Category Archives: Europe

“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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Model S ubiquitous in Norway

Tesla now owns 10% of the entire auto market — electric or otherwise — in tiny,¬†electric-friendly Norway. Look at the bar graph on the right, showing March deliveries by manufacturer. This speaks volumes about winter performance even with rear wheel drive. An all-wheel-drive Model S, and the all-wheel-drive X, are still a year away. It also begs questions about the traffic fatality rate, assuming this trend continues. Teslas are refreshingly wrinkle-free in accidents. Storartet!

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Daimler and Bosch know what’s best for Tesla

Gigafactory advice for TeslaAs in the United States, Tesla’s superchargers in Europe won’t work with non-Teslas. That’s unwise, say companies late to the meeting. Daimler and Bosch advise some sort of collaboration that¬†befits all electric vehicles and spreads cost of the infrastructure. This is according to Automotive News, which neither sought a response from Tesla nor dug for any past comments from Tesla on the subject of compatability. I had to use the comments section to answer (unofficially, of course) for Tesla by posting Musk’s comments from last year in Autoblog Green:

Musk said he’s not against working with other automakers to make their EVs compatible. The batteries need to be built with Supercharging in mind, he said, and Tesla needed to “solve the problem of long-distance travel and we can’t wait for others to agree with our strategy. If we wait for some sort of consensus, it’s going to take too long. We just need to get going and other manufacturers can either copy us or join us.”

In other words, anyone can get a piggyback from Uncle Elon for the right price.

Daimler and Toyota are early Tesla investors. In fact, Musk credits a timely contract with Daimler for saving his company. Daimler still has a 4.3 percent stake in Telsa and uses Tesla batteries its B-Class subcompact. Toyota partnered with Tesla on the RAV EV, sold and serviced only in California.

However, it seems the overlap in thinking between Tesla and its “partners” is thin indeed. Toyota says it sees no market in fully-electric vehicles and is pursuing fuel cell instead, while Musk says fuel cells are bullshit. And now Daimler obviously feels like part of a One Child Left Behind program in Europe. Strange bedfellows.

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