The world has become much more transparent during the recent decade. In the old days, you could turn a ‘decent’ product into a commercial success through clever marketing. Nowadays it’s impossible to claim product benefits that are not totally true, or even not entirely true. And it’s hardly any use to boast superiority, when there is a doubtful relation to what you can actually deliver — it’s called vapour ware. Customers are not impressed by advertised claims, because all too often they have been disappointed by the actual capabilities of touted products and services. Hence, the effectiveness of traditional push strategies is diminishing rapidly.
Previously, one-way media were dominant; predominantly adds, brochures and catalogs. Now it’s all about two-way media; the internet, social media, bots. And limiting yourself to just transmitting messages doesn’t really take advantage of the media that customers use actively. Two-way media implies engaging in a dialogue.
Technology empowers customers to research, investigate, verify, and compare offerings and hence to make better decisions. Consequently, customers go through a significant part of the buying cycle before they contact potential sellers and service providers.
Although we are all aware of the efficiency and effectiveness of surveying and pre-selecting relevant suppliers, we tend to fall back on conventional selling strategies in our approach to generating new business. That is, we predominantly use push strategies — because “customer engagement activities”, like number of prospects generated, number of leads contacted, and number of calls/meetings is what sales staff is measured on. However, the difference between push and pull ist significant and decisive, and it shows in the way how consumers are perceived and approached.
Push perceives potential customers as passive but responsive agents who will look, listen and react to messages that are directed at them. The message is being force-feed to them. Push is to subject prospects to your products and services via whatever means available. Push can be stereotyped as using advertising to bombard customers with an endless stream of claims messages, until they buy the product. Whereupon the customer will receive additional cross-sell offerings in a similar manner. In online media the old methods are dominant as well, e.g. traditional advertising options, such as popups, and intrusive commercials being displayed before you can view a YouTube clip or read a blog post.
Many companies use ‘Customer Relationship Management’ (CRM) systems as a means of nudging or pushing customers in an unsolicited fashion. Messages are tailored to individual profiles as much as possible, but they are still unsolicited. As long as the marginal revenues are sufficient, the company is satisfied with low response rates, high waste, and a small number of customers that opt out upon each blast. Such activities are not useful for engaging in a dialog and developing a relationship. Push is by definition intrusive. Because the target audience is confronted with unsolicited commercial expressions, they tend to be much less receptive and mostly un-engaged.
Pull is in every aspect the opposite of push. Pull is all about “the customer being in control”. Pull regards customers as active agents who will actively communicate their needs. Today’s customers are avid researchers. They traverse the internet for information, look at reviews, and seek insights from peers and references. In pull markets, buyers collaborate on competitor research. The customer is not looking for specific product benefits. He has a need or a pain-point, for which he is searching a solution. Therefore, simply transmitting product features and benefits as perceived by the seller may not be very useful to the buyer. What is useful is listening to needs, and talking about ways to fulfill these needs. The real and specific needs of customers shape the dynamics of the market. Not the seller, but the customer decides when and how he or she would like to be served.
Pull regards customer engagement as customer-driven and includes letting customers decide if and when they want to talk to you. Making it easy for customers to find you, to contact you, and to reach you for answers – and listening and being responsive – is key to your success. Pull strategies implicitly result in a higher level of engagement, because the customers are seeking out the companies they would like to work with themselves. As a result, the probability of offline and online word-of-mouth referrals is much higher — because customers will tell others when they are happy.
I love driving, and since 1970 I have had personal experiences with many different car brands and models. The term “old school petrolhead” fits me quite well, because traditional sports cars fascinate me, and I love to drive sports cars on roads and tracks or to drift in closed-off driving areas. Nevertheless, I am enthusiastic and convinced about electric vehicles (EVs), because one is the thrill of dedicated “horse and rider” interaction, the other is relaxed, comfortable, and sustainable mobility from A to B. This is the realization that has matured in me during several practical tests, and what became a conviction at a recent extensive test drive of the new Tesla Model Y. Here, I would like to explain why.
The EV Has Arrived
For many who have experienced a fully electric car for a while themselves, driving a conventional internal combustion vehicle (ICE) feels almost cumbersome, because an EV is much easier and more relaxed to drive. In short, you get in, select “D” for Drive or “R” for Reverse at the steering wheel, and then push the accelerator pedal. No starter, no clutch, no gearshift in the center console, no handbrake, the EV simply takes off smoothly and quietly. There is no engine noise, no smell, no smoke, no exhaust fumes, just a gentle whirring and the reassuring rolling sound of the wheels on the road.
Registration figures for EVs are rising year on year in Germany despite the relatively higher purchase price. According to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), battery electric vehicles (BEVs) achieved a 13.6 percent share of new registrations in the first seven months of 2022, an increase of 27.1 percent.
EVs That I Have Tested
Since March 2015, I have reported four times on Oberland.de about my experiences with EVs. First, the BMW i3, which was introduced in 2013 and caused quite a stir with its bold body design and futuristic-looking interior. That’s because the i3 was radically different for a BMW and at the same time technologically innovative with a body structure made of carbon and ecologically sustainable materials in the interior. It still drove like a BMW, i.e., agile, sporty, and sure-footed. But registration figures in Germany remained below 3,000 units in each of the first four years. Was the i3 too early, too radical, too expensive, or was it the initially relatively low range of a battery charge of 200 to 270 kilometers (source: ADAC) compared to a combustion engine? Most of the approximately 250,000 BMW i3s produced were sold outside of Germany, and it wasn’t until 2019-2021, before production ceased in June 2022, that the i3 gained much popularity in Germany. 2021 became its most successful sales year to date, with more than 12,000 new registrations in Germany. In the meantime, it has almost achieved cult status.
But it was to be a U.S. developer of all-electric vehicles, completely unknown until around 2010, that would successfully blaze the trail as the pioneer of electric mobility, with its EVs designed from the ground up: Tesla.
Tesla is now the world’s leading manufacturer of EVs, followed by Chinese manufacturer BYD. Initially hardly noticed or taken seriously, Tesla has passed conventional carmakers during the CO2 crisis and following “Dieselgate” with its sophisticated ecosystem of innovative vehicles and software, Supercharger charging infrastructure, wall boxes, power walls, and solar roofs. As of July 2022, Tesla has produced and sold nearly 2 million EVs worldwide.
