A $3.3 billion dollar investment from Audi says yes.
Tesla has faced a lot of criticism since it’s inception in 2003. It started as a small automaker that’s main car was an EV based off of the Lotus Elise. Despite everyone chipping in unsolicited advice as if they knew how to run an automaker, not many people were able to imagine what Tesla would eventually morph into. Not even Audi’s director of battery technology Stefan Neimand, who told attendees of German technical conference VDA, “I hate to admit it but Tesla did everything right.”
Apparently, he wasn’t referencing Tesla’s cars themselves but the supercharger network that was constructed to help ease the transition from gasoline stations to electric charging stations. The statement wasn’t so much of a compliment but more of Audi’s way of telling Tesla, “nice one, now watch what we can do.” Given that Audi is working with other German manufacturers to build a new version of supercharging stations, (which ironically will not include Tesla, despite Audi mentioning how important it is to make the technology compatible for all EVs) this could be an indication that the brand will use the heavy investment in electric vehicle technology to open e-Tron charging stations.
Neimand also told the audience that an electric car would need to be priced similarly to gas cars, be fun to drive, and have a range comparable to internal combustion-powered cars to be successful. With this, he seems to be alluding to the fact that Audi predicts 25% of its car sales will come from electric vehicles by 2020. When new technology goes mainstream, there is usually a gold rush between existing companies trying to adopt new technology and older established brands who see the need to adapt quickly. This is exactly what is happening between Tesla and Audi. With all of this fiery talk from the Germans, expect the automotive landscape to change drastically in the next 10-15 years.