Tesla Receives High Praise From Audi Executive

Tesla Motors was the beneficiary of high praise at a German automotive conference last week. Stefan Niemand, director of battery electric vehicles at Audi, had nothing but criticism for his colleagues. According to the EE Times Europe, Niemand told the Technical Congress of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) at its annual meeting near Stuttgart that electric cars European manufacturers are bringing to market fall far short of customer expectations.

“These cars are slower than those with conventional drive and they have a much lower range – and in compensation they are more expensive,” he said. Unless the strategy is changed, electric cars will not make significant gains in the marketplace any time soon, he warned.

Niemand said buyers want to buy cars that do not degrade the environment and are even willing to pay a premium for them, but only if they do not have to give up the fun of driving them. In particular, he lamented that Europe does not yet have a comprehensive infrastructure of fast charging stations. He told his colleagues that they must commit to building a system that features charging stations with at least 350 kW of power. “We need awesome cars and a seamless infrastructure,” he said.

If the industry would adjust its focus to give customers those two things, he thinks acceptance of electric cars would skyrocket. “Those who had ever driven electrically are lost for the internal combustion engine for all times,” he said, but they must have access to adequate charging facilities to complete their journeys.

The Audi executive had high praise for Tesla because of its commitment to building its Supercharger network“I hate to admit it, but Tesla did everything right”, he said. He marveled at how Tesla created a system of 611 Supercharger locations with more that 3,600 individual chargers in such a short period of time. The inference left for his colleagues to draw upon was that unless they are willing to make a similar commitment, they are in danger of falling further and further behind their American rival.

 

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Author: Steve Hanley

I write about technology, the environment and anything on wheels from my home in Rhode Island. My Miata and I team up for occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

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  • James

    finally, a german that gets it! 😉

    • Steve Hanley

      The SuperCharger network will be hugely important to Tesla going forward. It is certainly possible Tesla’s chargers and protocols will become the industry standard in the future. When Elon was in Paris recently, he told people that Tesla was talking to other car companies about sharing charger technology, but did not say which companies were involved.

      • James

        sure – he’s been repeating that for years.. Unfortunately every other carmaker has too much pride to admit that Tesla has way more appealing tech than they do… I think joining in on the supercharger standard could make or break other OEM’s.. I sincerely hope BMW partners with Tesla and helps to make superchargers much more ubiquitous… Would be sad if everyone tried to do it on their own out of hubris.

      • Steve Hanley

        Never discount the power of hubris, James. : – (

  • hu

    And his days in audi are numbered…

  • Jeff

    i do not want to share my supercharger station with non telsa cars. i paid for my supercharger station. if they want to start sharing the stations they will need to build more. i do not want to pull into a station and not be able to charge because some volkswagon cheater is using my charger! sorry to be a hater…

    • James

      mega-hater….. i thought tesla was about accelerating advent of EV’s…. not this type of behaviour 😉

    • Top 12

      Do not worry soon the number of SC stations will double and we can charge at a local of new locations.

    • Tom Moore

      That isn’t going to happen, but you paid to “enable supercharging” of your car, which consists of adding switchgear, electronics, and software to control the DC supercharging and manage the temperature of the battery. Anything you may have inferred from speeches or web pages is subordinate to the actual sales contract and bill of sale between you and Tesla.

  • “Unless the strategy is changed, electric cars will not make significant gains in the marketplace any time soon, he warned.”

    He was off a bit here. Tesla alone have already made significant gains in the marketplace. In the U.S. they are now the top selling premium luxury car. Leading all of those German manufacturers.

  • Richard Sargeant

    My belief is that Volvo will be the first manaufacturer that takes up Elon’s encouragements to pay for sharing the supercharger network. The big German manufacturers have backed the CSS standard and their national pride would never allow them to go cap in hand to an upstart Californian manufacturer. My idea is based on the several sightings of big Volvos apparently charging at superchargers accompanied by non-communicative drivers.

  • Stevebb

    Where are these Volvos using SC’s? In Europe? Do they have some adapter?

  • Stevebb

    Where are these Volvos using SC’s? In Europe? Do they have some adapter?

  • dannyboy85

    Found the link don’t think it’s anything to be worried about

    http://gas2.org/2015/07/22/volvo-v60-plug-in-charging-at-a-tesla-supercharger-wacky-wednesday/

  • dannyboy85

    Found the link don’t think it’s anything to be worried about

    http://gas2.org/2015/07/22/volvo-v60-plug-in-charging-at-a-tesla-supercharger-wacky-wednesday/

  • Tom Moore

    350 kW! This guy sets his sights high! I really hope we will see such high power stations, but a factor of three is significant, so it may depend on innovations considerably beyond Tesla supercharging. Porsche is talking about 800 V batteries, which would immediately double the practical power levels by decreasing the current required.