The great race by traditional car manufacturers to catch up has long been in full swing, and there is now a wide range of both fully electric cars (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid cars (PHEVs). But for the most part, these still closely resemble conventional internal combustion vehicles with an electric motor instead of a gasoline or diesel engine under the hood. Or the few EVs that have been developed from scratch mostly still lack Tesla’s drive efficiency, software quality, and, not least, a comprehensive ecosystem for operating and maintaining the vehicles. Here, Tesla remains clearly ahead.
You can compare Tesla’s market and product development with that of Apple since the launch of the iPhone in 2007. The innovation of an existing product – the look, the hardware, the software, the operating concept, the ecosystem, the entire user experience – is completely different. For many, this takes some getting used to at first, and some stick with the Blackberry, Siemens, or Nokia phone. But the manufacturers that follow the example of the successful innovator, such as Samsung, Xiaomi, and Vivo, catch up and become equally successful on the market with their comparable devices at some point.
Tesla Roadster, 1st Generation
The original Tesla Roadster was marketed from 2008 to 2012 and was based on the British Lotus Elise roadster. It delighted sports car enthusiasts with its performance, handling, and range of up to 400 kilometers, and it was not least the unusually quick acceleration of the small sports car that surprised car fans and drew attention to the manufacturer Tesla. Around 2,500 of the Roadster were sold worldwide, costing around 100,000 US dollars during its production period. Anyone who wants to buy one of these rare Tesla cars today must put at least 200,000 euros on the table.
Tesla’s first mass-produced model, introduced in Germany in mid-2012, was the Model S, a large sedan in the order of magnitude of an Audi A8, BMW 7’er series, or Mercedes S-Class. During my Oberland.de test in 2015 with a Model S P85D, I was able to convince myself that it was possible to cover long distances comfortably and easily with this EV: I drove it from Munich to Copenhagen in one day, and back then I found enough charging options along the way at Tesla Superchargers. My conclusion after 3,800 kilometers with the Model S was: “Driving a Tesla Model S is like flying, only better. This electric car certainly passes for a luxurious touring sedan, because four adults can travel in it more than comfortably, and thanks to the two trunks – front and rear – and the large tailgate, it also offers significantly more space for luggage than a corresponding car with a bulky combustion engine and complex transmission.”
In 2016, the Tesla Model X appeared with its eye-catching rear “Falcon Wing Doors” as they are called. It is a premium all-wheel drive “crossover”, or as I called it at the time: “Spacious Grand Turismo”. That’s because the Model X has the space of a minivan and the comfort of a Grand Turismo touring sedan as it’s based on the same platform as the Model S but built higher. I was able to take a Model X P100D on a long-distance practical test in 2017, covering a good 2,500 kilometers. I subsequently concluded that “long-distance driving with the Model X offers a new quality of travel. You get used to a relaxed, fluid, anticipatory driving style because, with single-pedal driving and the associated use of the regenerative braking effect, you rarely accelerate hard and almost never hit the brakes. The result: less stress.”
In spring 2019, the long-awaited Tesla Model 3 mid-size sedan was delivered for the first time in Germany. It is a four-door, five-seat sedan the size of an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, or Mercedes C-Class that has been in production since 2017; but due to high demand worldwide (June 2018 more than 400,000 pre-orders), the first vehicles did not officially arrive in Europe until two years later. Meanwhile, more than 1 million Model 3 were built, and it became the best-selling EV in Europe in 2021. I drove the Model 3 in the Long Range version for a week in the summer of 2020 and concluded that the Model 3 is a fascinating and forward-looking premium electric car that guarantees a lot of driving pleasure. It is comfortable, fast, agile, and suitable for everyday use for all trips in local traffic, as well as for long distances and vacation trips.
Origin and Profile
Recently, I had the opportunity to drive one of the first Tesla Model Y Performance “Made in Germany” for ten days. It is the first Tesla model from the new Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg, where the Model Y Performance will be produced for German customers from the end of the first quarter of 2022. Model Ys delivered earlier in Germany are almost all built at the Gigafactory Shanghai, where a state-of-the-art production process is also used. The expectations for Tesla built in the car country Germany are even higher because the Gigafactory Berlin is Tesla’s fifth and so far most advanced and efficient plant ever.
A car body is traditionally assembled from many stamped metal parts by folding them and then gluing or welding them together. With a new, gigantic die-casting machine, Tesla has significantly reduced the number of metal parts that need to be assembled for a Model Y body at its Gigafactory Berlin. Currently, the rear underbody is made from a single casting; in the future, this will also be done with the front underbody. This simplified production technique enables even greater rigidity and production quality of the body.
Tesla describes the Model Y as a “mid-size SUV designed for maximum versatility and safety,” while sometimes it is referred to as a “crossover,” because the definitions are not clear. The car has a highly rigid, self-supporting body and ground clearance like a sporty passenger car – so it is not designed for off-road excursions. It’s based fundamentally on the Model 3 midsize sedan, with which the chassis, wheelbase, and powertrain are virtually identical, as are the seats, dashboard, touch display, and steering wheel. Still, the Model Y is noticeably larger: just under 6 centimeters longer, a good 7 centimeters wider, and, most importantly, 18 centimeters taller than the Model 3. So, it’s a roomy touring sedan with a pleasantly high seating position, plenty of legroom and headroom for rear-seat passengers, and plenty of space for luggage in the rear trunk with its large, automatic opening and closing tailgate. The panoramic glass roof also contributes to the feeling of spaciousness.
What is initially striking about a Tesla compared to EVs from traditional car manufacturers is the consistency in concept with which the car has been thought out and designed.
The body has round and smooth shapes without unnecessary openings, folds, or ornaments, and even the underbody is completely smooth and closed. As a result, the car achieves a very low drag coefficient (CW value) of 0.23. Under the front hood, you find a regular and neat 80-liter storage space instead of an engine bay full of cables, hoses, belts, fluid containers, and the like.
