Electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors Inc. expanded its reach into the European and U.S. markets this week as it continues its quest to make battery-powered cars more alluring and easier for drivers to own.
The California carmaker, led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, said it opened three of its fast-charging stations along German highways on Thursday to facilitate travel to Switzerland and Austria, Bloomberg News reported. Tesla currently has 23 “supercharger” stations across Europe, but it plans to have at least five times that number installed there by the end of next year.
“This shows how important the European market is for Tesla,” the company said in a statement.
Tesla said it plans to open more than 30 new service centers and stores in Europe as interest in its luxury Model S sedan continues to grow there. Earlier this month, the company delivered its first right-hand-drive model to customers in the United Kingdom.
The electric vehicle leader forecasts that global deliveries will jump more than 55 percent this year, Bloomberg noted.
In the United States, Tesla opened a gallery in Dallas to generate buzz around its gas-free technology, although the company technically can’t sell its cars in the state. Texas, like various other states, forbids automakers from selling directly to their customers; the law is meant to protect dealership owners.
“We can’t give test drives. We can’t discuss price. We can’t take orders,” Alexis Georgeson, a Tesla spokeswoman, told a local NBC affiliate. Texas car buyers can purchase a Model S online, however. The Dallas showroom, one of more than 60 stores and galleries across the country, is meant to increase demand and awareness of Tesla vehicles despite the restrictions.
Tesla made news last week when Musk, its chief executive, announced he had released all of Tesla’s patents to the public to spur more competition in the electric vehicle market. The company also said it's aiming to slash the Model S’ price tag in half, to $35,000, within the next three years, in large part by reducing the cost of the advanced batteries that power the car. The company plans to build a $5 billion “gigafactory” to produce lower-cost lithium-ion cells to achieve that goal.
More than 30,000 Teslas and nearly 100 supercharger stations are spread out across the United States, a relatively miniscule but growing portion of the overall auto sector.