The Tesla Roadster was what kicked the folks at GM into high gear to bring out the Chevrolet Volt concept and then greenlight it for production. As Lutz told the New Yorker (PDF) last year:
So, now that Tesla is selling electric cars but GM isn't (yet), Artin believes that bringing Tesla under GM's banner could be a "dream date" that merges Tesla's visionary vehicles and powertrains with GM's funding and size. Sure, she's smart enough to admit that this partnership like, "is probably never going to happen," but at least it gives us something to talk about on a Thursday afternoon.All the geniuses here at General Motors kept saying lithium-ion technology is 10 years away, and Toyota agreed with us – and boom, along comes Tesla. So I said, 'How come some tiny little California startup, run by guys who know nothing about the car business, can do this, and we can't?' That was the crowbar that helped break up the log jam.