Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA): Can This Boost General Motors Company (GM)?

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Photo credit: Chevrolet,

General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is often blamed for killing the electric car in the early 1990s. However, it could now be said that General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is about to supercharge the electric-vehicle revolution, with the launch of its 2014 Chevy Spark EV. In fact, the company appears to have built an “electric” car in more ways than one.

First off, the 2014 Spark, which is a spin on the gasoline version of the Spark, packs quite a punch. The car generates 400 pound-feet of torque and 130 horsepower, which enables it to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in as little as 8.0 seconds. Let’s just say that its power is generating a lot of buzz as it’s turning the corner on the EV market.

The initial reviews are pretty glowing, as Consumer Reports has gone so far as to say that the Spark is shattering the reputation of electric cars as being anemic and inept. In fact, it said that the Spark was “one of the most enjoyable electric cars we’ve driven.” Overall, reviews suggest that the Spark EV is far better than the gasoline version, which Consumer Reports had called “slow, noisy, and stiff.”

Best of all for consumers, the Spark EV starts at just $27,495 before incentives, which is less than the comparable Nissan Leaf. Further, the Spark gets 119 MPG equivalent and costs consumers just $0.84 for the first 25 miles driven, which would rank it among the cheapest cars to drive. That could save consumers more than $9,000 over the course of five years based on the 2013 average of 23 MPG and at current gas prices. However, the drawback is that its range is just 82 miles, though it can be recharged in as little as 20 minutes using a special charging accessory.

While not as sleek and luxurious as a Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S, the more budget-friendly Spark EV does beat the Model S on fuel economy, as the 60 kW-hr battery pack version will cost upwards of $70,000 yet delivers only 95 MPGe, though its range is much better at 208 miles. Other than styling, the biggest difference between the two really is the battery.

The Spark EV packs a pretty hefty battery, which weighs in at 560 pounds. However, that’s a lightweight compared with the Model S battery pack, which is estimated to be in excess of 1,000 pounds.

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