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Tesla sets foot in Europe


ATfter having challenged Vladimir Putin to single combat – to avoid a war in Ukraine – the astonishing Elon Musk came to inaugurate his first factory in Germany, the cradle of the “premium” car. More than a message, it’s a real challenge, a showdown launched by the whimsical entrepreneur at Mercedes, BMW, Audi or Porsche, all of which are now driving electric behind the Teslas.

But Tesla, if it holds a technological lead on the electric car, still pales in terms of manufacturing quality and finish. Will the “made in Germany” change the least advantageous face of the first cars released on Tuesday from the brand new factory in Berlin-Brandenburg, under the eye of the boss?

This has somewhat forced the hand of a reluctant administration to grant the necessary authorizations. The principle of the gigafactory, the fourth of its kind in the world capable of producing 500,000 cars per year, was stopped in 2019, but it had to overcome a lot of hassle to finally open more than six months late.

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To the sound of rock and electro music, around thirty “Model Y” Performance version and intended for German customers came off the chain under the watchful eye of German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz. For good form, the last administrative stamps had fallen on the building permits at the beginning of March. It was time.

At 250 km/h on the Autobahn

Germany obliges, the Performance versions have been configured in order to be able to drive at 250 km / h on the highways instead of 217 in the normal version, a rather rough use for an electric car. But Tesla, which will also build its batteries in the Berlin factory where it currently employs 3,000 people, has reinforced certain elements.

The suspension has been lowered and made firmer while 21-inch Überturbine wheels and a spoiler signal the difference. The autonomy announced according to the WLTP mixed cycle, would be 514 km while the 0 to 100 km/h goes from 5.0 to 3.7 seconds. This “made in Germany” crossover will be available in France in May at a price starting at 66,990 euros.

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In a context of exploding fossil fuel prices, Elon Musk praised renewable energies and electric mobility in the service of the climate. “We believe the world can transition to a sustainable energy future by combining solar power, wind power, battery storage and electric vehicles,” the billionaire said. A speech guaranteed to be received 5 out of 5 in Germany where green sensitivity has become a political movement long before other countries. Across the Rhine, Elon Musk is, with his Tesla, in conquered territory.

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