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Tesla takes a swipe at BMW & Audi

Sun, 08 Dec 2013 00:00:00 -0800

Tesla’s design boss, Franz von Holzhausen, says the BMW i3 is an IKEA car

We’ve long been of the opinion that electric cars, certainly with the current levels of battery technology, can never be a replacement for an ICE car. But we do have soft spot for what Tesla are doing. That’s because Tesla has tackled the issues of electric cars in  the cleverest way possible by building a car (the Model S) that looks like a normal luxury car – rather than making it look odd or quirky just to ram home its difference – and made it travel a sensible distance on a single charge.

We’ve long baulked at the notion that cars with alternative methods of propulsion should stand out as quirky-looking; much better – as we said when we reviewed the Toyota Prius back in 2010 – to offer alternative powerplants in a car makers normal range. Toyota are now doing that (not that we’re claiming any credit) as a result of which their hybrid sales have soared.

Tesla, on the other hand, bent over backwards to make the Model S look just like a normal luxury car from the start – and absorbed much of the heavy cost of the batteries by offering a ‘luxury’ car rather than adding an EV powerplant to a mainstream car – and have created a car that holds real appeal, even for electric car sceptics.

Tesla is also tackling recharging for their EVs by building a network of superchargers in their car markets that offer a 50 per cent charge in 20 minutes – and for free – to take away range anxiety. All clever marketing stuff.

Now, perhaps because it might make a dent in the perception of Tesla as ‘Kings of the EV’, Franz von Holzhausen, Tesla’s Chief Designer, has declared the new BMW i3 – BMW’s first foray in to the electric car market – as an ‘IKEA Car’. And he has a point.

Just as Toyota did with the Prius, BMW has made the i3 look a bit odd; much better, says von Holzhausen, to make the i3 look like a proper BMW and have the EV bit as the real USP. And we couldn’t agree more.

And when asked about Tesla’s next saloon car – a BMW 3 Series competitor - von Holzhausen makes it clear that it won’t look like a scaled-down Model S as he doesn’t want Tesla to have a range of cars that all look like different sizes of the same car. Like Audi.

Franz von Holzhausen talks a lot of sense.

Source: Auto Bild

 


By Cars UK