Like the Model 3, the Model Y doesn’t require a key; instead, you pair it once and for all with the Tesla app on your smartphone, then unlock or lock it automatically when you approach or move away from the car. The app offers numerous other functions for remote control, such as setting the air conditioning, retrieving the charging status, determining the location, summoning, or parking the vehicle, and much more.
All the controls inside the car can be accessed via a 15-inch touchscreen centered on the dashboard in landscape format, and everything is arranged intuitively and clearly. This eliminates almost all of the mechanical switches and knobs that you find in other cars spread across the dashboard and center console in varying arrangements, shapes, and sizes. In addition, the Tesla voice control works excellently.
As with all Tesla, the Model Y’s features and functions will be enhanced and improved over time, free of charge, through frequent over-the-air software updates.
The guiding principle for the car’s design seems to have been a statement by Leonardo da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate perfection.”
How Does the Model Y Drive?
The Model Y I drove was the top-of-the-line “Performance” version with all-wheel drive, 21-inch wheels with very wide sports tires, and an output of 534 hp. On paper, this promises a sporty driving experience, and indeed: Despite a vehicle height of 162.4 centimeters, the Model Y’s center of gravity is very low due to the batteries in the floor. In addition, the suspension is tuned sportily stiff, and the steering is quite direct. This results in very good road-holding and a high level of active driving safety. The downside is a slightly limited comfort on bumpy roads and cobblestones, which is acceptable, though, for a car with such a dynamic driving set-up.
“In terms of driving safety, it leaves nothing to be desired and drives stably through the obstacle course. The electric car is also convincing in terms of driving dynamics. The achievable speeds are high before it pushes over the front axle in a well-controlled manner at the limits. Even under load changes, the Tesla remains largely true to its cornering line.
The sensitive ESP control in combination with the lightning-fast power distribution ensures very safe cornering behavior, even and especially when the accelerator pedal is used extensively. Traction is impeccable due to the two driven axles and the very sensitive traction control despite the strong powertrain performance.“
The Model Y’s brakes are generously dimensioned and manage a short braking distance of under 35 meters from 100 kilometers per hour. That is a very good value.
In the “Vehicle” menu of the touchscreen, various response characteristics of the car can be set under the “Pedals & Steering” item. For example, acceleration can be set in two stages, “Casual” and “Sport”. Here, the “Casual” setting proved to be very easy for me to moderate on the accelerator pedal and by no means lagging or imprecise, but more in line with “cool”. Because powerful and vigorous acceleration is also available in this setting without delay. The “Sport” setting, on the other hand, requires gentle handling of the accelerator pedal because it spontaneously sets the enormous power of the 534 hp free and enables acceleration from zero to 100 kilometers per hour in just 3.7 seconds.
The steering feel can be adjusted in three stages depending on road conditions, speed, and personal preference: from “Comfort” (smooth) to “Normal” and “Sport” (firm, very precise). However, the steering feel is direct in all three settings, so you always have a good sense of control.
In addition, you can set the car’s behavior when stopping to a standstill, for example at a traffic light, intersection, or exit, in three different modes: “Roll” (like disengaged without braking), “Creep” (like a conventional automatic transmission in “D”) or “Hold” (like activated handbrake). I chose the “Hold” setting because it brakes the car every time it stops on any slope; the brake immediately releases imperceptibly when moving on.
Consumption and Range
My practical test of a total of almost 1,800 kilometers included a trip from a Supercharger 50 kilometers south of Munich to Berlin Potsdamer Platz (round trip 1,300 km), a trip from there via country roads to the Gigafactory in Berlin-Brandenburg (round trip 100 km), and various city and interurban trips of 30 to 80 kilometers each. This resulted in total consumption of 17.8 kWh per 100 kilometers. With an effectively usable battery capacity of a good 70 kWh, this results in a range of about 400 kilometers.
On the Autobahn trip to Berlin, I managed with one recharge at the Supercharger Münchberg on the A9 and still had a remaining capacity of 12 percent when I arrived in Berlin. On this trip, I generally drove at the speed limit and up to 130 kilometers per hour, occasionally somewhat faster up to 160 kilometers per hour. The outside temperature that day was over 30 degrees Celsius, and the air conditioning was set to 20 to 22 degrees Celsius for the entire trip.
On the way back, I drove the 170 kilometers from the previous Supercharger on the A9 at speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour (average speed of about 115 kilometers per hour) and consumed 23.1 kWh per 100 kilometers, which would have given me a range of about 300 kilometers.
Charging the Battery
Anyone who buys an EV ideally has the option of installing their own so-called wall box at home in their parking space or in the garage. That way, the car can simply be charged overnight at 11 kW up to the set charging limit, and you can then take off every morning with a fully charged vehicle. What’s more, the price of electricity at home is usually much lower than at public charging points, of which there were 52,203 in Germany at the beginning of 2022, according to the Federal Network Agency, of which 44,486 were normal charging points (charging power typically 22 kW) and 7,717 were fast chargers (charging power typically 50 to 240 kW).
With a total of around 1,900 fast-charging spots at 144 locations (as of October 2022), Germany has the largest Tesla Supercharger charging network in Europe, followed by France (1500+) and Norway (1400+). Fast charging sites typically have eight to 20 charging columns, each with a peak power of 150 kW (Supercharger Generation V2) or 250 kW (V3). The latter can charge the Model Y in 15 minutes with a range of 241 kilometers. In our practical test, we typically needed 25 to 35 minutes to reach the charging limit of 85 percent.
By the way (spoiler alert!): To shorten the perceived waiting time while charging, all Tesla models offer extensive entertainment on the 15-inch display. There are fun and entertaining programs like Boom Box, light shows, karaoke, Spotify, paint program, Netflix, Mars surface, Emissions sounds(!), and much more – you won’t get bored at the charging station.
If one is dependent on a car for private or business purposes and cannot get by with occasional car sharing or rental cars, then there are now many widely known reasons to acquire an EV. But there are also many individual and subjective reasons why one would want to stay with a conventional gasoline or diesel powered vehicle. These can be economic or practical reasons, but also simply out of conviction.
