General Motors president Mark Reuss says consumers won't gravitate toward EVs until they deliver more range and faster charging, but even his own company, which is one of the highest-volume EV sellers in the country, doesn't offer either.
His remarks were part of an op-ed penned for CNN, the contents of which won't come as much surprise to most who follow the EV industry. He said range, infrastructure and cost are currently the highest barriers to entry—citing market data to back each up.
"Like any revolution, this one will be created by market demand," Reuss said. "Beyond the environmental benefit, electric vehicle owners enjoy the performance, quiet operation, robust acceleration, style and interior space. And EV owners like not having to buy gasoline. We believe the majority of these customers will stay loyal to electric cars."
Reuss says that demand is starting to come around. In the 1990s, when GM experimented with the EV1, customers were put off by the fact that even the best EVs on the market had a range of no more than 70 miles. That alone was a deal breaker for the vast majority of potential buyers. Now?
"We recently held consumer clinics in Los Angeles and Chicago and presented people with six SUV choices: three gasoline and three electric," Reuss said. "When we asked for their first choice to purchase, 40% of the Chicago respondents chose an electric SUV, and 45% in LA did the same. This is despite a several thousand-dollar premium on the price of the electric models (but also before crucial government tax credits that we believe will continue to drive people toward electric vehicles and help fuel market demand)."
But Reuss admits that EVs—including GM's own Bolt—still have a long way to go when it comes to delivering the range people expect from a daily driver. By his own data, almost 90% of the current EV sales volume is made up of vehicles with more than 200 miles of range, with 300 being the point where most consumers start to favor electrics.
So, is GM working on answers, or is Reuss simply making excuses for why even its well-engineered Bolt EV isn't bringing in more buyers?