In addition to pushing the construction of its Supercharger network in the United States at full tilt, Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) has also been hard at work laying out its proprietary charging infrastructure in Europe as the continent continues to warm up to Tesla’s popular Model S sedan.
This past week, Tesla officially opened new Supercharger locations that will connect the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, allowing Tesla customers to travel on the famed German Autobahn to destinations in the Alps and, uh, “elsewhere.” Free of charge for Tesla owners, of course.
September 2012 saw the first six Supercharger stations constructed in California; less than two years later, Tesla boasts a network of 81 Supercharger setups worldwide, 14 of which are in Europe. “More than 11 million kilometers (6.835 million miles) have been charged by Tesla Superchargers and nearly 1.13 million liters (about 298,500 gallons) of gas have been offset,” the company said in a press release.
The rapid growth of Tesla’s network in Europe — across Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Switzerland — “represents a new milestone in the expansion of the European network,” the company said. By the end of March, Tesla asserts that 50 percent of the German population will live within 320 kilometers (about 200 miles) of a Supercharger and that 100 percent of the population will be covered by the end of the year.
Tesla’s expansion of its European Supercharger buildout is likely due to a couple of factors. First, it’s to give European shoppers less of a reason to not choose their Model S sedan, which, while popular in parts of Scandinavia, has been a slower seller in Germany. This is due to a convergence of different factors, but at the very least it’s because in Germany especially, Tesla has some pretty serious competition.
But while Europe’s sales are still quite slow in comparison to the United States — and understandably so, as Tesla is based in California– the rollout of the Superchargers is also likely a preparatory maneuver to ready Tesla’s markets for the arrival of the Gen-III vehicle, which Tesla is pinning its mainstream market hopes to. While the Model S runs around $70,000 at base, the entry-level model is expected to command about half that.