I have long since concluded from my own experience that EVs will dominate our roads – urban, rural, and highway – in a few years. Not because we are being forced to do so, but because we want it ourselves. Because an EV will be a more pleasant and simpler vehicle for the vast majority of our individual transport.
The selection of EVs is already very large today, and new brands and models are being introduced by the month. Which EV you choose will be as individual as it is today with an internal combustion vehicle. But one thing is certain from my experience:
In a Tesla (S-3-X-Y), you’ll always experience the new ‘coolness’ of driving.
Update 21. October 2022:
Tesla Model Y from the Gigafactory Berlin-Brandenburg are now offered in two new special colors. While production is ramping up steadily and has now surpassed 2,000 units per week, the first newly developed paint colors from the world’s most advanced paint shop are now available: Midnight Cherry Red, a highly saturated metallic color with dramatic depth that changes with the light, and Quicksilver, a dynamic color with a liquid metallic effect.
In Giga Berlin’s highly automated spray cabin, up to 13 layers of paint are applied in the painting process. Highly pigmented metallic paint materials produce a special gloss effect here that emphasizes the contours of the vehicle and makes the color “come alive” with the viewing angle.
The two new colors are available to order for both Model Y Performance and Model Y Long Range, and deliveries are expected to start in the second quarter of 2023.
In June 2015 I drove the Tesla Model S in a long-distance test from Munich to Copenhagen, once across Denmark and back for almost 3.800 kilometers, and in June 2017 I did a long-distance road test with the Tesla Model X to see how the Model X proves itself as a “Grand Tourismo”. Despite the fact that the Tesla Superchargers at that time were considerably sparser than today, the long-distance capability of the two top models was convincing even then.
The time is ripe for electromobility
The idea of a purely battery electric powered car is old, as Ferdinand Porsche already presented the Lohner Porsche with a purely electric drive at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900. However, the availability and storage possibilities of sufficient electrical energy were simply not available at the beginning of the 20th century. Instead, it became the century of oil production and combustion, and the inventions of the gasoline and diesel engines fundamentally changed the direction of development of drive technology for passenger cars.
A good 100 years later, things look quite different: Electricity is always and everywhere available, can be stored in high density and converted highly efficiently into kinetic energy in modern electric motors. In addition, more and more electricity is being generated from renewable sources such as sun, wind and water, and there are practically no limits to the future availability of environmentally friendly electricity.
The driver and the followers
The pioneer of the new electromobility is Tesla Motors, which was founded in 2003 in Silicon Valley by an electrical engineer and a computer scientist. Shortly afterwards, based on a prototype and the visionary drive of the Canadian-US American entrepreneur Elon Musk, it was built up to what it is today: the world’s leading manufacturer of electric cars. Initially hardly noticed or taken seriously, Tesla caught conventional car manufacturers cold in the very CO2 crisis and the diesel problem and pushed the paradigm shift to electromobility.
In the meantime, almost all manufacturers are following suit and intensifying the race to catch up with Tesla’s clear lead of currently certainly two to three years. As of April 2020, a total of over one million Tesla vehicles are on the road worldwide, of which more than 525,000 are Model 3’s. As a result, the Model 3 overtook the Nissan Leaf as the world’s best-selling e-car in mid-2019. Registration figures are also rising significantly in Germany. As of May 2020, almost 25,000 Tesla cars are registered in this country, more than half of which are Model 3s, which was introduced in Germany just a year ago. Reason enough to take a closer look at this model to find out why this purely electrically powered car is selling so successfully.
So, I went on tour with the Model 3, this time along the German Alpine Road from Bad Tölz to Berchtesgaden, up into the Bavarian Forest and back. I spent spent four days and a total of 1,000 kilometers on some of the most beautiful roads of Bavaria, but also on fast freeways such as the Autobahn A92 from Deggendorf to Munich and the A95 between Munich and Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The question was: How does this spectacular and technologically advanced car drive, and what about charging and range in everyday use?
If you are interested in the detailed travel report on the route, the sights, and the selected stopovers, you will find it on Oberland.de.
About the vehicle
The Tesla Model 3 is a four-door, five-seater sedan the size of an Audi A4, BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C Class. Four adults can be comfortably seated in it, a fifth person fits in the middle of the back for shorter distances, and because of the large, full-length panoramic glass roof (with UV protection), headroom is very good both front and back. In general, the space available and the stowage volume is unusually good, because a large number of components are omitted in an e-car compared to a conventional car with an internal combustion engine: in the rear, for example, the tank and in the front, voluminous units such as the combustion engine with clutch, gearbox and radiator. In addition, there is no central tunnel running lengthwise through the interior because no exhaust system with silencer and no cardan shaft are required. Instead, there is a trunk at both the front and rear and plenty of legroom for the middle space of the rear seat. The front individual seats are very comfortable, offer good support and are electrically adjustable in all directions, including the lumbar support.
The vehicle provided by Tesla Germany was the “Dual Motor Long Range” version. This version is equipped with an electric motor each on the front axle and the rear axle for four-wheel drive with a total output of 340 kW (462 hp) and a large 75kWh battery, for a maximum range of 560 kilometres according to the WLTP test procedure introduced in the EU in 2017.
Driving style and consumption are closely related
In practice, WLTP test values are hardly ever achieved. But with a relaxed and fluid driving style, between 375 kilometres and 425 kilometres were quite achievable in everyday use, which corresponds to a consumption of 17 to 20 kWh per 100 kilometres. The decisive factor for the range is above all a forward-looking driving style, in which the energy recovery (recuperation) of the electric motors instead of the foot brake is optimally used to reduce speed. Apart from parking (P) and neutral (N), there is only one forward gear (D) and a reverse gear (R). As soon as you select “D”, you can drive off; and in fact, it is very easy and pleasant to regulate the speed of the vehicle completely with the accelerator pedal, from starting to stopping. Recuperation is noticeably variable: depending on the modulation of the accelerator pedal, the car accelerates or brakes, and if you take your foot completely off the pedal, the braking is just right for a comfortable, smooth stop. When stopping, the car is automatically held, so that it does not roll forward or backward on an incline.
