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Has Tesla given up on American Sales?

Has Tesla given up on American Sales?

Just watching the "current", "under construction", and "permit" for the super chargers in Europe compared to the USA shows that Tesla has clearly decided to target Europe for the majority of SCs for the time being. This can be interpreted in a number of ways. The initial reaction would be that US sales are lagging so Tesla has decided to turn its attention to Europe. But, it could also simply be a difference in culture and thus a difference in the approach to sales. In the US, a far greater % of people live in single family houses with garages and thus access to chargers at night. In Europe, people will not have good access to non-SC methods to charge. I think this explains not only why we are seeing MANY more SCs coming up in Europe, but also why they seem to be much closer in proximity to other SCs in Europe compared to America.

I can't say I agree with this strategy though. I think if you don't get a good foothold in one or 2 markets, you may never gain great market share. Tesla was just starting to make great strides in America with brand recognition and range anxiety. I'm not sure why the plans changed or what the plan going forward is, but they really shouldn't put that "Coming Soon" map up, attract buyers, and then shift focus somewhere else. This is bad business and not what I expected from Tesla. There is no way in heck they will meet that 2014 map at the current rate. In fact, at the current rate, they will barely meet the 2014 map by the end of 2015. JMHO.

SamO | 01. Juli 2014

If you read any thread from last year (or even just go to Supercharger.info) you'll see that Tesla opens Superchargers in dollops.

In 2013:

January to June 1 - 0 new Superchargers opened

June 1 to December 31 - 40 Superchargers opened

If you extrapolate from the beginning of the year, you assume Tesla will NEVER open a Supercharger.

In 2014:

January to February 26 - 29 Superchargers opened

February 26 - April 30 - 9 Superchargers opened

Don't read too much into Tesla's motives. There will very likely be 100 Superchargers opened in North America in 2014 and 50 opened in Europe.

420weblazeit | 12. Juli 2014

No complaints here, I'm in the UK, Republic or Ireland needs one as they're stuffed, but we're going just great. Though it's a shame Tesla screwed ecotricity over, so now we might not get the chargers at service stations. Though I really think they should get the Balkans done up to Greece, so you can drive over through there.

centralvalley | 12. Juli 2014

The "coming soon" map shows a SC located near Billings, Montana. It would not surprise me that they are planning to build out Interstate 90 both eastward and westward to join up with the SC network that currently ends at Ritzville WA and Rapid City SD. This route could be completed by late spring 2015.

Similarly, Interstate 70 is starting to fill in.

We need to be patient and realize that many of these planned locations (at least here in the west) are situated in rural locations. There are not a lot of Tesla owners in these areas yet. Tesla could already have representatives locating sites and arranging for permits and contractors.

Tesla has had a history of using the same construction crews for multiple Supercharger stations rather than hiring new contractors for each site. So, when they finish one job, they go to another in a proximate geographic spot.

Building permits are generally good for 90-120 days before they have to go through the process again.

negarholger | 12. Juli 2014

@buddyroe - the conditions in the US and Europe are different, you have think of Central Europe in terms of the LA area, but 500 million people... very dense population with many major freeways criss crossing the continent. Different condition requires different strategy. Germany for example is about the size of CA, but has 3x population.
But the real real reasons are
(1) in Germany cars of MS or Gen3 size are sold as company cars, meaning your company leases the car and you can use it for the business and private. There are tax advantages for the business and it is a perk given to the employee... e.g. first sales number I saw for the i3 was 5 private vs 500 sold to business. So if you want to be successful in Germany then you need a robust, dense charging network good enough for business use and a business lease program. Tesla is working on both.
(2) due to EU regulations starting 2017 all new chargers have to have the same CCS plug, so Tesla is running against a time limit... they do it now or never. ( CCS standard can not support Tesla supercharging, it is limited to 80 kW or 108 kW with tricks for a 400 V battery... there is a good reason why Tesla upgraded rapidly from 90 kW to 135 kW so CCS would be a downgrade).

