EV market boost as Tesla begins production and Italy invests in charging

03 July 2017

03 July 2017

The electric vehicle (EV) revolution is gathering pace, with the market set to get a boost in July 2017 as the Tesla Model 3 starts production. 

The manufacturer’s CEO Elon Musk announced on social media platform Twitter that the company’s first mass-market vehicle, with the serial number SN1, had passed all regulatory requirements two weeks ahead of schedule, meaning the company can see its first production models roll off the lines by the end of the week commencing 3 July 2017, with the first 30 vehicles being handed over in a special ceremony scheduled for 28 July 2017. 

Musk stated that production is expected to grow ′exceptionally’ with 100 models being built during August, and 1,500 during September. He also added he expected production to reach 20,000 units during December 2017. 

The Model 3 is intended to be Tesla’s entry into the mass-market. It is billed as a mid-sized family car costing from $35,000 (€30,800), less than half the cost of its premium Model S. The company is hoping the Model 3 will offer simpler production than the Model X, a hybrid SUV which was delivered 18 months late to those who pre-ordered.  

Speaking at Tesla’s Shareholder meeting in June 2017, Musk explained: ′We’ve kept the initial configurations of the Model 3 very simple. A big mistake we made with the X, which is primarily my responsibility ″” there was way too much complexity right at the beginning. That was very foolish.’ 

The company has already committed to increasing the number of its dealerships and service centres by 30% in 2017 in anticipation of the popularity of the Model 3, which will place pressure on the company. In 2015 it produced just 84,000 vehicles, while production of the Model 3 is set to grow beyond this. The company has already rushed its production facilities into operation, bypassing the tooling prototype stage to ensure it could meet its strict deadlines.  

The announcement over Twitter continues a trend by the company to promote its brand through social media rather than traditional advertising means. The company has seen its brand gain recognition through word-of-mouth and media coverage, allowing it to keep its marketing budget low.  

The start of production will be another boost for the EV market, which is welcoming more and more manufacturers into the market. The CEO of Enel SpA Francesco Starace has stated that he believes the pace of adoption for electric cars over the next few years ′could be surprising.’ 

The oil company is planning to invest in EV technology at its filling stations around Italy, with almost €300 million put aside to install 12,000 charging stations. The country currently has around 6,000 EVs on the roads, with 900 public charging points and 1,800 domestic. The investment is a sign of Enel’s belief that the market is set for rapid expansion. This is a view shared by a number of countries, with Transport for London (TfL) planning to increase the number of rapid charging points in the UK city. 

Starace comments: ′I firmly believe that car manufacturers who ignore the pace of adoption of electric cars will do it at their own risk. Electric cars are a good idea for an electric company. This [investment] is something that can kick-start the diffusion of electric cars because it will remove one of the major problems for a potential buyer, which is, ′can I charge my car?” 

The CEO also believes electric vehicles could help stabilise the grid and provide a small revenue stream to users when they’re recharging. Enel plans to introduce so-called ′vehicle to grid’ technology in Italy, which was first implemented in Denmark in August 2016. The technology turns electric cars into large mobile batteries that are able to interact with the power grid. While charging, cars can promote renewable energy generation and balance out power flows on the grid.


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