2016 Tesla Model S facelift 1

Tesla vice president of business development Diarmuid O’Connell has labelled other electric vehicles as boring white goods, singling out the Nissan Leaf, Kia Soul EV, BMW i3 and Chevrolet Spark EV as electric vehicles that don’t provide enough range or performance and cost too much to appeal to most consumers.

“In essence, they’ve delivered little more than appliances. Now, appliances are useful. But they tend to be white. They tend to be unemotional,” he said, adding that the world is at a “very important juncture” in its history, and automakers must do more to make their electric vehicles more exciting, less costly and give them a range of at least 200 miles (320 km).

“On balance, I’m happier that they’re doing these care than not, I just wish they would do them better and faster,” O’Connell said.

The Tesla man also lamented that EVs can be hard to find in many US markets outside Los Angeles, particularly in Detroit. “I think if the Michigan legislature would allow Tesla to sell cars in Michigan, we could probably address this,” he said, referring to Michigan’s ban on the direct-to-customer sales model that Tesla uses.

Speaking to Automotive News, O’Connell reiterated that Tesla has been very clear it would only sell its cars under a direct-sales model, and that dealers could play a more significant role in getting EVs on the road. “It’s natural for folks whose business is vested in the existing technology to focus on that technology because it’s the foundation of their business, rather than taking a risk position on new and novel technology, especially when the automakers themselves aren’t supporting it,” he said.