Tomorrow, California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger will take the podium to announce Tesla Motors’ new family-oriented electric vehicle, as part of a partnership between Tesla and the State of California. The car will be produced in Tesla’s new factory in California, thanks in part to a $9 million incentive package, and its 2010 release date will closely rival the delivery timeline of the other much-anticipated electric vehicle coming to the market: GM’s [NYSE:GM] Chevrolet Volt. Both cars are aiming at the eco-friendly family market; both the Volt and the yet-unnamed new Tesla will be 4-door, 5-passenger models. Chevy’s price point is the more ambitious of the two; while Tesla claims their sedan won’t break $60,000, Chevy has promised the Volt for around $40,000. The Tesla, however, will boast a 225-mile driving radius off of one charge, compared to the Volt’s measly 40 miles per charge. Part of the Volt’s value will be a small gas engine incorporated into the car’s drivetrain, not to drive the wheels, but to act as a generator when juice is running low. Tesla’s version will be completely electric.
While both cars will offer attractive specs, the success of each may hinge on which vehicle makes it to market first. Like the Toyota Prius before it, the firstborn electric car will have seminal appeal to eco-conscious consumers, who will doubtless be on waiting lists for the vehicles months in advance. For Chevy to capitalize on the phenomenon, they’ll have to stick to their 2010 timeline and hope that Tesla runs into snags.CD