I am extremely pleased with the strategy of Tesla - for a change somebody that thinks ahead.

Red Sage ca us | 13. Juli 2014

That was really good information! Thanks, Kleist!

David N | 13. Juli 2014

All great replies.
Tesla ( I can't remember who , (Elon or J.b) just recently remarked that Tesla is on track to complete the 2014, 2015(US) and Canada locations. Our good neighbors to the north have been very patient.

ElectricSteve | 14. Juli 2014

In Europe, people that can afford an MS, often have private parking-spaces. I have my own spot in a large private underground garage that serves the appartement-buildings built on top of it.
I had the electrician pull a 5x 10mm2 cable towards my parking-space so i could wall-mount a wall-box. Happily charging at 22kW during off-peak @ lower rates. "Fuel costs" are a fifth of what i used to pay for my ICE car.
In Switzerland and Austria, such underground private parkings (Tiefgarage) are very common. In daily driving, i never need an SC as no customer is more that 160km away (making 320km per day which my S85 handles just fine).
In the rare occasion that i suddenly do have to go further away (ad-hoc appointment for the afternoon), i can "top-up" at an SC which is great. Be gone in 20 minutes which is fine as you want to take a short coffee-break anyway. I use my S85 as i used my other cars. No difference. No un-easiness. It just works.

The main idea about SC's is that they are used to enable longer distance driving. Not every day as the only source of charging. That you do at home.

In the future, when batteries have much larger capacities and you zap them full in 10 minutes or less, that's when EV's will really gain momentum.
Technologies like Hydrogen or any other form of Hybrid are just unnecessarily complex transition-solutions.

ElectricSteve | 14. Juli 2014

Stupid lack of an edit function grrr....

Concerning the supercharge.info website:
It often does not display european "Permit" Sites. Or "Under construction" for that matter. Norway is an exception. It seems to be more detailed there.

The four new finished SC's in France for example, simply "appeared" all of a sudden during the past few days.
Same goes for the SC under construction in Egerkingen, Switzerland.

So not seeing "Permit or "Under construction" says nothing. It just means that the author of that website does not have access to detailed enough information for a specific region. I highly appreciate what he/she is doing.

Bubba2000 | 14. Juli 2014

Keist,

Can you clarify on the CCS standard. Does it mean no more Tesla SCs, even on private property? No HPWCs in hotels or parking lots?

Personally, I think that Tesla needs to focus on US/Canada and Greater China.

negarholger | 15. Juli 2014

@Bubba2000 - AC charging has already a standard in the type 2 connector which Tesla cars have in Europe. So HPWC would connect via a type 2 connector to the car.
CCS is the fast charging solution and it is still changing mess... first it was CCS only, after Nissan/Renault protest it is CCS is a must, CHaDemo allowed as an option. The current guideline is that starting 2017 all new fast chargers must have CCS, but can have also ChaDemo and AC fast charging options... but who knows when it will be updated again. There is a loop hole that fleet chargers do not have to comply... but maybe that will be taken away in the future.
Because CCS is an uncertain mess Tesla is well advised to have a dense and robust SC network established in Europe before 2017.

Germany is the key market for BEVs - why? The biggest by revenue and most influential car companies are there. By revenue VW is the biggest in the World by a wide margin followed by Toyota and Daimler. If you can convince Germans to drive BEVs then the rest of the World will follow ( because the German car makers have to follow ). I am always smiling when BMW is named as the target... no, Toyota and Daimler are already partners, but the real target to convince is the VW group ( Audi, Porsche ).
Second Germany is the World leader in renewable electricity no better place in the World to deploy your storage solutions ( solar and wind production capacity covers the mean use of electricity - if the wind blows and the sun shines on a weekend then there is more renewable then used... missing = storage ).

