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How GM (NYSE: GM) Can Dominate the American EV Market

Jeff Siegel

Written By Jeff Siegel

Posted March 11, 2024

Last week, Rivian (NASDAQ: RIVN) debuted what it’s calling a more affordable EV.

It’s called the R2, and it has a starting price of $45,000.

While $45,000 is cheaper than the company’s R1S and R1T, which are priced at $75,000 and $70,000, respectively, for most folks, $45,000 is not “affordable.”

While Rivian has produced some very impressive vehicles, particularly the extended-range R1S, which delivers nearly 400 miles on a single charge, the reality is that most Americans don’t have the kind of purchasing power necessary to buy one of these things.

Now the R2 is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit, and with state tax credits, you can probably get another couple grand knocked off.  This brings the vehicle within reach for folks who can afford a $35,000 car.  Better, but still not what most people would consider “affordable.”

Car buyers looking for an “affordable” car are looking for something less than $35,000.  Like a Honda HR-V or Nissan Versa.

Those vehicles are “affordable.”  A $45,000 Rivian is not.  Nor is a $43,000 Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), Model Y, a $42,000 Hyundai (OTCBB: HYMTF) IONIQ 5, or a $39,000 VW (OTCBB: VWAGY) ID.4.

Don’t get me wrong.  These are all really nice cars.  And quite frankly, they’re all worth the price.  Especially when you figure in fuel and maintenance savings, which can add up to a few grand a year. 

But if the EV industry wants to be taken seriously by those who are critical of higher-priced EVs, it needs to stop calling $45,000 “affordable.”

Now this doesn’t mean truly affordable EVs won’t soon be coming to market. 

Take the Kia EV3, for instance, which is expected to start at $30k when it hits the showrooms later this year.  That’s without any federal or state tax credits, by the way.  

Uncle Elon has teased a $25,000 EV in a couple years, and this year you’ll be able to get your hands on a Chevy Equinox EV, which starts at around $35k, and comes with a range of about 300 miles. 

To clarify, there are cheaper ones, too, such as the Nissan Leaf, the Fiat 500e and the Mini Cooper EV.  But these vehicles only deliver between 80 to 130 miles on a charge.  Cheap or not, any EV with a range under 200 cannot be taken seriously. At least not in the U.S.

Now outside of the US, there are definitely incredibly cheap EVs.  Particularly in China where BYD (OTCBB: BYDDY) is now selling a $10,000 EV.  Make no mistake: China is playing the long game by pumping out millions of cheap EVs in an effort to corner the global market.

Outside of the US and the EU, China is going to own the global market for EVs.  It’s just a fact.

Of course, those cars are unlikely to ever make it to the US.  

President Biden, as well as plenty of republicans support high tariffs to keep these vehicles out of the country.  They’ve also resorted to calling the Chinese-made EVs a security threat.  It’s complete bullshit, though.  It just boils down to the fact that China can crank out cheap EVs faster and easier than we can.  

I see no evidence that the US government will ever allow those cars into this country, but in order for EVs to gain more market share in the US, the industry absolutely has to figure out how to get cheaper models in the showrooms without losing money, and with the understanding that federal and state tax credits will eventually be phased out.

In terms of who will be able to corner the US market for affordable EVs, my money’s on GM (NYSE: GM).

Before a massive recall, GM’s Chevy Bolt was the third best-selling EV in the country.  Demand was strong.  But the battery chemistries being used were outdated, and a massive recall in 2022 based on fire concerns, put the kibosh on the Bolt.

Now GM is looking to bring back a new version of the Bolt in 2025, which will have a bigger battery, longer range and fast charging capabilities. If the company can keep the pricing at around $30k, I believe it’ll be a real contender.  Especially if it can qualify for federal and state tax credits.

Although, like I said, those tax credits won’t be around forever.  So GM, as well as other EV makers do need to figure out how to keep prices within reach of normal, everyday middle-class Americans.  How they’ll do that, I have no idea.

But here’s what I do know …

According to Bloomberg estimates, EV pricing is getting very close to parity with pricing for comparable internal combustion vehicles.  Check it out …

evparity

If this chart is accurate, it’s going to be harder and harder for internal combustion vehicles to compete with EVs beyond this decade.  Particularly as driving ranges increase to 400 and 500 miles and the number of public charging stations quintuple.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the internal combustion vehicle is dead.  It’s not. But the transition from internal combustion to vehicle electrification has not only begun, it’s actually happening a lot faster than anyone could’ve predicted.   And as investors, you better believe we’re going to milk this thing for everything it’s worth. 

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