Before I dive into the idea of this, I want to share where it came from. Bloomberg reported that while in Germany, Elon Musk met up with Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess, and even drove a Volkswagen electric car, the hot new Volkswagen ID.3.
The two met at an airport in Braunschweig where Elon Musk test drove the ID.3. He also looked at the ID.4 SUV that Volkswagen plans to launch at the end of this year. A spokesman for Volkswagen did confirm to Bloomberg that Diess met with Elon Musk but didn’t add anymore details.
— Volkswagen Group (@VWGroup) September 4, 2020
Only two people know what that meeting was about — the two CEOs. However, I want to explore the idea that if Tesla and Volkswagen were to become partners, link up, or even become “besties,” just how we, the rest of the world, could benefit. Keep in mind that when it comes to Tesla, Tesla is about more than just cars — Tesla has one main objective that ties everything together.
You may remember the term “Tesla Killer,” which were supposed to be electric vehicles made by legacy automakers that would compete with Tesla vehicles, or as the term suggests, kill the company. The term was quite prevalent in 2018 and 2019, and was often used by critics to taunt Elon Musk, Tesla owners, Tesla shareholders, and even simple supporters. One of those so-called killers, in the eyes of some, was made the ID.3.
I’ve been saying that these killers are actually allies for the longest. Elon Musk has said before that Tesla’s main competition is not the few EVs that legacy automakers managed to cough up to generate some buzz, but rather the millions of gasoline-powered vehicles being mass-produced every year.
In a LinkedIn post, Herbert Diess pointed out that Tesla’s new factory in Berlin will bring “trend-setting future automotive technology” to Germany. He also shared his belief that Tesla will impact Germany in a positive way. “Tesla will live up to the competition in Germany and accelerates the transformation of our established industry significantly,” Diess said.
— ~C4Chaos (@c4chaos) September 4, 2020
Tesla’s competition isn’t even the legacy automakers. It’s the entire fossil fuel industry. Increasingly, Volkswagen is joining Tesla’s side.
What Could A Tesla–Volkswagen Partnership Mean?
The two CEOs could have been just hanging out and eating chocolate at the airport. But there is much speculation and hope that they may have been discussing certain partnerships.
After Dieselgate, VW needs to prove itself to customers around the world. It needs to regain trust. A great way to do this, in my opinion, is to reach out to the leader of the EV revolution and ask for help. This requires swallowing some pride, a huge dose of humility, but Diess and others at Volkswagen have already done that and given Tesla some high props.
Volkswagen CEO says @Elonmusk proved something many didn’t think was possible: selling EVs can be profitable.
Predicts @Tesla will get through coronavirus w/o negative quarter and in 5-10 years, the most valuable carmaker will be a mobility co – probably Tesla, Apple or VW pic.twitter.com/CRQDwBxUwD
— Patrick McGee (@PatrickMcGee_) July 23, 2020
New Audi CEO admitting Tesla is ahead: ““Currently, Tesla has larger batteries because their cars are built around the batteries. Tesla is two years ahead in terms of computing and software architecture, and in autonomous driving as well.” https://t.co/o5lSigk9WP
— Sean Mitchell (@seanmmitchell) July 24, 2020
If Tesla and VW were to partner, some ways that could happen are:
- Volkswagen could license Tesla’s semi-autonomous-driving tech.
- Volkswagen could license other Tesla software for its cars.
- Volkswagen could partner with Tesla on its Supercharging network.
- Volkswagen could buy Tesla’s batteries for some of its future EVs.
Whatever comes of this, and it could be nothing at all, Musk and Diess seem to have a good relationship. They have traded compliments a few times. This two could work toward a beautiful friendship or a more substantial partnership that will benefit customers and shareholders of both companies, while also helping those who may not drive a vehicle from either brand. I am referring to the air pollution caused by the millions of gas cars on the roads today. If the two become stronger allies, then tomorrow’s air may become a lot clearer.
Even if they don’t partner in any practical way, a good public relationship brings more positive attention to electric cars. That alone will help the world, as more will be interested in electric vehicles and inspired to try them out, which typically leads to buying them!