When a small (yet growing) company like Tesla can outsell the $39,145 Chevrolet Volt with the $69,900 Model S, you’ve gotta give credit where credit is due. But it’s more than just a sales numbers game, as Tesla’s innovations allow its vehicles to swap out a depleted battery for a new one in just 90 seconds, plans to install supercharging stations nation-wide, and is in pursuit of manufacturer-owned dealerships. With all of this forward-thinking, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has noticed what Elon Musk is doing, and as a result, assigned a small team to study Tesla so the company can learn from the smaller automaker, and won’t be caught off guard in the future.
In a Bloomberg interview, Steve Girsky, GM vice chairman, said, “History is littered with big companies that ignored innovation that was coming their way because you didn’t know where you could be disrupted.”
At the very least, it all ties in with Akerson’s desire to continually change the internal culture of General Motors, pushing for more meaningful spending in the R&D department by monetizing or using more of its patents, or even investing in smaller businesses developing new technologies.