Category Archives: Europe

D-Day in Europe coming in February

D-Day!D-Day in WWII was a success, albeit a bloody one, due to sheer volume. At least that’s the narrative. “The Axis powers ran out of bullets before the Allies ran out of bodies.”

That’s baloney. The invasion of Normandy might have failed if it weren’t for three years of quiet, behind-the-scenes smarts. Did you know the Allies had deployed a massive decoy army of 1,100 men? This “ghost army” planted hundreds of inflatable rubber tanks to confuse Axis air spotters. It carried on scripted conversations about phony invasion plans, knowing the bad guys would hear it all. It recorded sounds of bridges being built and artillery being loaded, all phony, and blasted that soundtrack using cutting-edge “boomboxes” into a 15-mile radius. The ghost army went to European coffee shops and talked loose about phony strategies — the 1940s equivalent of social media trolling. Historians figure the ghost army saved tens of thousands of lives by diverting some of Hitler’s army to phony hotpoints.

The other under-appreciated part of D-Day was the spontaneous, on-the-fly thinking. At first, the Allies were getting mowed down as soon as they hit the sand — if they could even get to the sand. Thousands drowned. The Allies were discovering too late that the preceding air attacks had missed the enemy fortifications on the hills. The cloud cover had thrown the pilots off by just three seconds, so the bombs went too far inland and blew up some cows.

Seeing the carnage on the beach, Allied destroyers defied orders by steering directly into the melee, risking running aground, and firing point-blank into the dug-in enemy artillery “pillboxes” on the cliffs. See ya. This unscripted move let the ground troops establish a beachhead and move inland.

Tesla’s takeover of Europe in February will also be seen as a crude Model 3 volume invasion, but we’ll never know the years of headaches in the war room that made this vehicle possible. And we’ll know only about the assembly “tent” as a symbol of on-the-fly bravado. Doubtless there’s an entire book’s worth of brain-warping agony that has culminated in Tesla’s imminent move into enemy territory with this Panzer-killer.

H-Hour, whenever it comes, will be a historic moment for the red, white and blue. And it won’t involve a whole lot of enemy fire. Actually, none.

Mike Myers AMG

“Tesla’s market cap is bigger than Daimler’s? That schweinhund Musk!”

 

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Spain enters intra-Europe “come hither” war

Last month, TeslaMondo said Europe was about to go to war, over the prospect of landing a Tesla plant. Well, now Spain has entered the theater of war, launching a website and a bombastic video called “Spain Loves Tesla.” The soundtrack has big drums and bells and stuff, like any good war movie.

This follows France’s entry last month and Belgium’s effort a couple years ago. Who’s next? Come on, Germany. You know you’re locked and loaded. Plus, you’ve got Rammstein for the soundtrack. On the other hand, Slovenia could uncork Laibach on yo’ ass.

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British survey of 50k people . . .

Screen Shot 2016-04-20 at 7.33.30 AM.png

The Jeep Grand Cherokee made the list? That might be bigger news than Tesla in pole position.

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Europe on the verge of war

Welkom TeslaYou probably forgot that in late 2014, a Belgian town set up a campaign called “Welkom Tesla” in a desperate attempt to revive a Ford plant. Well, now France is trying to court Tesla to build on a moribund nuclear site that borders Germany.

TeslaMondo’s seismograph detects a brewing battle between European nations to site a Tesla plant. Remember the desperate measures taken by American governors to land the Gigafactory? Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry started cruising around California in a Model S to win favor. That kind of thing. We may witness a repeat writ large in Europe, with nation battling nation. TeslaMondo predicts we’re less than a year aSegolene Royal TeslaMondoway from exactly that.

French Energy Minister Segolene Royal thinks she has drawn first blood with this nuclear plant fixer-upper idea. “Who dares, wins,” she’s telling the press. Well then, madame, Belgium wins. Or maybe Slovakia.

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Euro automakers lack Tesla’s balls

Stefan Lodeweyckx TeslaMondo

Stefan Lodeweyckx

That’s the opinion of several European business leaders, speaking at a sustainable energy conference in Belgium. Euro business culture frowns upon failure and therefore clings to the status quo, leaving real innovation for a US-based guy like Don Quixote Musk, who has already said that in hindsight, he thought Tesla would probably fail, but forged ahead anyway because someone had to do it.

Despite all the headlines about European “Tesla-killers” from VW, Daimler, BMW etc., none exist. Why? “I’m sorry for my language but you need some big balls and a lot of guts.” So said Stefan Lodeweyckx, CEO of Enervalis. Others at the conference echoed that thought.

Europe isn’t alone, of course. Tesla caught all automakers, from all continents, in a coma. Its product line and business model are so far afield from the rest of the auto world that nobody quite knows what to do, yet everyone knows inaction will only allow a historic invasion by this merciless gang of Silicon Valley engineers — now with a world-renowned Canadian battery scientist riding shotgun, and soon with financial support from its red-hot energy storage unit.

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Ford plant in Belgium cries “Welkom Tesla”

Welkom Tesla TeslaMondo

Now that Ford has pulled the plug on its plant in Genk, Belgium — the latest in a series of blows to the region — the locals are trying to ring the red phone in Elon’s office and pitch the Genk plant as a European retrofit opportunity, akin to what Tesla did with the old Toyota/GM plant in Fremont, CA.

Tesla already has two plants in Tilburg, Netherlands — one operating and one under construction — but they’re just “final assembly” plants, not “build from scratch” like in Fremont.

