Volkswagen CEO says he wants to ‘get close and then overtake’ Tesla

The underbody of an ID.three electrical car is assembled at a Volkswagen facility in Dresden, Germany, on January 29, 2021.

Matthias Rietschel | image alliance | Getty Images

Volkswagen Group’s CEO has dismissed the notion that his agency might be a part of forces with Tesla, telling CNBC that the German automotive big was wanting to go its personal means.

Speaking to “Squawk Box Europe” on Tuesday, Herbert Diess was requested if he would rule out any future cope with Elon Musk’s electrical automobile maker, by which VW might producer its automobiles, or if the Tesla and VW manufacturers would ever unite.

“No, we haven’t considered (that), we are going our own way,” he replied. “We want to get close and then overtake.” 

“We think that we can – we need our own software stack, our own technology,” he added. “And also, I think Tesla, or Elon, is very much thinking … (about) his way forward. So no, there are no talks between Elon Musk and myself regarding joining forces.”

The shift in focus to electrical automobiles comes at a time when authorities all over the world are wanting to improve the variety of low- and zero-emission automobiles on their roads in a bid to sort out air air pollution and transfer away from the interior combustion engine. 

The U.Okay., for instance, has introduced plans to cease promoting new diesel and petrol (gasoline) automobiles and vans from 2030. The European Commission’s “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy,” in the meantime, wants not less than 30 million zero-emission automobiles on the highway by 2030.

It’s towards this backdrop that VW, and many different main carmakers, are wanting to compete with — and finally problem — Elon Musk’s Tesla.

On Monday, VW introduced plans to set up six “gigafactories” in Europe by the tip of the last decade and ramp up charging infrastructure in Europe, North America and China.

On the battery entrance, the Wolfsburg-headquartered firm can even concentrate on the event of a “new unified cell” which is slated to be rolled-out in 2023 and utilized in up to 80% of the group’s electrical automobiles by 2030.

In his interview with CNBC, Diess mentioned the subsequent 15 years would see electrical automobiles take the lead and software program turn out to be the core driver of the automotive trade. He additionally predicted that automobiles would turn out to be autonomous inside the similar timeframe.

“To manage this change is probably the most important task we are facing,” he defined. “And we think we are on the way, we are making good progress.”

On the hole between what Tesla and European automobile producers are doing, and whether or not it may be bridged, Diess was additionally upbeat.  

“I think so, because you know, the race is open – this is not the industry which you can conquer within a few years or so, this is not tech,” he mentioned.

“So you need life cycles, you need product, you need plant capacities, you need market, you need to earn the trust of the customer,” he added.

“So this is a long run and yes, there are a few startups which we are watching closely and Tesla for sure is … in the lead in some aspects there. But we are not so far behind and we are gaining momentum.”

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