US auto giant General Motors is poised to become the first manufacturer to make a profit from electric vehicles, a GM executive predicted on Monday.
The company leads the pack in reducing the cost of electric vehicles and ultimately offering an affordable version, said Mark Reuss, GM's executive vice president for product development.
Engineers have been working to reduce mass and improve battery efficiency since it does not take as much power to move a lighter-weight vehicle, he said.
"That's the mantra inside product development. That's what all our engineers are all working toward," Reuss told reporters.
And as GM increases production of electric vehicles, particularly in China, where GM has plans to introduce 10 different electric models by 2020, it will help drive down the cost of battery cells.
"We know the customers would like to drive electric but are unwilling to pay, and that's why we're going to be the first company to sell electric vehicles that people can afford at a profit," Reuss said.
GM will soon introduce a plug-in, all-electric vehicle based on the Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan, and a Buick extended range electric vehicle similar to the Chevrolet Volt.
Other carmakers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, PSA, Volkswagen, Ford and Tesla are promising to bring out additional electric vehicles, including Tesla's Model 3 due out in July aimed at the middle market.
GM's electric vehicles also will serve as a platform for the company's efforts to launch autonomous vehicles, Reuss said. GM has already begun testing self-driving tests in Detroit, Phoenix and San Francisco.
Reuss noted that deploying a fleet of all-electric autonomous vehicles would help lower battery costs.