Daimler questions Tesla’s dedicated charging network in Germany

Article by Christian A., on March 26, 2014

Daimler AG has joined Robert Bosch in questioning a decision by Tesla Motors Inc.'s to build a network of so-called "supercharger" stations in Germany that only serve to the EV maker's products. "The future [of an electric charging infrastructure] lies in standardization,” Thomas Weber, Daimler's r&d chief, told Automobilwoche.

“As with gas stations, we need a charging system for all manufacturers, not least because it reduces the cost of the infrastructure, but it is also more convenient for customers.” In January, Tesla and Deutsche Bahn opened four charging stations between Munich in the south and Cologne in the northeast, allowing Tesla drivers to fast charge their batteries in just 30 minutes.

The stations are part of network of 14 Tesla charging points situated across Europe. According to Tesla, while its Model S EV could travel up to 500km on a single charge, its appeal with customers has been hurt by the limited charging infrastructure in Europe. Bosch chief executive Volkmar Denner has told Automobilewoche that it wouldn't make economic sense if every car manufacturer built its own charging system, noting that "the technology exists for a Europe-wide charging network; we just need to want to implement it."

Daimler and BMW have focused on offering small EVs targeted towards city commuters instead of vehicles that could go on longer journeys. Daimler, which holds 4.3-percent stake in Tesla, builds the Smart ForTwo EV and the Mercedes-Benz B-class EV, which both use electric motors and batteries provided by Tesla.

A spokeswoman for Tesla said in January that the EV maker plans to expand its charging network in Germany this year to enable drivers to reach destinations in half of the country. Germany is itself targeting to have 1 million electric cars plying on its roads by 2020, although some in the industry quip more should be done to attract buyers to zero-emission vehicles like providing a cash incentive similar to those offered in the United Kingdom and France.

Tesla’s latest offering, the Model S, has managed to change how the world views a car of the 21st century. This is not just the first sedan in the world to be powered fully with electricity, the way it managed to combine efficiency, safety, and performance shows that it is also an evolution when it comes to automotive engineering. Indeed, the Model S has everything customers can expect.

It offers the longest range compared to any other electric vehicle and it comes with the highest of safety ratings possible. Further, by offering software updates over-the-air, it is made better continuously.

The Model S has a pair of motors, one positioned in the front and the other in the rear. In addition, the vehicle is able to independently and digitally control the amount of torque transmitted to the front wheels, as well as the rear ones. Because of this, unmatched traction is guaranteed no matter the condition. Further, the Electric All Wheel Drive of the Model S is unlike any other.

In standard all-wheel drive vehicles, traction is typically increased at the expense of fuel efficiency. However, for the Model S, not only is the traction improved but fuel efficiency is made better. Utilizing the brand’s very own platform, it made it possible to put the battery on the floor. This resulted in the Model S having a remarkably lower center of gravity, improving the performance and handling while lowering the possibility of a rollover from happening.

Another interesting feature is that because there is no engine, it meant that compared to other performance sedans, the crumple zone is larger. This is a feature that is tasked with absorbing any energy created in the event of a front-end impact.

The unique placement of the electric drivetrain under the car is what makes the Model S one of the safest cars there is. As mentioned, this configuration allows the vehicle to have a low center of gravity and this minimizes any risk related to a rollover. It is not surprising then to know that this model has been given a 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA and even the Euro NCAP.

Model S also underwent testing in the U.S. and set the record for having the lowest likelihood of occupants experiencing injury. This ensures that the Model S continues to be the safest car driven with various active safety features fitted as standard.

These include collision warning, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot detection. The Model S also comes with convenience features, though mostly optional, that include summon, autosteer, traffic-aware cruise control, and autopark.

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Topics: daimler, tesla

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