Tesla takes on Europe: Awards, acquisitions, and expansion plans

In Europe, Auto Express reported yesterday on the coveted Golden Steering Wheel awards which are, "put together by Auto Express’ sister publication, Auto Bild. The contest has been running since 1978, and each year readers from all our [Auto Express] sister titles across Europe get a chance to decide what they think are [the] hottest and best new models on sale... the finalists from each category find themselves in the hands of a panel of expert judges from the UK, Germany and France. After rigorous evaluation, the overall winners are announced." The big news: Tesla Model X won the best SUV.

Above: Tesla Model X (Instagram: Tesla Motors)

How could an American car win this prestigious European award? Auto Express writes, "The electric SUV rewrites the rulebook in every way, with a futuristic cabin, clever ‘Falcon Wing’ doors and, most importantly, the astonishing electric powertrain capable of powering it from 0-62mph in a mere 3.2 seconds in P100D form. Despite this, it still manages to seat six and tow up to 2.3 tonnes."

Above: Tesla Model X (Instagram: Tesla Motors)

In other European news, The Telegraph* also reported yesterday that, "Tesla made its first major acquisition, buying German engineering business Grohmann as it prepares to automate its production... the acquisition of Grohmann - a specialist in automation - will allow Tesla to speed up its car production, helping it hit its 2018 target of 500,000 vehicles rolling off the production line." Tesla CEO Elon Musk said, "We want to change the world with a lot of electric cars for a lot of people. That is what buying Grohmann is about."

Above: Some details on Grohmann Engineering (Source: InsideEVs)

Musk explained, "This is about building the machine that builds the machine, which is more important than the [cars] themselves as volume increases [and] the only way to make a large factory work is to have significant automation. We will still have a large headcount but lots of automation and robotics. Automation is the way to make cars more affordable and accessible to as many people as possible. Economies of scale are the way to take the cost [down] to something that people can afford to buy."

Above: Tesla Model 3 at Tesla company party at Avaya stadium (Source: Teslarati)

But, the German acquisition is just the beginning for Tesla in Europe. Musk also hinted something might be coming in Britain: "We have a lot of respect for the British automotive engineering talent, just look at Formula 1 - it amazes me how much British talent there is in that... We are likely to establish a Tesla engineering group in Britain at some point in the future."

Above: Tesla Model S (Instagram: solly_choi)

Musk also talked about his larger European expansion plans as he explained: "Tesla is going to make some very significant investments in Europe - and the US of course, There is no question of at least one, maybe two or three gigafactory locations in Europe in the future... Currently Europe is a market for Tesla but we think the right thing to do is to start producing cars there as soon as we can reasonably do [it]." Look out Europe... Tesla is coming.


*Source: The Telegraph