Last year, then-CEO of General Motors, Dan Akerson, made it clear that the company lookouts at the Ren Cen had California automaker Tesla in their sights. "If you want to compete head-to-head with Tesla, and we ultimately will, you want to do it with a Cadillac," he said.
So, given the fact that the Cadillac ELR has a plug and sells for roughly the same price at the Tesla Model S ($75,000 vs $69,900, before incentives) and that Cadillac doesn't have any other electric vehicle on the horizon, you'd be forgiven if you thought that the way that Akerson wanted to challenge Tesla's EV success was with the ELR. Well, you'd apparently be wrong.
Speaking yesterday in Detroit, GM's head of global product development, Mark Reuss, admitted that the ELR is not the Tesla competitor that Akerson promised. "People like to say the ELR is [competition for the Model S], but it's really not. It's a different car, it's a different price point. It's way-different technology." So, if we follow that logic to conclusion with Akerson's quote from last year, then the only way that Cadillac can eventually compete with Tesla is with a pure electric car, and that seems an outside chance, at best, for the foreseeable future.
"The ELR is a different car, it's a different price point. It's way-different technology." - GM's Mark Reuss
Through the end of July, Cadillac has sold 578 ELRs since it went on sale earlier this year. Tesla doesn't break out monthly US sales, but has sold 15,114 Model S EVs around the world in the first six months of 2014.
For his part, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has already said that GM is headed down the wrong path with plug-in hybrids like the ELR or the Chevy Volt. Speaking about the Volt last year, Musk said, Chevy "sort of created something that's a bit of amphibian," which resulted in a car that's, "Okay but not great."