Tesla may get all the credit these days for making electric cars popular, but that won't be what history books say if General Motors has anything to say about it.
General Motors will make electric cars for the masses a reality, Stuart Norris, GM's head designer for its all-electric Chevy Bolt, told Tech Insider.
And GM will do it first, before Tesla.
Norris wants GM to be remembered as the company that brought all-electric cars to the masses.
The Chevy Bolt, which is going into production this year, will have a range of more than 200 miles and cost about $30,000 after incentives, making it the first long-range, mass market electric car.
"I don't know whether we are necessarily in the same market as Tesla...Teslas are a very elite car. This is not an elite car. This is a car that everybody can own," Norris said.
Tesla vehicles begin pricing at about $75,000 and feature many luxury details. A massive touchscreen command center and retracting door handles are just a few of the many luxury features in Tesla vehicles that won't show up in the more affordable, mass market cars coming from GM (and Tesla too - more on that in a minute).
"From a capability point of view, I think we are definitely on par," Norris continued. "The fact that we are able to deliver a vehicle of this size at this price really puts us in a field of our own and really ahead of the pack on where electric vehicles are going."
Tesla's next car, the Model 3, is expected to cost around $35,000, with a range of more than 200 miles per charge. It's planned for sale at some point in 2017. It's the first affordably priced car from Tesla, aimed at broad audiences. It's Tesla's answer to GM's Bolt.
The Model 3 will be Tesla's first foray into creating mass market cars, so only time will tell whether or not its plan to make more affordable vehicles will work. The company's track record so far has been consistently successful -Tesla Motors went from selling about 600 cars per year five years ago to about 50,000 cars per year in 2015.
Even then, Norris said he still believes GM has an edge in the space because of its experience in developing electrified vehicles.
Chevrolet already offers the Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid vehicle that prices around $30,000, and the Spark EV, which is an all-electric car that has a range of about 82 miles per charge and costs about $20,000. With the Bolt, Chevy will have developed four generations of electric vehicles.
"We've always been at the heart of electrification in the automotive space," Norris said. "So I think that is where we are going to bring our very own unique perspective to the market."
Still, Tesla's success in creating high-end electric vehicles has likely played a role in spurring automakers to increase investment in their electrification programs.
Other car companies planning to make an all-electric vehicle in the next few years include Porsche, Audi, and Volkswagen.
While increased competition might scare some companies, it's always been part of the plan for Tesla.
The company's CEO Elon Musk has said numerous times that he welcomes car companies entering the electric car space because his ultimate goal is to transition the world to electric vehicles, and he can't do that alone.
In fact, in 2014 Tesla even made all of its technology open source so that other car companies could use its tech to build electric vehicles.
During an interview with CNN last month Musk commented specifically on GM coming to market with a long range electric car calling the news "great."
"If GM or any other company comes out with electric cars that is good for the world and we would applaud them," Musk said.