For low energy consumption, low wind resistance is crucial in addition to a forward-looking driving style and optimal use of recuperation. This is where the Model 3 with its sleek, smooth body performs extremely well. At 0.23, its drag coefficient (cw value) is well below that of comparable saloons and sports cars, whose cw value is typically above 0.30.
Ultimately, however, the decisive intelligence that ensures low consumption is in the driver’s seat.
Tesla operates 72 of its own fast charging stations, so-called Superchargers, along the motorway network in Germany with a total of 666 charging spots. Here, the Model 3 can charge an almost empty battery to a range of 270 kilometres in 15 minutes. If you want to fully recharge, it will take just under an hour. However, the optimum charge is about 80% of the battery capacity, and this is reached in 30 to 45 minutes with a nearly empty battery, depending on the specific performance of the Supercharger.
Further Tesla charging stations can be found at so-called Destination Chargers at hotels, restaurants, supermarkets and shopping centres, which are available to their customers. Destination Chargers are currently available at around 500 locations in Germany, typically offering two charging spots each. In Austria and Switzerland, the density of Tesla charging stations is significantly higher than in Germany, so you can travel there with your Tesla with peace of mind.
In addition, there are currently around 19,500 independent charging stations in Germany with almost 64,000 charging spots, where a Model 3 can also be charged using a standard TYPE 2 or CCS connection – around 4,000 more than a year ago. By way of comparison, there are currently 14,400 filling stations for petrol and diesel in Germany (as of April 2020).
However, a separate wall charging station (“wall box”) at home is the ideal solution: most private homes allow a maximum charging rate of 11 kW, which corresponds to a range of up to 65 kilometers per charging hour. This is more than sufficient for charging overnight. This means that you usually drive from home with a full battery and only need to charge on the road if you drive more than 400 kilometers per day or are on the road for more than a day.
What about autonomous driving?
Model 3 is equipped with comprehensive driver assistance systems, such as proximity cruise control, lane departure warning, lane change assistant, light assistant, emergency brake assistant, parking assistant and more. The hardware for fully autonomous driving (SAE level 5) is already installed in Model 3, so that the functionality can be upgraded in future via software updates over the air. This includes a radar sensor in the front bumper and eight cameras all around. At present, Level 3 of autonomous driving has been implemented, and anyone who likes to be driven by the car instead of driving themselves can look forward to future software upgrades. In any case, the currently active assistance systems will contribute to increased road safety.
Those who (still) prefer to drive themselves and have fun doing so can enjoy the excellent sporty driving characteristics and the amazing dynamics and performance of the Model 3. In a test review from November 2019, the ADAC rated the Model 3s electric drive system “outstanding”, and the test engineers certified the Model 3’s exceptional driving performance, running characteristics and power delivery. ADAC quote: “The handling of the Model 3 also meets the highest demands. The advantage of the all-wheel-drive version: depending on where more drive power is needed, the electric motors on the front or rear axle can react variably and at lightning speed. Both versions master the evasion test by slightly understeering, but sliding over the front axle in a well-controlled manner. The suspension is sporty and taut here and there. Small deficits in suspension comfort are gladly forgiven. The steering convinces with a harmonious feel, good precision and clear centering. Drive influences are not an issue despite the enormous torque. The Model 3 does not show any weakness when braking either. 34.1 or 34.4 metres of braking distance are sufficient to decelerate from 100 km/h to a standstill.”
I can absolutely agree with this assessment by the ADAC. The Model 3 accelerates from a standstill like an arrow launched from a spanned bow – continuing to well beyond speed limits. Handling is very precise and, with its wide track and wide sports tyres, its low centre of gravity and balanced weight distribution, fast cornering is both fun and safe. On a straight it is stable as a maglev train.
The operating concept
For many people, the “driver interface” of the Model 3 will initially take some getting used to, because there is no conventional instrument panel. Instead, virtually all displays and functions are provided by a single, centrally located, iPad-like 15-inch display. Even the glove compartment is opened via this touch display. There are just two levers on the steering column – one on the left for the indicators and wipers, one on the right for the gears (R, N, D and P) and the cruise control. On the steering wheel itself there is a spherical scroll wheel to the left and right of the horn. The left-hand scroll wheel is used for volume control and for adjusting the side mirrors. The right scroll wheel is used to set the desired speed of the cruise control or, when the vehicle is stationary, the height and angle of the steering wheel. The large display is very easy to use because the menus are logically structured and the symbols are intuitively understandable. Important and frequently used functions are easy to reach, only the variety of functions and settings seem overwhelming at first glance. Ultimately, the clear visual presentation of the functions on the display simplifies operation in comparison to the large number of scattered mechanical rotary, pushbutton and toggle switches that are usually found in modern cars.
However, a head-up display that projects the most important driving information, such as speed and remaining range, onto the windshield in the driver’s field of vision would be a desirable feature.
An interesting feature made possible by the cameras installed all around the car is the so-called Sentry Mode. When this is activated, the cameras and sensors monitor the vehicle’s surroundings while it is parked and locked. If a threat is detected, a warning or alarm is triggered depending on the type of threat, and the cameras record videos of the vehicle’s surroundings.
The Tesla Model 3 is a fascinating and trendsetting premium electric car that guarantees a lot of driving pleasure. As a four-door mid-size sedan, it is very comfortable, practical and absolutely suitable for everyday use for all journeys, short and long, including holiday trips and long-distance trips on the motorway. Often criticized shortcomings in the workmanship of the Model 3 could not be reproduced in the vehicle provided. The paintwork and the gap dimensions were flawless, nothing rattled, and the interior was also perfectly finished.
Dynamic pricing is a critical capability for competing in retail to drive revenue and margin growth, and
Dynamic pricing plays a crucial role in improving both consumer price perception and retailer profitability.
McKinsey&Co’s article describes five different methods of dynamic pricing each handled by separate modules working in parallel to generate price recommendations for every product in different product categories with different competitive attributes with respect to price sensitivity. The five modules each consist of rules and algorithms based on analytics and mathematical models, each constructed to handle five different cases:
KVI Module: this module addresses the Key Value Items, which are the top sellers and traffic generators, that consumers tend to remember. These are the most price sensitive products, or more generally speaking: cases or situations when the Price Elasticity of Demand >= 1. In the retail fuel market, this would equally apply to certain times of the day. This possibly relates to 80% of transactions generating only 20% af margin.
