Elon Musk had a number of interesting things to say this week in a speech at a Tesla service center in Germany. He got the crowd fired up right off the bat, saying “We’re going to make a big investment in Germany – in fact, right now, Germany is our top focus in the world.”
Some seem to think that the Germans need a pep talk. The International Business Times reported that a mere 98 Model S have been sold in Germany in its first two months on the market, a far cry from the 801 sold in Norway, where it was the top selling car of any kind in September. However, Musk expects to see at least 200 sales per week in Germany once the delivery pipeline gets up to full speed, and noted that Germany was the second biggest market in the world for the Roadster.
Musk announced that Tesla will offer special tuning for its German customers, improving the car’s handling at Autobahn speeds. “For buyers of the Model S, we’ll offer a free, optional high-speed tuning. If you’re someone who likes to ride at the top speed on the Autobahn then we will tune the car. We’ll do a custom tune of the car to make it feel really great at top speed. Yes, Musk went for a spin on one of the country’s famous speed-limit-free highways, and “it was a lot of fun.”
Naturally, such high-velocity fun can cut into an EV’s range, and that’s where the German Supercharger network comes in. Six Supercharger stations are already under construction, and 40 to 50 are scheduled to be installed by the end of 2014. Tesla says that the entire country will be within 200 kilometers (124 miles) of a Supercharger. Power will be increased from 120 kW to 135 kW, delivering an even faster fill-up.
The most colorful bit of Elon’s speech concerned hydrogen fuel cells, which he compared to the excrement of a male bovine (around 29 minutes in to the video). Of course, the superiority of batteries as an automotive energy storage medium is something that Eberhard and Tarpenning figured out back in 2003, before they founded Tesla, and Musk has explained the subject in great technical detail several times.
The much-anticipated mass-market Model E is presently “just sketches,” and will appear as a prototype “probably about a year from now…12 to 18 months.” Its price will be half that of Model S, and it will have a range of “at least 300 km, and with options to go higher.”
Elon Musk is not in this for the money. He had quite a bit to say about the environmental pressures that make electrification a must. He also noted that every Model S buyer is helping to finance the third-generation vehicle – the company pays no dividends, and Musk’s salary is $1 per year. Yes, he does own a valuable trove of stock, but he said, “I promise I will be the last one to sell shares. The captain should go down with the ship…wait a second…the captain should be the last one to comfortably exit the ship.”