Update: Tesla Model S Sales Strong in Germany


Tesla Model S Autobahn Approved

Tesla Model S Autobahn Approved

Despite reports to the contrary, sales of the Tesla Model S are as strong as you’d expect in Germany.

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Smart Fortwo Electric Drive

Even International Business Times (the source article linked below) fails to realize that in reporting Model S sales in Germany, it got it way wrong.

First, let’s start with this quote that International Business Times attributes to Germany’s Manager magazine:

“The American electric car maker Tesla’s global expansion in Germany is making comparatively slow progress.”

Slow progress?  Really…

In September, the Tesla Model S (42 units) was outsold by the Smart Fortwo Electric Drive (146), Renault Zoe (57) and even the Nissan LEAF (55) in Germany.

Okay…what’s the problem?

The Smart Fortwo ED is Germany best-selling electric vehicle and has been seemingly forever now.  It will only be surpassed by the BMW i3 when its available there.  Germans love buying German.  It’s what they do.

Gotta Love the Autobahn

Gotta Love the Autobahn

As for the Zoe and LEAF, those two vehicles cost roughly 1/3 the price of the Model S.  Wouldn’t you expect the significantly cheaper vehicle to sell in higher volumes?

If we toss August into the mix, then Model S sales in Germany total 98 units.  This figure will rise more quickly now that Tesla is moving additional Model S sedans into Europe and even Tesla says its focus has not been on Germany, but that’ll change soon.

Word is that Tesla’s Supercharger rollout in Germany is underway now with at least 6 (135 kW) sites scheduled to come online soon and that Tesla will offer a special high-speed “Autobahn” tune, free of charge, for Model S sedans sold in the region.

UPDATE: Here’s Tesla’s official press release on its grand German plan:

Tesla Motors Announces Major Developments for Germany


BERLIN, October 23, 2013


Significant investments in Superchargers, service centres and Autobahn performance


Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA), visited Munich and Berlin this week to announce three major developments for Model S customers in Germany as Tesla increases European deliveries throughout the fourth quarter and ramps up further in 2014.


“Tesla is going to make a significant investment in Germany,” said Musk. “This is a country that appreciates automotive engineering, which makes it extremely important to us. To have the Model S be well received as it enters the German market is a key step for Tesla.”


The first major investment is the accelerated deployment of Superchargers in Germany. Within the next month, ground will be broken in locations to energize the corridors between Munich and Stuttgart, Munich and Zurich, Switzerland, and Cologne and Frankfurt. The network in Germany will quickly expand to include routes between Frankfurt and Stuttgart and Stuttgart and Zurich. By the end of March 2014, more than 50 percent of Germany will be covered by Tesla’s Supercharger network, with 100 percent of the country covered by the middle of the year. In fact, by the end of 2014, Germany will have more Superchargers per capita than any other country. In addition, all Supercharger stations installed in Germany will be power upgraded to 135 kW to facilitate even faster free charging for long distance travel.


Second is that Tesla will rapidly expand the number of service centres in Germany to ensure superior vehicle service and customer support to Model S owners. Five more service centres are planned to open in Germany by the end of this year, and 80 percent of Germans will live within 100 km of a Tesla service centre by the end of 2014. This proximity and convenience will facilitate exceptional responsiveness to Tesla customers throughout Germany.


Model S was built to be the best car in any country in the world, and in Germany this requires the highest caliber performance on the Autobahn. So Tesla’s third announcement is that there will be free optional high speed tuning for Model S in Germany to optimize it for driving on the Autobahn. This custom tuning will be available to all customers in Germany, including retrofitting Model S that have already been delivered and are on the road.

Sources: International Business Times, Tesla Motors Club

Category: SalesTesla

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31 responses to "Update: Tesla Model S Sales Strong in Germany"
  1. Robert says:

    According to a source on TFF – the german speaking Tesla forum, 14 Model S were registered in September in Austria. At the last delivery event 6 were handed over in an underground garage in the centre of Vienna. Apparently there have already been some pretty thorough test drives down the austrian Autobahn between two major cities in Austria, Vienna and Salzburg.

