FRANKFURT -- How hot is Tesla? The California electric-vehicle maker drew a jostling crowd of perhaps 100 journalists for its press conference without having a new car to show.
Tesla executives touted the Model S, already on sale in Europe. But much of their time was spent talking about the network of 120-kilowatt "superchargers" it plans to build in Europe, as it is doing in the United States.
Tesla's solution to the snail's pace of EV charger deployment is characteristically brash: It's building its own infrastructure.
"We're going to be expanding it aggressively in this coming year," said Diarmuid O'Connell, vice president of business development. Tesla has put a ring of chargers in Norway already, allowing travel throughout that hotbed of EV enthusiasm.
The chargers can restore a lithium ion battery to a 50 percent charge in about 20 minutes, he said. Tesla has said that it will have sufficient chargers in the United States in 2014 to allow travel up and down the East and West coasts, as well as from coast to coast. Beyond that, it will install chargers -- available for free use -- as pockets of Tesla buyers pop up throughout the United States.
Asked how big the network will get, O'Connell said, "I don't know but it will be whatever it needs to be."