot sooner than people think,” as reported by Bloomberg.
If we’re talking about sticker prices, this is a pretty bold—if unspecific—prediction. GM’s most popular EV, the Bolt, has an MSRP about in line with the average new vehicle sale price of $37,000, which is almost double the average transaction price for a new compact car, according to the latest Kelly Blue Book data. Of course, EV credits and dealer incentives often mean you can buy a Bolt for substantially less than the sticker price, but even in the best case scenario most buyers are looking at a hefty EV premium of many thousands of dollars.
Reuss said the costs associated with EVs are coming down, which will allow GM to sell the cars for less, and presumably to also start making money on them, which they currently do not. He said it’s not just the cost of batteries that are coming down, but “the whole EV in general.” Earlier this year, GM announced a $300 million investment in the Michigan plant that makes the Bolt.
Still, “a lot sooner than people think” is not exactly a specific time frame. Lots of people think lots of different things!
In January, Cadillac President Steve Carlisle told the Detroit Free Press that all transportation will be electric by the “early to middle part of the next decade,” which is looking awfully optimistic.
Even if he just meant “most” instead of “all” it’s not like Cadillac is going to be the brand pushing affordable EVs. But, according to that same Free Press article, they are going to be the ones using GM’s “new EV platform,” whatever that is, with other GM brands to follow at some later point.
Especially as the U.S. goes to trade war with the only country seriously mining the rare earths needed to build EVs at scale, the “sooner than people think” line sounds to my ears like a corporate-friendly way of saying sooner than never.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated GM announced a $300 million investment in the Ohio plant that makes the Bolt. The plant is in Michigan. We regret the error.