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article imageTesla set to electrify Europe

By Joe Duarte     Mar 4, 2014 in Technology
Geneva - It only makes sense that Tesla has decided to be aggressive in its expansion into Europe (and then Asia) since the continent is so much farther ahead of North America in terms of the vehicle electricity-supply grid.
Tesla is sort of caught in middle ground when it comes to its viability — in order to make money from selling its high-end vehicles, it needs to sell in North America, but the continent is slower than the rest of the world, on average, in adopting the electrification infrastructure required to make Tesla models desirable to the select few who can afford them.
On the subject of the latter, Europe is far ahead of the United States in opening up expansion of charging networks, allowing electric vehicle owners to soon travel just about anywhere on the continent without the anxiety of potentially being stranded powerless.
Kicking off its European expansion plans, Tesla showed off its new Model X crossover-utility vehicle at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show and announced European production for the Tesla S sedan leading up to the model’s deliveries, which start in July 2014.
“This year will be one of tremendous growth and expansion throughout Europe in some of Tesla’s most important markets, including Germany, Switzerland, Norway and the Netherlands,” said Elon Musk, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO, at a press conference prior to the opening of the Geneva show. “The European market is very well suited to the design intent behind our vehicles. Our focus is to combine design, engineering and performance with a forward-looking influence towards clean energy and sustainability.”
The California-based company is planning to open new retail stores in Brussels, Frankfurt, London and Amsterdam, as well as new service centers in Geneva, Hamburg and Vienna, among 30 new locations in total. It is also planning a massive battery-making complex called Gigafactory, which by 2020 will produce more lithium-ion electric-vehicle batteries annually than all manufacturers produced worldwide in 2013. Tesla currently also supplies electric-vehicle components to Toyota and Daimler.
The seven passenger Model X is Tesla’s newest electric vehicle, offering the best traits of an SUV (command of the road seating and go-anywhere ability) and a minivan (ease of entry through rear doors that open upward in gullwing fashion). An optional second electric motor not only mimics all-wheel drive but also increases torque by 50 percent.
It joins the Tesla stable alongside the Model S, the sedan that opened up electric-car boundaries with its 500-km cruising range. A right-hand drive model is in the works, as Tesla plans for expansion into the U.K.
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