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Tesla founder Elon Musk, days after announcing the company would open a store in London, predicted that a version of the electric car would be ready for the roads of England and Ireland by late March.
Speaking with the Irish Prime Minister at a technology gathering in Dublin, Musk added that the key to the early success of the Model S has been overcoming perception that electric cars are go-karts.
“If you say electric car, people don’t have good associations. In order to be successful, we had to have sex appeal, great handling and long range.”
Despite early acclaim for the Model S from Consumer Reports, Musk acknowledged that the number of electric cars on the roads remains tiny and that, even if every new car sold is electric, it would still take 20 years to totally transform the fleet.
Invited to compare the Tesla Model S to Apple’s iPhone, Musk stressed the importance of design.
“Steve Jobs was ultra-product-focused, down to little details. He and people at Apple tried to have these likable things — the product just made you happy. We’re trying to do that with the Model S.”
Musk also addressed what places like Ireland can do to succeed tech centers. He said the key is a concentration of talent, but the focus of the talent must be on a particular area – much like a company does.
To hear more about Tesla’s vision for the future, join us at Gigaom’s Roadmap in San Francisco where Chief Designer Franz Von Holzausen will be speak about the power of design, in addition to Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom and other leading creative thinkers.