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Fleet bias expected for Tesla Model S in Europe

The California-based company has already delivered the first left-hand drive cars to European customers, offering supercar performance and an electric range of up to 300 miles for the range-topping model.

In Europe, corporate sales will be run from its new headquarters in Amsterdam. A European fleet sales manager is now in place, with regional specialists to be appointed for each of the region’s key markets, including the United Kingdom, and conversations now underway with leasing companies and residual value guides.

‘The big thing now is not only educating them about the Model S, but also about Tesla and how we design and produce our cars,’ Batista explained. ‘It’s really a process of getting to know each other, of education. It’s critically important that those people who set or guide residual values are well informed and know what Tesla is about.’

Right hand drive cars are set to begin production by the end of the year, with deliveries from next Spring. Batista believes the UK will be one of the car’s three biggest markets, driven by overall volume and ‘EV progressive’ tax incentives from the government.

‘I see a very heavy swing towards fleet, driven of course by the Benefit in kind tax advantage,’ he said. ‘It’s truly compelling. I think you have a lot of drivers of cars like Audi A6 and A8, BMW 5 to 7 Series, Mercedes E to S and if you look at what they’re paying per month in tax and look at what they wouldn’t pay with Tesla it’s super compelling. I can see that alone driving a lot of the share towards fleet.’

The United Kingdom will also be included in the Supercharger network, which provides free fast charging for Tesla owners either as an optional extra or included as standard with the most powerful battery.

By the end of 2014, shortly after the Model S launches in the UK, Tesla said 90% of the population of England and Wales will be within 200 miles – well within the car’s battery range – of a Supercharger location. In turn, this will connect to a network spanning Benelux, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland allowing long-distance travel with no fuel costs.

Alex Grant

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