GM (GM) CEO Mary Barra has made it her mission to surpass Elon Musk in EV manufacturing.
She promises that her 113-year-old company can pivot and take on Tesla (TSLA), the world's largest EV maker, making GM the eventual leader in that market as it's been in the past for internal-combustion powered cars.
“We're taking all the steps to do it,” she told Yahoo Finance in a wide-ranging interview this week. “We have said that by mid-decade, we will be selling more EVs in this country than anyone else, including Tesla.”
The ambitious plans are not likely to faze Musk publicly, who once mocked Barra on Twitter as living “in Cloud Cuckoo Land”, over the market share of their respective companies.
But Barra says she knows the strategy to do it: Cheaper electric vehicles.
“Remember, we're not necessarily just selling at the premium end” she said Monday, drawing a clear contrast to Tesla, whose cheapest model has an MSRP of $46,990. “We're going to have electric vehicles affordable at $30,000.”
Currently, the Chevy BOLT EV is listed as starting at $31,500, and a Silverado EV has an estimated MSRP of $39,900. Other electric cars in Barra’s lineup — like the Cadillac LYRIQ and the Hummer — are more clearly in the luxury space, with suggested MSRPs of $58,795 and 79,995, respectively.
The company also recently announced a partnership with Honda to further drive EV prices down via a series of affordable electric vehicles that are expected to go on sale in 2027.
“We've really worked to listen and understand what the customer is looking for,” Barra says.
Tesla has a clear head start on production and holds a distinct advantage in clean technology, however. In 2021, It remained the leader in the global EV market with a market share of nearly 14%. GM sits at in fourth at 7.6%.
Nonetheless, Barra professes confidence that she will eventually close the gap and surpass Musk, the world’s richest man.
She says each year more and more GM drivers will gradually trade in their internal-combustion vehicles for electric ones. “They are going to be buying electric trucks,” she said of current Chevy and GMC truck drivers in the years ahead.
“I think it's a little bit longer game,” she says.
Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.