General Motors plans to deploy on the market the first direct competitor to Tesla’s electric vehicles: the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV.
Reportedly, GM’s fully electric car will start selling for about $35,000 six months to a year before Tesla’s much-anticipated Model 3. GM announced that the vehicle’s production is about to start, but the first cars will need to be tested extensively before they reach the nation’s showrooms.
Unlike Tesla, which would rather sell an unfinished product and let customers be the “beta-testers” just like users do in video games (we known that Tesla’s founder Elon Musk is a big fan of computer games), GM would rather test itself the products first.
Tesla’s approach was evident in its Model S and X. If GM had had followed this path too, the Bolts would have been ready by March, 2016. Instead, the testing period will take between 6 months to 9 months. But despite the delay, GM will still be able to deliver a finished product up to one year prior to Tesla Model 3’s launch date.
Maybe it is because GM doesn’t want reports about car parts not working properly such as faulty door handles, doors not willing to open when asked, and touchscreens with a random reboot problem. Several of these problems were reported by customers who bought Tesla’s Models X and S.
It is yet unclear what would be the Chevy Bolt’s range. Tesla said that its incoming model will have a tinier battery than the Bolt’s. So, analysts expect GM’s model to hit at least 215 miles before its 60 kWh battery is out. The Bolt is also expected to be slightly larger than Model 3.
But leaving aside technical differences, the Chevrolet Bolt EV is expected to impact the most Tesla’s unique business model of delivering premium products in scarce numbers. This aspect could also drive Tesla’s valuation down like never before.
We don’t know yet either whether GM will try to crush its competitor or find a less aggressive marketing strategy to sell its products and gain a larger market share. Depending on GM’s approach, Tesla’s highly-sensitive stocks could see a plunge.
Between April and September 2013, the Palo Alto-based auto maker saw its stock price skyrocket to $200 from $40, after investors heard that Model S would have some features designed to convince Silicon Valley’s early adopters to try it out. These rumors about Model S’ uniqueness had been circulating on the Internet months before April 2013.
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