The Silicon Valley based electric-car manufacturer, Tesla Motors, made major waves in the automotive industry with its 2006 release of a fully electric sports car - the Tesla Roadster. Then in 2012, Tesla released its fully electric 4-door sedan, the Model S, again to the chagrin of industry veterans, as they watched from the sidelines while Tesla's notoriety and marketplace presence grew.
Tesla created two fully-electric cars, capable of sports-car-like speed and precision, with a battery system capable of traveling over 200 miles per charge (250 for the Model S). Fearing losing valuable market share of electric vehicles, American car manufacturing competitors have taken to lobbying Congress and supporting bills to undermine Tesla's strong hold on the industry's EV development.
European automakers on the other hand, have taken a more direct approach to combating Tesla's overwhelming popularity - making their own fully-electric vehicles. Porsche, Mercedes Benz, and Audi are all reported to be working on new models to compete with Tesla, shooting for a similar battery range minimum of 240 miles per charge.
Porsche plans to release an EV model around 2018, based on the framework of its highly successful 4-door Panamera Sedan, banking on its brand recognition as a major competing factor.
Mercedes Benz on the other hand is taking a slightly different approach, as their battery technology doesn't fit into any of their current offerings, forcing them to design an entirely new car to equip with electric parts. Mercedes' biggest advantage on the EV playing field comes with their, now defunct, partnership with Tesla, who in previous years has provided the German automaker with electric powertrain designs and components. Though even with the help of Tesla's design schemes, industry experts don?t expect to see an EV Benz competitor before 2021.
As opposed to battling the Tesla Model S head on like Mercedes Benz and Porsche, Audi is looking ahead to the future, designing a fully-electric SUV to compete with the soon-to-be-launched Tesla Model X SUV, leaving its German counterparts to combat the Model S's popularity alone. Audi is also currently developing a driverless car, of which a prototype recently lapped the famed Hockenheim circuit in 2 minutes flat, relying solely on GPS technology and 3D cameras linked to an onboard computer - a nearly identical time to what a professional racing driver would accomplish in a similar, albeit piloted, vehicle.
Only time will tell if any of these European automakers will be able to successfully compete with Tesla's current and future EV designs, though with such a solid head-start, Tesla is poised to dominate the electric vehicle market for at least a few more years.
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