Red Sage ca us | 17. Juli 2014

Kleist, "I am always smiling when BMW is named as the target... no, Toyota and Daimler are already partners, but the real target to convince is the VW group ( Audi, Porsche )."

I, too, had deduced that Volkswagen would be the best positioned to directly challenge Tesla Motors, should they choose to make that move. You are correct that Tesla wants to convince VW to adapt as soon as possible. BMW 3-Series is a target only because it is the best selling vehicle for that particular manufacturer. If it can be taken down, then the industry will know full well that Tesla can and may successfully target the best of someone else's offerings.

Wouldn't it be interesting if the VW Golf were specifically targeted for Tesla Generation IV?

Realo.de | 17. Juli 2014

@Kleist,

many thanks from a German to an European - you simple concentrated / summed up what I tried to explain in many posts, again, many thanks!

I also was laughing about your statements on standards - it perfectly shows to influence of politics (as usual in Europe - Renault disagrees and we have to find a new compromise)

Just to emphasize your position: first, I strongly believe that "business fleets" are a key market, but also issue/concern: in Germany, unfortunately, the portfolio of business cars is (rather) restricted to Germany manufacturers (guess why?) - so it's obvious why BMW can "sell" that many BMWi3s, but it seems to be hard for Tesla to enter that market segment (in my opinion) - there is a saying (I don't have the exact figures, that 20-30% of Mercedes S and BMW7 are business cars!)

Realo.de | 17. Juli 2014

concerning competition in Germany:

well, I already stated that I do not see BMW or Audi as the main competitors, but:

Both, BMW and Audi are, in a certain sense "special cars". BMW is sportive (whatever that means) and Audi is the brand for 4WDs (meanwhile, all other manufacturers, however, also offer 4WD cars).

The important point is, that there is no "Audi-class".

On the other hand, VW has set a standard with the "Golf-class" (Golf-Klasse) - whenever a new car (worldwide) (in that category) comes out, it is compared with the Golf - and it's mostly/always only second.

So, I believe is that Tesla should "set the standard". Without any doubt, Model S defines a standard, there currently is no other EV in this category, and every new car will be compared to MS.

M3 has to define some USPs. It may be in the category of BMW3 or Audi4 - but it cannot be a "follower" - it has to be "the Audi in EVs" (or the like)

Red Sage ca us | 17. Juli 2014

German_Tesla_Fan: Very good points!

negarholger | 17. Juli 2014

German_Tesla_Fan - I am German living in the Bay Area...

My brother never bought a car for himself, always had a company car. He had free choice what brand etc and could pick anything up to an E320. Because of the job requirement he always picked a wagon or minivan.

For the companies that have preference for German cars...
$35k ICE with gasoline & oil change cost versus a $35k Model 3 with mostly free electricity... how long will it take for the accountant to say : it's a Tesla but you have the color choice. That is exactly when the German car makers have to follow - last chance.
Install chargers at work and street parking at home is no problem. Use the car on weekends a SC is on your way...

About 25% of the engineers here at Tesla are Germans ( I meet the wives and girlfriends at the service and showrooms ) and so the German market is no secret to Tesla. And Elon understands the German market is key - not for the Model S, but the Model 3.

negarholger | 17. Juli 2014

Red_Sage...

Model S = Panamera
Model X = Cayenne
Model 3 = A4

Best fit...

Porsche and Audi are VW cash cows - so that will hurt... I bought TSLA because of Model X, but very surprisingly Model S sold into a much better and wider market then Panamera.

negarholger | 17. Juli 2014

Golf class - VW doesn't make serious money with it.

Model S to Model 3 takes 10x volume
Model S to Model Golf-class takes 100x volume... will take a longtime to make any dent.

Go after the high margin products first... hurts more - and pain convinces.

Red Sage ca us | 17. Juli 2014

Kleist: Agreed. AUDI A4 will burn in the same fires as Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS, and BMW 3-Series.