Speaking at the recent annual Technical Congress of the German Association of the Automotive Industry outside of Stuttgart, the director of battery electric vehicles at Audi, Stefan Niemand, laid down the gauntlet, so to speak, stating that German auto-manufacturers were falling far behind the competition with regard to electric vehicles.
“These cars are slower than those with conventional drive and they have a much lower range — and in compensation they are more expensive,” is how Niemand put it. Without a change in approach, electric vehicles (EVs) won’t make any real inroads into the marketplace, he commented.
Niemand also noted something along the lines of: “Those who had ever driven electrically are lost for the internal combustion engine (ICE) for all times.” Which is something that I’ve heard from a great many people — once you’ve owned a well-made EV the thought of going back to an ICE vehicle is not enticing.
The Audi exec also, surprisingly, complemented Tesla, stating: “I hate to admit it, but Tesla did everything right,” when talking about the company’s impressive Supercharger network.
Teslarati provides more on that:
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.
…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 concluded. The provision of these two things would allow EV adoption to surge, according to Niemand.
Of course, achieving that aim while still maintaining current levels of profit is easier said than done. Especially when a company like Tesla is providing such strong competition, and such fresh ideas.