  2. muchski says:

    Whoa 135 kW Supercharges? That’s a huge jump from 90 kW ones first rolled out and even the 120 kW they are upgrading too! That’s awesome! So if you could do 200 miles in 20 mins you could now charge the same 200 miles in 17 mins 45 secs or do an extra 25 miles in the same 20 mins.

    At this rate I don’t think a 20 minute full charge is far off or the purported 10 min 200 mile charge I think they are eventually targeting by tuning hardware even further!

    SO cool!

    Hope the Gen 3 gets at least 200 mile range to make use of same awesome supercharger network! Maybe by that time they will perfect the 10 minute 200 mile supercharge too!!!
    This is huge compared to Chademo’s 50-60 miles in 30 mins!

    1. kdawg says:

      I believe its 200 miles in 30 min. on the 120kW chargers.

    2. Anthony says:

      ABG is reporting that 135kW is only another step in the increase in supercharger power increases. I estimate that the highest power the superchargers will get to is 200kW or so due to cable diameter and customer satisfaction. The difficulty is that the batteries can only charge at these super-high rates when they’re nearly empty. So you might start out at 135kW, then as you get to 80% full, the charging rate decreases dramatically.

      An admirable goal for Tesla would be 80% full in 30 minutes, and 100% in another 30. The website currently shows 40 minutes for 80%, which is fine. To get to the 30 minute figure you need about 135kW of power fed in at a constant rate, which would be 67.5kWh, or about 79% of 85kWh battery capacity.

      To get to 80% in 20 minutes, that would require about 200kW. Doable but I think thats likely their final supercharging power level. The next step would be to make the battery larger, so that the 80% figure would be enough juice for the 200 mile intervals between superchargers at highways speeds, so a 110kWh battery (+30% capacity increase).

      1. io says:

        On a Model S, 200kW would imply 450 to 500A. Tesla’s current connectors would melt way before that. Actually, given their geometry, it’s already quite admirable that they manage half that (but never for very long)…

        1. Priusmaniac says:

          One thing is sure, the voltage has to increase to increase the power. It needs to go much higher. Additionally for fast charge, the charge port should be replaced by an under the front of the car charge plug to avoid manual operations completely. An automated system would make the connection.

          1. Brian says:

            At that point, why not just swap the battery? We know the Model S can do so in 90 seconds flat…

    3. pjwood says:

      135kw is about the average output expected from one of these:


  3. MDEV says:

    What a shame Mercedes S class and BMW 7 series sold less vehicles than Hyundai Elantra and Toyota Corolla for the last 2 years. It is time for Mercedes and BMW to move to a different business.

    International Business Times

  4. Kimmi says:

    It would be surprising if Tesla got to Germany and started to sell like crazy, i’m sure Tesla has other priorities (Nordic countries, Benelux, Switzerland…) now, focusing on Germany, France or the UK in a second wave, maybe early next year.

    1. scottf200 says:

      Germany is the priority … watch this!
      Video: Elon Musk’s speach at Tesla event in Munich (10/21/2013) *HQ*

      1. David Stone says:

        It would have been nice if this event had been a priority and publisized beforehand;
        I currently live in Munich and could have been there personally.

        No hate here, Jay and Eric, just a little disappointed.
        And sad… 🙁

        1. Eric Loveday says:

          We try David…However, we must admit that we’re more in tune with the going ons in the US than in Germany. If someone gives us a lead we’ll try to let you know if Tesla is in Germany ahead of time on the next occasion.

  5. Anon says:

    WTF is an “autobahn tune” ?

    1. Brian says:

      They make it go faster than 130 mph, I hope, and handle better at higher speeds.

  6. Falcon says:

    The absurdity of suggesting slow progress in demand goes beyond what this article even points out.

    There are longer recordings from Musk’s presentation in Germany on Youtube. In those he goes on to say that next year he sees Tesla delivering 200 cars/week in Germany. That’s vastly beyond the 60 or 80 per month this article describes.

    The problem is one of getting supply up and running in Germany, not demand. This was underscored at the event as the crowd groaned about the length of the waiting list for their cars. Deliveries this past August and September have about as much to do with demand as a car’s resting at a stop light has to do with it’s 0-60 once the light turns green.

    1. David Stone says:

      Well, part of it is demand.