Long-Tail Module: with Long-Tail products McKinsey&Co’s article refers to products that are new or have no historical data. The key characteristic here is, that products typically have very low price sensitivity, since consumers have no comparison or no experience with them. Specifically in the case of retail fuel, the reason for low price sensitivity could also be the time of day, location, need, convenience, or the case where the customer isn’t paying for the fuel himself, because he drives a company car or has a fleet card.
Elasticity Module: this module actually addresses the core of dynamic pricing: price elasticity of demand and cross-price elasticity of demand. How does customer demand for a product respond to changes in its price over time and in relation to competitive products’ prices, as well as competitors’ pricing of the same product? This is the ultimate customer centric approach to pricing. The better knowledge you have of the price elasticities of demand, the better you can price to optimise profit and volume (market share) according to your goals. And if you can do this within minutes for each product at each location at any time, you have the perfect dynamic pricing solution.
Competitive-Response Module: this is a rule-based module that prices products as a rule-based response to competitors’ prices and price changes. It is the traditional pricing method of the price-follower who manually responds to what competitors do. This can obviously be improved with automated data collection and processing with decision-tree algorithms of various complexity.
Omnichannel Module: the purpose of this module is to coordinate prices between the retailer’s different channels, like online and offline, if applicable. In the case of fuel retailers this could serve as a differentiation between manned and unmanned stations, i.e. locations with convenience store and facilities versus locations with fuel pumps only and automated payment.
McKinsey&Co’s article illustrates with three case examples, how specific retailers have tailored dynamic-pricing methods to their particular business needs and objectives by carefully differentiating between products (SKUs) according to their demand attributes and applying the methods of one or more of the five modules described.
As McKinsey&Co point out, a best-in-class solution includes all five modules. However, developing such a world-class dynamic-pricing solution is no mundane task, but a rather complex project, that requires a task force of professional data scientists and IT specialists. And the team should preferably have a thorough understanding of the retailer’s industry, business context and objectives.
The reward that retail businesses can expect to capture from dynamic pricing is significant and sustained: McKinsey&Co states a typical impact of 5-10% in margin increase, and a volume growth of 2-5% – along with higher levels of customer satisfaction through improved price perception.
There is no doubt to me, that dynamic pricing offers a significant competitive advantage, and in view of a potentially shrinking retail fuel market indicated by future e-mobility and increasing market consolidation, dynamic pricing has become a necessary capability to grow or at least maintain profitability – especially for small and medium sized businesses.
Trumps udtalelser til den tyske avis BILD-Zeitung om at pålægge 35% afgift på tyske biler der produceres i Mexiko og importeres til USA er blevet modtaget med en blanding af irritation, nervøsitet og forundring.
Man har endnu ingen praktiske erfaringer med en så radikalt optrædende amerikansk præsident, der skyder den ene ufattelige udtalelse af efter den anden. Han får først overgivet magten den 20. januar, men han har allerede siden valget i november truet så mange med så meget, at ingen ved hvad man kan regne med.
Det er en meget usikker situation, når verdens måske mest magtfulde person kommer med så vilkårlige og kategorisk imperative udtalelser, som – hvis de holder stik – på kort sigt kan gøre budgetter til papiraffald og mellemlangt sigt vende op og ned på struktur- og konkurrenceforholdene i Tysklands nok tungeste og mest forgrenede produktions- og eksportsektor.
Hvis Trump som præsident rent faktisk inden for en kortere tidshorisont får magt til at gennemføre det han siger, så står de tyske bilkoncerners udviklings- og produktionsstrategier på spil, og det kommer til at koste dem dyrt i form af både afgifter og ikke mindst omdisponering af investeringer i bestående og fremtidige fabrikker. Hele produktionsplanlægningen vil kuldkastes, hvis Trump får mulighed for at føre truslerne ud i livet.
Det giver imidlertid meget lidt mening at indføre en importtold for biler produceret udenfor USA. Både BMW og Daimler producerer 10-20% flere biler i USA end de afsætter der, dvs. de netto eksporterer biler fra USA til andre lande. Faktisk eksporterer BMW 70% af de SUVs, som de producerer i USA til andre lande, herunder Tyskland. Desuden udgør arbejdslønnen kun en lille del af produktionsværdien. Færdige komponenter og moduler bliver importeret til USA, bl.a. fra Verdens tre største underleverandører – BOSCH, Continental og ZF – som også producerer i Mexiko. I sidste ende kan Trump komme til at starte en skrue uden ende af gensidige import afgifter og begrænsninger, hvis han omgår eller sletter NAFTA frihandelsaftalen.
En meningsmåling på nettet foretaget af det tyske fagblad “Automobil-Produktion” viser (status 21.01.17, kl. 14:15, 346 svar) følgende vurdering af, hvordan man bør reagere på Trumps udtalelse om at pålægge en 35% afgift på tyske biler der produceres i Mexiko og importeres til USA:
Fastholde den nuværende strategi og fortsætte med at udbygge produktionen globalt – herunder også i Mexiko: 46%
Forholde sig afventende og reagere flexibelt: 47%
Forberede sig på at flytte mere af produktionen til USA: 7%
BMW’s direktion udtalte kort efter Trumps trussel, at man fastholder planerne om at udbygge produktionen i Mexiko.
Schaeffler AG er som industrikoncern (Engineering Group) nummer syv på Tysklands top 10 liste over underleverandør til bilindustrien, og koncernen omsatte i 2015 for 13 mia. € med knap 85.000 medarbejdere.
Koncernen afholder til forår en konkurrence – eller ‘venture cup’ –, hvor man søger startups samt små og mellemstore virksomheder (SMV), som er interesserede i at få Schaeffler som partner, kunde eller investor. Det skal være virksomheder, som sidder inde med banebrydende teknologi know-how, opfindelser og innovationer med potentiale med hensyn til mobilitet i fremtiden.
Som en global automotive leverandør er Schaeffler især på udkig efter sensorteknologi, avancerede data analytiske løsninger og løsninger til autonome systemer. Konkret har man fokus på:
Intelligente, selvforsynende og robuste sensorer med høj målenøjagtighed til automotive og industri anvendelser.
