Elon Musk was in Germany last week to personally inspect the construction of Tesla’s new Gigafactory outside Berlin, where he came onstage dressed in traditional local attire to praise the team building the factory for their excellent work. He also took a moment to say, “The three elements needed for a sustainable energy future are sustainable-energy generation, energy storage, and sustainable transport, electric cars.”
🇩🇪🖤Giga Berlin Mannschaft🖤🇩🇪
Vielen Dank für Ihre hervorragende Arbeit an Giga Berlin!! pic.twitter.com/KVo5mBfnXt
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 3, 2020
After leaving the construction site, he flew to the the Braunschweig airport near Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, where he met with Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess for a two hour chat. Diess has been effusive in his praise of his Silicon Valley counterpart. Business Insider reports that Diess posted to his LinkedIn account in July, “Elon Musk delivers results that many did not think possible. They show: you can be profitable with electric cars. As one of few car manufacturers (Porsche AG also, for example), Tesla will drive through the corona crisis without a quarter of losses.” Neither Musk nor Diess had any comment about their visit, during which Musk reportedly test drove a Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback.
We have one CleanTechnica reader who doggedly insists that Musk and Tesla did not start the EV revolution, pointing out that there were electric cars before there was Musk. While that is technically accurate, those cars sold in the dozens. It was not until the Model S came along, however, that the explosion in electric car sales began. Ask yourself this question. If it were not for Musk and Tesla, would the ID.3 even exist? Without them, the result of Volkswagen’s diesel cheating debacle might have been a massive push to build diesel engines that actually complied with existing regulations while everyone tried to get back to business as usual.
Would Ford have the Mustang Mach-E, Chevrolet the Bolt, or Audi the e-tron were it not for the Silicon Valley connection? Would Ford and GM be working furiously on bringing electric pickup trucks to market if the Cybertruck was not on the horizon? Musk and company have blasted the auto industry out of its comfort zone in a way that the Nissan LEAF, BMW i3, or Mini-E never could. How we wish we could have been a fly on the wall as Musk and Diess shared a few congenial moments together. A transcript of that conversation would be a priceless addition to the history of the EV revolution.
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