In a conversation at the recent AutoMobility LA event, the Executive Vice President of the NA Engineering and Planning Center, Volkswagen Group of America, Dr Matthias Erb, stated that some strategists at the company were expecting cost parity between battery-electric and diesel vehicles to be reached by 2023–2025, owing to increasingly strict emissions standards, according to Green Car Congress.
The comments make it clear that the Volkswagen execs see increasingly strict government regulations as being the primary driver, not the simple economics of the situation (all-electric vehicles are very simple to build, most of the cost is in the battery pack, and prices for those are falling rapidly).
Here’s the full comment (as quoted by Green Car Congress) from Matthias Erb: “What we see in terms of emissions standards is that they are getting tougher and tougher, and it is getting more and more expensive to meet those standards. As a result, we see a cost line crossing between battery-electric vehicles and diesels. Some of the strategists in our company see that by 2023, 2025, due to the emissions standards for diesel, (diesels) are going to become really expensive. We expect that when those two lines cross, this will be the time when huge pressure comes on diesel.”
Yes, because the only problem with diesel cars is that governments are getting in the way of the profits to be made? Maybe I’m reading something into that that’s not there, but hearing an exec talk about something that is responsible for so much disease and death so nonchalantly has a certain effect.
There is a reason after all that Europe has much higher rates of certain air pollution–related diseases … and it’s related to the fact that diesel cars have always been a scam, since governments in Europe first started colluding with local auto manufacturers on the matter well over a decade ago.
The Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal wasn’t simply an inconvenience for company execs and shareholders, but a necessity if air quality was ever going to improve in Europe. (Even with the scandal, who knows if it will be anytime soon though?)
Editor’s Note: Of course, if you simply priced in societal externalities, electric cars are already cheaper.
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