For Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) to continue to grow its sales 50% annually over the long haul, the company is going to need other automakers to begin producing fully electric vehicles and advocating for their feasibility in the marketplace. As the lone manufacturer of fully electric vehicles with over 200 miles of range, the electric-car maker remains an oddball to consumers. But one of the world's most formidable automakers, Volkswagen (NASDAQOTH:VLKAY), is increasingly looking like it is about to give the narrative for long-range electric vehicles a boost.
Volkswagen to enable long-distance electric travel
Tesla's pioneering lead in long-range fully electric vehicles has made one thing very clear: Owners of these electric vehicles want to travel the same way they do in gas cars. This is why Tesla has expanded its Supercharger network rapidly. By placing its high-speed chargers in strategic locations, the electric-car maker is attempting to enable long-distance travel to virtually anywhere imaginable.
Tesla has long advocated for these strategically placed charging locations, asserting that when they are paired with home charging, the overall driving experience for owners is equal to or better than the experience of owning a gas car.
Volkswagen is letting on that it has a similar vision for the future of electric cars. According to High Gear Media reporters (via Green Car Reports) Volkswagen will offer a DC fast-charging network for buyers of its planned Audi e-Tron Quattro, an electric SUV with a 95-kilowatt-hour battery. These charging locations will offer a 150 kW charge, Audi executive Reinhard Hofmann noted. This is up from Tesla's fastest charge of 120 kW.
Given the vehicle's planned launch for 2018, a 150-kW charge seems like a reasonable goal for the network.
Charging vehicles in just minutes?
But here's where Volkswagen's aspirations for its charging network get really interesting: Hofmann mulled over the possibility of eventually being able to offer a 350 kW charge. This level of charge would mean charging a fully electric, long-range vehicle would "not take any longer time than refueling."
Pair fast recharging times with home charging, which enables owners of fully electric cars to never have to stop to charge when daily driving is closer to home (since they will start each day with sufficient charge), and the recharging experience hits an important mile stone: Traveling in an electric car would be far easier than traveling in a gas car.
Of course, the idea of eventually being able to charge a car as fast as it takes to refuel a gas or diesel vehicle isn't new. Tesla Motors chief technology officer JB Straubel has detailed this possibility before. But hearing it from Volkswagen offers another layer of affirmation for investors betting on larger adoption of electric vehicles in the future.
By confirming what Tesla has been preaching for years, Volkswagen's approval of an electric future may provide more upside to Tesla's niche market than its Audi-branded electric vehicles will eat away at it.
Daniel Sparks owns shares of Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.