Avanceret Data Analytics
Indlagrede systemer, som kan levere real-time data og analyser til cloud baserede infrastrukturer.
Software og Hardware
Machine Learning, Computer Vision, LiDAR, Radar eller lignende.
Interesserede virksomheder har mulighed for at præsentere deres viden, kunnen og teknologier på Schaefflers Venture Forum den 22.-23. maj i Herzogenaurach lidt nord for Nürnberg. Ansøgningsfristen for deltagelse er 19. marts 2017.
‘Max Planck Society for Advancement of Science’ er en af de førende tyske institutioner inden for grundforskningen. Det er en nonprofit organisation med hovedsæde i Berlin, som driver mere end 80 forskningsinstitutter og institutioner rund omkring i Tyskland. Et af disse institutter er Max-Planck-Institut for Intelligente Systemer, som har afdelinger i tilknytning til universiteterne Stuttgart og Tübingen, og netop disse tre institutioner er nu gået sammen om at oprette et omfattende klynge projekt kaldet “Cyber Valley” med offentlig støtte fra både delstaten Baden-Württemberg og en række store spillere fra erhvervslivet.
Det er blandt andre virksomhederne Bosch, Daimler, Porsche, BMW, ZF Friedrichshafen og Facebook som er partnere og sponsorer af Cyber Valley, der på bedste Silicon Valley maner skal bidrage til at udvikler resultater fra forskningen til praktiske industrielle anvendelser.
Formålet med klyngen er at lære af eksempler fra naturen til at forstå de underliggende kontrol- og styringsmekanismer omkring opfattelse, handling og læring, samt at bringe disse principper til anvendelse i intelligente, selvlærende systemer. Cyber Valley projektets fokus er således teknologier inden for kunstig intelligens og Machine Learning, d.v.s. selv-lærende computersystemer baseret på neurale netværk, som finder mønstre i store data mængder (Big Data).
Cyber Valley klyngen samler forskningsaktiviteter blandt internationale Key Players fra videnskab og industri i et af de største anvendelsesorienterede forskningssamarbejder i Europa inden for kunstig intelligens.
IBM investerer 200 mio. dollar i et nyt worldwide “Watson Internet of Things (IoT)” headquarter i München. Det er til dato en af de største investeringer IBM har foretaget i Europa.
Her vil man fremover dels udarbejde nye IoT-løsniger omkring Blockchain og sikkerheds-teknlogier, og dels i samarbejde med kunder finde på nye ideer og innovationer til at skabe nytte og økonomisk værdi af de enorme mængder af sensor data, som løbende genereres i for eksempel køretøjer og produktionsanlæg. Det drejer sig bl.a. også om at udvikle løsninger til at øge effektiviteten og produktiviteten i industrien gennem kombinationen af Big Data fra IoT og kunstig intelligens fra Watson.
IBM har allerede i dag ca. 6.000 internationale kunder, som udnytter Watson’s kognitive egenskaber og IoT data; det er 2.000 flere end i begyndelsen af året.
Det nye Watson IoT headquarter i München skal for første gang omfatte kollaborationsmuligheder i form af laboratorier, hvor kunder kan samarbejde med IBM’s forskere, ingeniører og designere omkring udviklingen af innovationer indenfor specielt brancherne automobil, elektronik, produktion, sundhed og forsikring. Her er det hensigten i fællesskab at udvikle koncepter, løsninger og forretningsmodeller.
Tyskland har fokus på den 4. industrielle revolution – “Industrie 4.0” – og er godt i gang med digitalisering af produktionssektoren, og metropolregionen omkring München er et absolut hot spot i den sammenhæng, hvor know how og teknologivirksomheder er koncentreret. Det er derfor naturligt, at IBM har valgt at placere et hovedkontor for IoT, Big Data og kunstig intelligens netop i München.
Tysklands økonomi er fortsat i opsving. De seneste otte kvartaler har ligget pænt i plus, og for 2016 som helhed ser det nu ud til et samlet plus på mellem 1,7 og 2%. Dermed er Tyskland fortsat den største drivkraft i EU.
Afsætningen på eksportmarkederne er dog ikke vokset helt så stærkt, hvilket især gør sig gældende for det kinesiske marked, men til gengæld er det indenlandske forbrug steget som følge af den høje beskæftigelse og deraf følgende lønstigninger. Forbrugerne har penge at give ud af, og det gør de så frem for at lægge dem i sparebøssen eller på kontoen, hvor man alligevel ingen renter får. Man ser det også på boligmarkedet, hvor priserne for både lejemål og køb er gået tydeligt opad.
Tysklands styrke ligger i landets store produktions- og eksportandel. Landet har fremdeles den højeste produktionsandel blandt de højtudviklede industrilande. Den ligger på over 25% af BNP, og de største sektorer er automobilindustrien, maskinindustrien, pharma-, kemi- og biotechsektoren samt informations- og kommunikations-teknologi (IKT).
Der hvor det generelt set halter en lille smule i øjeblikket er ved investeringerne. Trods et positivt økonomiske klima og virksomhedernes gode forventninger til den fremtidige afsætning, så kan der i øjeblikket spores en vis tilbageholdenhed med investeringer i lager og produktionskapacitet. Det er typisk udtryk for tysk forsigtighed og risiko aversion, men kan også skyldes usikkerhed med hensyn til, hvilke sektorer og eksportmarkeder kan forventes at trække, og hvornår.
Automobilindustrien er dog en undtagelse, for den er helt klart inde i en større teknologisk og strukturel forandring. Stadig strengere krav til emmissionsgrænseværdier og nye trends i forbrugerønsker med hensyn til mobilitet stiller hele sektoren over for ganske store udfordringer. Alle tre store tyske producenter – Volkswagen-gruppen, BMW og Daimler – har bekendtgjort eller er allerede igang med at omsætte planer vedrørende investeringer i elbiler, autopilot-løsninger, internet-konnektivitet, digitalisering af produktionsprocesser og carsharing-forretningsmodeller.
