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‘When will you build an electric car that is only half as sexy as a Tesla?’, German minister says to automakers

Germany’s Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier is apparently not satisfied with the electrification effort of German automakers. He reportedly asked the top brass of Germany’s auto industry ‘When will you build an electric car that is only half as sexy as a Tesla?’

According to several German publications (via Spiegel), Altmaier made the comment on a panel about artificial intelligence in Germany.

He addressed Herbert Diess, the head of Volkswagen, and Dieter Zetsche, the CEO of Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), who were present at the event, and included Harald Krüger, CEO of BMW, who wasn’t present. 

He said:

“I really wonder when you, Mr. Zetsche, or you, Mr. Diess, or Mr. Krüger of BMW will be able to get an electric car build, which is only half as sexy as one by Tesla. As far as the attractiveness of your e-cars is concerned, you could actually come up with some fresh ideas.”

Apparently, the minister wasn’t joking when asking the question, but he didn’t get a clear answer fromDiess or Zetsche.

Electrek’s Take

It’s interesting to see German automakers getting some pressure from their own government when it comes to electrification.

That said, I might have to defend them a little in this case since he seems to be particularly concerned with the “sexiness” of German EVs.

While I do like the design of Tesla’s vehicles, I don’t think those cars are for everyone. I think there’s a market for more traditional looking German cars with electric powertrains.

Now Altmaier might have been referring to the compliance car strategy of building electric cars by retrofitting existing gas-powered models.

I would agree that it results in subpar EV designs, but I also think it’s clear that they are all moving away from this strategy.

Vehicles like the e-Golf or the electric B-Class were placeholders until VW and Mercedes-Benz could build their electric platforms from the ground up.

Now they did and they are coming up with electric cars built to be electric from the ground up.

It’s resulting in some decent looking EVs in my opinion.

Take the SUVs for example. I like the design of Tesla’s Model X, but it’s controversial. Not everyone likes it.

I think there’s a lot of room for good-looking electric SUVs that look more like conventional SUVs and I think the Audi e-tron and the Mercedes-Benz EQC fit in that category.

And if Altmaier is looking for “sexiness” from German EVs, he doesn’t have to look further than the Porsche Taycan.

That’s at least half as sexy as a Tesla, no?

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