How Will Model S Handle High-Speed Germany?
Tesla Offers Special Autobahn Tune-up, But Doesn’t Offer Details.
Electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors of California has big plans to expand sales in Germany, and is adding super-charger points and more service centres.
Tesla Motors is also offering a special tune-up so that its Model S cars can compete against the local Porsches, BMWs, Mercedes and Audis on Germany’s unrestricted, high speed autobahns.
In an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company aims to sell about 10,000 cars a year in Germany by 2015.
Tesla has said it expects to sell 21,000 vehicles this year world-wide. It started selling cars in Europe this summer.
Tesla has received accolades for the Model S’s performance, quality, handling and looks, and CEO Elon Musk has ambitious plans to build up sales across the world. In Germany, Europe’s biggest car market though, these qualities won’t be enough. The S must be able to cruise at speeds at least as high as 130 mph, and until now batteries have shed power very quickly at speeds over 60 mph.
Musk, at a press conference in Munich, Germany earlier this month, acknowledged this problem, and said Tesla will offer free high-speed tuning for its cars, although he didn’t elaborate on how this would be accomplished, how fast they could go, or for what kind of range.
“If we can’t do well in Germany, that’s not a good sign,” Musk said.
“We will tune it (the Model S) to make it feel really great at top speed. In most parts of the world 200 km/h (125 mph) wouldn’t be a problem. In L.A, it’s difficult to go over 50 km/h (30 mph),” Musk said.
Musk announced an investment by Tesla to install superchargers across Germany, with a total of more than the per capita figure in the U.S. By the end of March 2014 more than half of Germany would be in range of a supercharger, and by the end of 2014, 100 per cent of Germany would have access to these plug-in sites. There would be 40 to 50 in total, spaced about 200 km (125 miles) apart. The superchargers would have a capacity of 135 kw, up from the U.S. capacity of 120 kw.
“You will be able to stop, plug the car in have a rest and snack and be ready to go in 20 to 25 minutes,” Musk said.
Musk conceded that electric cars lose range quite fast at high speeds, but so did gasoline-powered cars. 125 mph shouldn’t be a problem, but he didn’t say how range would be depleted. The car’s computer would calculate if the current high speed had to be cut if the destination was to be reached.
As well as the German supercharger network, Tesla also planned to invest in service centers, with 80 per cent of Germany within 100 kms (62 miles) in range by the end of 2014. No details of the cost were provided.
Range data based on 55 mph
The Tesla Model S offers range from 160 to up to 300 miles between charges depending on specification. But Musk has conceded that its range data was based on average speeds of 55 mph, and this has raised the question of how it might perform against Europe’s supercars on their home, high-speed turf. Most German fast cars are restricted to 155 mph by their computers.