Volkswagen CEO: “Anything Tesla Can Do, We Can Surpass”

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The CEO of the Volkswagen brand, Herbert Diess, recently added to the company’s growing anti-Tesla tradition with some interesting comments made at a press conference at the company’s global headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

The collection of interesting comments included the statement that “anything Tesla can do, we can surpass.”

Maybe so, but it’s far easier to simply say that’s the case than it is to make it the case … especially when you seem to be delaying a serious entrance into the electric vehicle market for as long as possible. How many times are Volkswagen execs going to tell about the company’s compelling electric vehicle plans … for 2020, or 2025?

Does a top-of-the-line e-Golf compete with the base Tesla Model 3 coming out this year?

Green Car Reports provides more: “Now, the CEO of the Volkswagen brand has said that the Group will ‘leapfrog’ electric-car pioneer Tesla as it comes to dominate electric cars over the next eight years.”

Ah, the plan is to “leapfrog” Tesla. Who wants to bet on this one?

“According to an article in the Financial Times yesterday, Herbert Diess made the comments at a press conference specifically for the Volkswagen brand, held at the company’s global headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

“The Volkswagen brand itself is targeting sales of 1 million electric cars a year in 2025, the volume Tesla claims it will reach by 2020. ‘We are confident that in this new world,’ Diess added, ‘we will become a market leader.’ … Diess suggested that because Tesla started as a luxury maker, with cars priced at $70,000 or more, it would face challenges in building cars economically for the mass market.”

That’s possibly true, but that doesn’t mean that Volkswagen will be the one benefiting the most from any possible stumbles from Tesla, despite the comments from Diess. The next couple of years seem likely to be very interesting ones for the auto industry.

Not that these people are representative of the broader car market, but our recent surveys of over 2,000 electric car drivers found that approximately 1% plan to next buy a Volkswagen e-Golf. Other Volkswagen models ranked much lower. Here are results from the segment of drivers most likely to buy an e-Golf next (people who have non-Tesla fully electric cars):

Survey results from our new EV report. Responses came from over 2,000 EV drivers across 26 European countries, 49 of 50 US states, and 9 Canadian provinces. Responses were segmented according to region — North America vs Europe — and type of electric car — plug-in hybrid vs Tesla vs non-Tesla fully electric car.


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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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