      Sure, germans like buying german, but no one throws it around like a mission statement I have heard from quite a few americans: buy american, buy american!!
      And both are eclipsed by the south koreans, where driving a foreign car can get you in to trouble.
      So it is less a nationalistic reason.

      In europe, with long term high gas prices, our cars are less wasteful because people want to save money, not because they are more environmentally consious. Therefore savings are not enough of a motivation as one might think just considering high fuel costs.

      Cars here are way more expensive than in the us, so evs look even more expensive. If I were to starve, I could almost afford a model S in the us. There is no way I could afford it in germany.

      In norway, ices are heavily taxed, so although evs are more expensive than elsewhere, they cost less than what else is available.
      It does not meant that everyone would buy one. At those car prices, car ownership is low.
      What it means is the few who can afford a car will not be faced with a price premium if they go ev.

      1. Suprise Cat says:

        BMW and Mercedes are very popular in South Korea, for rich people, of cause.

      2. Falcon says:

        David, there is no evidence of a demand problem. Tesla has a waiting list in Germany. No one knows if it’s 2,000 or 5,000, but it is more than 150 cars… therefore delivering 150 cars for August and September reflects supply constraints and says nothing about demand. That was the point of my post.

  7. Falcon says:

    here’s a link to that video. recording at the event of Musk’s presentation starts about 12 minutes into the video.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      we are going to add that into the story…thanks Falcon

  8. mrdoubleb says:

    Tesla absolutley nailed its European strategy. They focused on the Nordic countries first – full of affluent, green minded buyers and big tax benefits for EVs. They built the first service centers and Superchargers there too.They can’t make/ship enough to that region now…

    Now they will focus on Germany and judging by the raving reviews by the big German car magazines and their plan for the country I think they will take it by storm.

    Elon said in the event linked above, that by the end of next year they will have 40-50 Superchargers (about 200km apart on the highways) in Germany. These will be the new 135Kw kind and he said that’s not even the last step in the upgrade. Also, he committed to opening dozens of service centers within the next year, he said thet every German will live within 100km of a Tesla service center by the end of 2014.

  9. Josh says:

    There was appearently more info from Musk at the event also. Here are some of the items mentioned in the comments on the Endgaget article that picked it up:

    1. Superchargers being upgraded to 135kwh
    2. Gen III proto-type in 12-18 month (2015Q1)
    3. Panasonic upping battery production to support 1200-1500 cars a week
    4. Samsung and LG are now secondary suppliers of batteries
    5. Tesla is updating the Model S in Germany for Autobahn
    6. Tesla is giving way free HPC to hotels in germany(not sure if it applies to US too)
    7. Tesla added electric folding mirrors feature to tech package
    8. Tesla is adding new navigation update that calculates range based on terrain and windspeed and also plots the most efficient route. (~Dec 2013)
    9. Changing the browser to Chrome (end 2014)
    10. Opening the software for app development (end 2014)

    They do not seem to be letting their foot off the “go pedal” when it comes to improving the car, platform, and infrastructure. It is fun to watch.

    1. adamEv says:

      Thanks for including so much interesting detail in your post. By the way – Do you have any idea where to find a full recording of Elon’s speach ?

      1. Eric Loveday says:

        Video added: Musk begins talking around the 16-minute mark

    2. PJS says:

      “They do not seem to be letting their foot off the “go pedal” when it comes to improving the car…”

      Shouldn’t that be the “prissy” pedal???

  10. MDEV says:

    Speeds in Germany 150 mph average. Very nice of course no trucks to the left and old cars in the freeways

    1. Suprise Cat says:

      LOOOOOOOOOOOOL. Average real speed is way below 100 km/h, because there are many Autobahn parts with speed limits and during rush hours, you are stucked everywhere.

  11. Jay Cole says:

    Sidenote: I’ve always felt that the story goes under the title…as opposed to in the title.

    Eric wins the prize for longest title ever at InsideEVs!

  12. Bill Howland says:

    So to ANON’s point, are they just using the same old gear box and just pushing the motor faster and hoping the motor and pinion gears won’t eat their little hearts out at 160 mph?

    Or would they do the sensible thing and make the motor run fewer rotations/mile?