Volkswagen (VW) CEO Herbert Diess recently shared his thoughts on LinkedIn about his visit to Austin, Texas, for the South by Southwest festival. In his post, Diess highlighted the tremendous response from American consumers to the VW ID.BUZZ, a refreshed electric version of the company’s iconic microbus.
He also wrote about the Volkswagen Wolfsburg plant, referenced his meeting with Governor Abbot, and offered a shoutout to Tesla’s Giga Texas. Diess said that Giga Texas is an impressive site that, once up and running, will most likely set some new benchmarks. Giga Texas made him feel happy about the new plant for Wolfsburg, without which VW wouldn’t be able to compete with Tesla according to Diess.
The Volkswagen CEO also noted that Texas is first in wind energy, and is very close to being first in solar in the US — in terms of absolute power capacity, not power capacity per capita or per TWh. When many people think about Texas, they think about oil and gas — I used to be one of those people until I started writing for CleanTechnica. However, it is also becoming a sort of cleantech hub and in some ways a leader in cleantech deployment.
The full text of his post is as follows:
“That was an inspiring weekend in Austin, Texas at the South by Southwest (#SXSW) festival!
“An event covering the vibrant and very diverse(!) and open minded capital of Texas: tech, culture, film premiers, art, media, gaming, … – and Volkswagen & Porsche beeing Partner first time.
“Volkswagen with a „sneak preview“ of the home coming of the famous „microbus“, probably one of the most beloved historic vehicles of Americans. Not in a static display on a booth but just 4 BUZZes in different colors driving around #Austin and occasionally stopping at BUZZ stops. The BUZZ made an impression!
“The feedback is remarkable! Many Americans are falling in love with the the ID BUZZ, it’s putting a smile on everybodys face, is a great photo Hotspot in Austin – as you can see in all social media.
“According to Scott he never experienced such an emotional welcome for a product in his professional career and he believes that the car can do ground breaking work to lift Volkswagen to new hights in the US market. Scott & his team are well on track to bring Volkswagen back to profitability after decades. We now are having the right products. Electrification opens a window to reinvent the brand for our American customers. Already today our market share in EVs is twice as high as in ICEs – still all EVs imported. Scott is right when he calls it „chance of a lifetime“ – let‘s take it!
“Demand for ID.4 is already high and Scott is pushing Zwickau to deliver more to the US. Starting this summer there will be some release because we are starting and then ramping up our Chattanooga site for additional 100k units of local produced ID.4.
“Also impressive was an encounter with #Texas Governour Gregg Abbott – knowledgable, straight forward, very business oriented, he is attracting a lot of new investment to Texas in green energy: Texas is already first in wind energy and close to become first in solar in the US. Tesla went to Austin because of this: 3 months after the first meeting a deal was agreed. 2 years after the plant is close to get into production. By the way: Elons new factory – he calls it „the machine that produces the machine“ is impressive: 1.2 km long, 400m wide: all under one roof, no logistics from cell production to the final assembly. Once up and running it will very likely set some new benchmarks. I am so happy that we decided a new plant for Wolfsburg. Without that – no chance to compete.
“Then artwork and music: Porsche contributed with an exposition of design studies and projects which did not make it into series production. Very interesting not only for Porsche enthusiasts accompanied by a live music performance in club atmosphere with King Princess. Definitly a raising star, impressive performance – she was very happy to perform on stage again after nearly 2 years shutdown. One could feel that.
“SXSW, Austin, Texas, US – vibrant, open minded, diverse: a great place to be.”
Earlier this week, Volkswagen confirmed its new $2.2 billion Wolfsburg factory, which will manufacture electric vehicles built on its new SSP platform developed as a part of its Trinity program. Construction is expected to begin sometime in the spring of 2023. Once completed, the factory is projected to have a production capacity of 250,000 cars annually. You can read more about that here.