Tesla At Least 4–5 Years Ahead Of Competition — According To German Auto Industry Expert

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In a recent review of the Tesla Model 3 by German newspaper Die Welt, auto industry expert Prof. Ferdinand Dudenhöffer is quoted as saying that Tesla has a huge lead over the competition. “The technical lead is easily four to five years. Range and driving pleasure are unmatched.”

Dudenhöffer’s comments are quoted as part of a review of the Model 3 Performance by Die Welt’s experienced auto journalist, and former EV skeptic, Nando Sommerfeldt. The veteran reviewer’s previous doubts about EVs were completely blown away by his experience in the Tesla. The review article is titled “This Tesla destroys all my prejudices against the electric car” (translated).

Combatting the myth that an EV powertrain cannot match the driving experience of traditional vehicles, Sommerfeldt has an unambiguous response:

“Nonsense. The Model 3 drives terrific. … The Model 3 feels like a sports car, like an extremely fast sports car.” (Translated from German Original)

[Editor’s note: It’s not only EV skeptics who have been surprised by the Model 3. My first review of the Model 3 was titled, “Sorry, Elon — Tesla Model 3 Much Better Than I Expected.” My review of the Model 3 Performance was titled, “Tesla Model 3 Performance Is A Freakin’ Race Car — Unbeatable.” But to get the same response from old-school, skeptical auto reviews is exciting.]

The Tesla Supercharger network made a very positive impression on the former EV skeptic. After taking a road trip with his family on board, he shared his experience of Tesla Supercharging:

“After my family and I bought ice cream and coffee instead of fuel at the petrol station shop, almost 30 minutes passed. 30 minutes in which the Model 3 actually gained 300 kilometers [186 miles] of range. … The Tesla stations are widespread, well distributed and fast loading. That is the secret. I drove 2000 kilometers by car. The Superchargers have taken away my range anxiety.” (Translated from German Original)

Professor Dudenhöffer is quoted as agreeing with Sommerfeldt that the Supercharger network is a large part of what sets the Tesla ownership experience apart:

“Right from the beginning, the company had a clear plan of where its customers’ traffic flows. … The Tesla owner can also refuel at all the other chargers in this country. But first of all, it would probably be too slow for him. And second, he does not need them.” (Translated from German Original)

With the new Supercharger V3 technology now beginning to roll out to key highway locations, that 300 km (186 miles) regained in 30 minutes that Sommerfeldt experienced on a V2 Supercharger will soon improve even further — to around 20 minutes. We saw last week that the Tesla Model 3 can already regain around 180 miles (289 km) in 20 minutes on 3rd party high power CCS chargers. This is over 61% more range in that time, compared to the closest competition, the Audi e-tron. And the high-power CCS network (150 kW and above) is still nowhere near as developed as the Supercharger network.

Will Tesla’s 4 to 5 year lead remain over the longer term? If ability to attract talent counts for anything, the lead may widen even further. We recently saw that Tesla is one of the most attractive employers for engineering graduates, as well as students of most other disciplines, with other automakers hardly even on the radar.

Do you agree with Sommerfeldt and Dudenhöffer? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Dr. Maximilian Holland

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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