2016 Volt and Leaf expose how far auto giants have to go to compete with Tesla

Plugging in my Tesla Model S at home every night has become routine. I've programmed charging to start at 3 a.m., even though my New Jersey utility doesn't have lower, off-peak rates for residential customers like me. Solar panels on my roof mean charging the Model S costs me nothing.


The all-electric 2016 Nissan Leaf will offer two batteries yielding ranges of 84 miles and 107 miles.

The 2016 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid comes with an Achilles heel as standard equipment: 

It still uses gasoline, fouling the air and aggravating climate change.

Major domestic and foreign automakers, especially the Germans, struggle to catch up more than three years after California-based Tesla Motors unveiled the Model S, a luxurious all-electric four-door hatchback with a range of 200-plus miles.

The next, best hope is Chevrolet's pure-electric Bolt concept, which is promised with a range of over 200 miles.

News reports say the Bolt will go into production in October 2016 with a price of $37,500.

The media haven't bothered asking, and GM officials haven't said, how the new all-electric car will be sold for only a couple of thousands dollar more than the upcoming 2016 Volt.

What were Ford and General Motors thinking when they produced the Excursion, above, and a land barge called Buick, below?

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