Tesla foresees Europe buying as many Teslas as the US, and it plans to expand to full production in Europe at some point, likely when it sells 160k units per year. Slovakia and Tesla have been chatting about a full factory, and the Slovak Economy Ministry is thrilled to tell the press all about it. Well, now the Belgians have launched a new site called “Welkom Tesla,” aimed at convincing Tesla to take over the Belgian Ford plant and usher in the 21st Century. So far the site contains little except reader comments. Among the comments is this mayday letter sent to Elon some years ago. It sums up the thinking behind the initiative. This is filtered through Google Translate, so it might actually be about a new waffle recipe or something:

29-10-12

Dear Mr. Musk,

Being an engineer designs a car an enthusiast for years, I am Following the development of the Tesla products from the early beginning.

Last week, Ford Company Announced the closure of Their plant at Genk, Belgium, near the German border. The Genk plant used to be the crown jewel of Ford Europe with the production of the three European top range models: Mondeo, S-Max and Galaxy. The news constitutes a black day for the economy in the province of Limburg, only 50 miles from the European capital of Brussels. In Addition to the more than 4,300 jobs at Ford Genk resolves itself, more than 5,000 jobs are threatened at Ford Genk’s suppliers.

About Production in times of economic crisis and recession has hit the Genk plant hard in recent years. Ford Genk is Currently only working at 65% capacity (max. 350,000 cars / y). Although salary costs are 5% lower and productivity is higher than in Germany, Ford Decided to close down their best performing European plants, since only 4% of the production was for the internal, Belgian market. The closure will have a minor effect on the image of the company in Europe, since only Belgium is affectedness ..

The value of the Ford plant in Genk is accurate estimated at 40 million €. The Belgian and Flemish government will probably negociate to buy the the state-of-the-art production plant with excellent logistic facilities for one, symbolical euro, in order to develop the area with new, innovate technology. They used to do the same (successfully) with the former Renault plant in Vilvoorde 15 years ago.

The best thing That could happen to make forget the suffering traditional car market and to support the boosting innovative renewable energy sector in the heart of Europe is the presence of an Innovative and taking the lead company.

I think it’s Tesla-time now.

Thanks a lot for your attention. Maybe it’s worth it to take contact with our Prime Minister Kris Peeters. http://www.flanders.be/en/enterprise-and-investment 
Hope to hear from you soon in the European press.

Best regards, 
Lieven SmeyersBat phone TeslaMondo

This brewing competition between European countries echoes the Gigafactory competition we witnessed in the United States, except without any official solicitation from Tesla — which indicates Europe is desperately looking to Tesla as a new industrial superhero. This certainly bodes well for incentive packages, should Tesla decide to make a move.

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Amsterdam airport places bulk order

Tesla taxi fleet Amsterdam airport

Click the image to read the article. Oh, and here’s the first electric taxi in North America, apparently (?):

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Scouting for new European plant?

Tesla Tilburg plant TeslaMondo

Tesla’s Tilburg assembly plant

Tesla already assembles its European cars in Tilburg, Netherlands. But according to a Slovak website, the company is shopping locations for another European plant, and Slovakia is a candidate. Would this replace Tilburg? Add to Tilburg? Or is this a non-story entirely? Google Translate is junk, y’all.

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Gaining in Europe, but TOO big in Norway?

The Model S is outselling the far cheaper Nissan Leaf in northern Europe. That’s good. But it’s so popular in Norway — due in large part to government EV incentives — that some people are wishin’ they had Model S repellant spray. That’s bad. Electric cars get lots of perks in Norway: tax exemptions, free charging, and legal use of bus travel lanes. Well, the bus drivers don’t like that. Buses now have competing traffic from EV drivers. That makes bus riders tempted to forget about public transport and buy an EV for themselves, adding to the logjam. Norway’s original plan was to reassess its aggressive EV incentives in 2017 or when the EV population hits 50,000, but that 50k number will come in early 2015. Just how popular is the Model S in Norway? Here’s a video glimpse.

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“Most American” title wouldn’t hurt

ivesSpeculation abounds lately about whether Tesla will eventually top the Cars.com “American-Made” index. Speculation really should center around whether the average consumer knows of the index, but let’s assume he does. And let’s assume the Gigafactory secures the title for Tesla in a few years. Will it help the company?

China: Hell yes. American car ownership adds inches to your, um, you-know-what. Add another half-inch if you’re driving the MOST American car. Even Buick has more than geriatric cachet in China. Tesla and China will soon embrace in a sweaty love pretzel. TSLA longs get ready to rejoice.

Europe: Doubt it. Too much culture clash. The US and Europe can’t even agree on music, let alone cars. Europe drives diesel stick Benzes as taxis and raspy little shitboxes as commuter cars, while we roll like Boss Hogg. Those are the stereotypes anyway. But like all stereotypes, they’re based partially on truth. Look at the European Car of the Year awards. Usually it’s a model we can’t buy in the US and frankly, wouldn’t want. We booted Fiat*, Alfa, Peugeot, Merkur, Sterling, Triumph, MG, Renault and others for stinking up the US. And Europe perceives American cars as heavy, inefficient, impractical and slushy to drive. Even the Model S falls into some of those categories for some European regions, though it utterly shatters others. In short, American pedigree is no real advantage in Europe. Tesla’s European bid will pass or fail based on engineering merit and overall acceptance of electric motoring.

US: Maybe. Remember, we almost put the Detroit 3 out of business while we were turning Japanese. We don’t blindly love our country. We love America, but we hate ‘Merica. You know when Tesla may really get somewhere with the American-made angle? When it enters the full-size truck market. That’s the most patriotic segment on earth. Nobody can pry the keys to a big truck from Uncle Sam’s fingers. The Det 3 truck advertisements make you want to salute horsies, hay bales, Bob Seger and stubble. Can you imagine Musk knocking the F-150 on its ass in performance, reliability, practicality, ruggedness, green cred AND American-made cred? Yikes!

* Yes, it’s back for more punishment.

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