Speaking at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars on Tuesday, Tesla vice president of business development Diarmuid O’Connell claimed that while automakers may believe that they’re building exciting electric vehicles, they’re really just offering uninspired appliances.
Singling out the BMW i3, Chevrolet Spark EV, Kia Soul EV and Nissan Leaf, O’Connell maintained that the current crop of EVs provide limited range and performance at a price that doesn’t appeal to the majority of buyers. “Appliances are useful. But they tend to be white. They tend to be unemotional,” he said.
While O’Connell conceded that “I’m happier that they’re doing these cars than not,” he expressed disappointment in their lack of availability and the level and pace of innovation. To address these concerns, O’Connell said that that legislators would need to permit direct sales and automakers and dealers would need to take a more active role in supporting the technology.
Unlike its competitors, O’Connell said that Tesla was not set up to be a car company, but to “start a revolution,” and had established a framework for successfully selling EVs.