Volkswagens masterplan “Strategie 2025”, der blev præsenteret i juni i år, omfatter for eksempel investeringer på et 2-cifret milliardbeløb i opbygning af både nye forretningsområder og udvikling af elbiler. I løbet af de kommende ti år vil koncernen sende over 30 rene elbiler på markedet, og planen er, at omsætningen med elbiler da vil komme til at udgøre omkring 25%. Volkswagen hæger endog planer om at etablere en egen batterifabrik.
Daimler er ligeledes i gang med at ændre koncernens struktur og strategi for de kommende år, og også her investerer man milliarder i både elektromobilitet.
Hver af de ovenfor nævnte investeringsmål står i sig selv mere eller mindre for paradigmeskift for den tyske bilindustri, for man skal først til at opbygge eller tilkøbe de nødvendige kapaciteter og kompetencer inden for for eksempel elmotorer, batterimanagement, software og elektronik. Det kommer hen ad vejen til at medføre markante branche- og struktur-forskydninger. Investeringerne vil efterhånden brede sig langt ud i systemet af underleverandører, som allerede i dag står for 80% af værdiskabelsen i sektoren, samt videre til andre industrigrene, som leverer råvarerne.
Det vil utvivlsomt føre til, at de tendenser vi ser i automobilsektoren nu vil give den tyske økonomi en ekstra vækstimpuls, som vil have stærke eftervirkninger de næste 5-10 år.
Tyskland er en industrination par excellence med en produktions andel på mere end 25% af BNP. Det er dette forhold sammen med landets store eksportoverskud som i mange år har været og stadig er væsentligt for landets økonomiske styrke og robusthed overfor diverse kriser og konjunkturudsving. Den største industrigren er bilindustrien, der omfatter verdens største bilproducent Volkswagen og de førende premium mærker Audi, BMW, Mercedes og Porsche. Denne traditionelt dominerende branche er inden for det sidste års tid kommet under pres fra forskellige sider, netop på grund af dens størrelse og betydning for tysk økonomi. Den har nemlig haft mægtig indflydelse på politik, offentlige investeringer og lovgivning, som har tilgodeset branchens interesser og teknologiske kompetencer. Det har bl.a. betydet at man for længe har holdt fast i og optimeret på konventionelle forbrændingsmotorer, især dieselmotorer, mens man har nedprioriteret og forsømt at udvikle elbiler.
Nu er der imidlertid inden for relativ kort tid sket to ting, som har tvunget bilproducenterne til at ændre kurs på en måde der får stor indflydelse på hele branchen, der udgøres af ikke blot producenterne selv men hundredvis af store og små underleverandører, som står for 80% af værdiskabelsen i sektoren.
Først var det en lille virksomhed fra Silicon Valley, Tesla Motors, der bragte en luksus elbil på markedet og inden for et par år begyndte at true afsætningen af tyske luksusbiler på vigtige markeder som USA og Schweiz. Image- og prestigetabet ramte hårdt, og den ingeniørmæssige præstation – design, kvalitet og ydeevne – kunne ikke bortforklares.
Men det der for alvor har skabt uro og tvunget hele branchen til at ændre fokus og revidere investeringsplaner og produktudviklings strategier er Volkswagens “Dieselgate”. Netop ved åbningen af Tysklands internationale biludstilling, IAA, i Frankfurt i september 2015 sprang bomben: amerikanske miljømyndigheder offentliggjorde testresultater der viste, at Volkswagen modeller med dieselmotor ved normal kørsel udstødte langt mere NOx end tilladt, og at Volkswagen åbenbart havde snydt med et software trick i motorstyringen, således at disse biler alligevel overholdt lovkravene mens de blev testet i forbindelse med deres typegodkendelse. Volkswagen måtte indrømme snyderiet og at det desuden ikke kun berørte ca. 500.000 biler eksporteret til USA, men mere end 11 millioner biler solgt i hele verden. Dette udløste et jordskred af anklager mod Volkswagen fra både myndigheder og kunder, en bølge af afskedigelser af ansvarlige ledere helt op på direktions niveau, og en dyb selvransagelse med hensyn til hvor Volkswagen vil hen.
Afsløringen viste desuden at grænsen er nået for hvor økonomisk og miljøvenlig en dieselmotor kan gøres, og at selv marginale forbedringer kun kan opnåes med meget dyre og teknologisk komplekse løsninger til rensning af udstødningsgassen. Derfor har alle tyske bilproducenter i løbet af det sidste halve år bekendt sig til at investere i udviklingen af elbiler på bekostning af videreudviklingen af dieselmotorer.
Volkswagens CEO, Matthias Müller, talte om en “epokegørende forandring” da han den 16. juni præsenterede koncernens “Strategie 2025”. Inden 2025 vil ca. hver fjerde bil, som Volkswagen producerer, være batteridrevet; og med det mål overvejer Volkswagen at bygge en egen batterifabrik. I et interview med det tyske “Handelsblatt” udtalte Müller, at han har respekt for Tesla, men at han ikke er bange for deres succes og henviser til, at Volkswagen ofte er startet senere end andre og alligevel er blevet førende.
Også Daimler (Mercedes) har det seneste år kigget nøje på, hvad der foregår i Silicon Valley hos Tesla, Apple og Google, og koncernchef Dieter Zetsche og hans kronprins Ola Källenius er i fuld gang med at ændre koncernens struktur og strategi for de kommende år. Daimler investerer milliarder af Euro i elektromobilitet, og den første batteridrevne Mercedes forventes præsenteret på “Paris Motor Show” i slutningen af september i år. Det bliver SUV-modellen GLC, som vil blive et stærkt modspil til Teslas Model X. Yderligere seks ny batteridrevne Mercedes modeller skal introduceres i løbet af de næste tre år.
Det vil medføre store forandringer i hele branchen, for der er ingen af de tyske producenter som har spidskompetencer med hensyn til hverken elmotorer, batterimanagement, software eller elektronik; og der er ingen batteriproduktion af betydning i Tyskland. Det vil sige, at man langt hen ad vejen bliver afhængig af tilkøb af batterier, motorer, elektronik og knowhow fra såvel tyske underleverandører, herunder Bosch og Siemens, som udenlandske leverandører.