June 19 (Bloomberg) -- Tesla Motors Inc. plans to expand its network of fast-charging stations to enable owners of the Model S sedan to drive across Europe by the end of this year.
The electric-car maker opened three stations today along German highways to facilitate travel to Switzerland and Austria from Europe’s biggest economy, the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a statement. Tesla, which has at least 36 sales outlets from Sweden to Italy, plans to add more chargers across the continent in the course of 2014. It now has 23 stations.
“This shows how important the European market is for Tesla,” the company said.
The carmaker, led by billionaire Elon Musk, plans to open more than 30 new service centers and stores in Europe as it anticipates a jump in sales for the Model S, priced at about $70,000. The move is part of a global rollout as Tesla forecasts a jump in deliveries of more than 55 percent this year.
The company intends to spend as much as $5 billion to build the world’s largest battery factory. The facility would let Tesla create cheaper cars and expand market share.
The brand’s emergence as a viable upscale alternative has prompted luxury-car leader Bayerische Motoren Werke AG to hone its environmental image. The Munich-based manufacturer earlier this month started deliveries of the $135,700 plug-in i8 sports car, which can accelerate faster than a Porsche 911.
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