In the hyper-competitive auto industry, it’s not uncommon to see industry executives take swipes at rivals. And Tesla, on account of it being a relative newcomer to the game, not to mention the fact that it’s dead set on shaking up the industry at large, often seems to be the target of subtle and not so subtle verbal jabs.
That said, it’s somewhat refreshing to hear an auto executive actually give Tesla some props. Recently, Stefan Niemand, the man responsible for Audi’s entire EV strategy, relayed a few sweet words about Tesla while speaking at the Technical Congress of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).
“I hate to admit it,” Niemand said, “but Tesla did everything right.”
Specifically, Niemand was referencing Tesla’s supercharger network and praising how they were able to get their charging infrastructure up and running as fast as they did. Today, Tesla boasts 3,600 individual Superchargers spread out across 611 Supercharger stations. As a quick point of interest, here’s what Tesla’s Supercharger network currently looks like in North America.
Interestingly, Niemand also took some time to criticize the state of the EV industry, save of course for Tesla.
The probably most committed plea for electromobility came from Stefan Niemand, Director Battery Electric Vehicles at Audi. He criticized the electromobility strategy currently prevailing across wide parts of the industry.
“These cars are slower than those with conventional drive and they have a much lower range – and in compensation they are more expensive,” he said.
If the EV industry doesn’t address these shortcomings, Niemand intimated, electric cars won’t be able to make the leap into the mainstream. Niemand also added that prospective car buyers are more than happy to pay a premium for an electric vehicle, but not if doing so comes at the expense of range, comfort and the overall driving experience.
“Those who have ever driven electrically are lost for the internal combustion engine for all time,” Niemand said.