Volkswagen can overtake Tesla to become the largest electric vehicle manufacturer by 2025, as the challenge of lifting production weakens its fiercest EV rival, claims Herbert Diess, VW Group’s chief executive.
While addressing workers at VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters on Tuesday, Herbert Diess said:
“Elon must simultaneously ramp up two highly complex factories in Austin and Grünheide [near Berlin] and expand production in Shanghai. That will cost him strength. We have to seize this opportunity and catch up quickly — by 2025 we can be in the lead.”
VW, which has invested more than €52 billion Euros in the development of battery-powered vehicles, plans to sell approximately 700,000 electric cars worldwide this year, less than half of the 1.5 million that Tesla chief executive Elon Musk suggested his brand would be able to deliver.
However, Tesla, which coped better than most competitors during the early stages of the semiconductor supply crisis, has more recently been plagued with production problems at its so-called gigafactories in the US, Europe and China. Musk told a Tesla owners’ club last month that the company’s plants in Texas and Germany were “gigantic money furnaces right now”, losing billions of dollars as they struggle to secure parts and accelerate manufacturing in the face of global supply chain bottlenecks. The Tesla boss also indicated a fear of going bankrupt.
Diess, who is friendly with Musk and has credited the entrepreneur with popularizing electric cars, seized on these developments in his address to staff, saying that while VW’s strongest competitor “remains Tesla”, the American company was “weakening”. In contrast, VW was running its electric plant in Zwickau at full capacity again after temporary shutdowns, while its factories in China had come back online after pandemic-related closures. As a result, Volkswagen chief predicted that “VW will close the gap to Tesla and not let it grow even larger” this year.
Separately, Siemens announced it had invested $450 million for a minority stake in VW’s North American charging network, known as Electrify America, in a deal that values the division at $2.45 billion. VW invested $2 billion into Electrify America as part of a court settlement over the diesel emissions scandal. It plans to have 10,000 charging stations by 2026.
Sofia Motor Show starts today, June 3, at Inter Expo Center - Sofia, Bulgaria.
The dire situation played out last week when a Tesla Model 3 owner was driving down the highway when the car's computer allegedly crashed. This caused the electric vehicle to become unresponsive and stuck at a mind-boggling 83 mph.
Tesla driver says computer stuck at 83 mph/133 km/h
Rodriguez said the main screen froze and all buttons and switches stopped working while he was driving down the highway. After a few moments, the gas pedal did not respond to high speed.
“I noticed that the car got hot and there was a strange smell. I was nervous that if I slowed down hard, I wouldn't be able to pick up speed again to keep up with traffic and avoid cars. I was nervous that someone might bump into me."
He realized that the brakes were working and made a safe and controlled stop on the highway.
He worries that some security feature in the car might cause the on-board computer to shut down without warning.