For our new CleanTech RoundTalk, Jo Borras, Steve Hanley, and I sat around CleanTechnica‘s pineapple-infused sparkling-water cooler to discuss a couple of the hottest EV news stories of last week.
One of those stories was the release of UK pricing for the Volkswagen ID. Buzz. The Buzz is … not cheap. The price of the new, electric, futuristic version of the iconic VW van was certainly part of our discussion. However, we went well beyond that, also discussing the original benefits, style, and role of the Volkswagen “hippie bus,” and how those compare and contrast to the new ID. Buzz. Getting to the heart of the matter for the 2022 upgrade, we each provided our own thoughts on how strongly the vehicle might pull on the cultural heart strings and nostalgia of people in their 70s, 40s, and even 20s & 30s. The fundamental question: how much consumer demand is there for the ID. Buzz?
Naturally, demand is also a function of price. The lower the price, the more people can buy it, and thus the more demand rises. One big unknown is whether Volkswagen has underestimated demand, thus keeping scale down and prices high. For my full opinion on the matter — or Jo’s or Steve’s — check out the podcast via the embedded Spotify player above or via any of the podcast networks we publish on: Anchor, Apple Podcasts/iTunes, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket, Podbean, Radio Public, SoundCloud, Spotify, or Stitcher.
The other story of the week was EV sales at a handful of companies — Volkswagen Group (~217,000 BEV sales in the first half of 2022), BYD (~324,000 BEV sales), Tesla (565,000 sales), NIO (~51,000 sales), XPeng (~69,000 sales), etc. Ironically, in talking about the rise of EV sales at Volkswagen Group, we talked about the critical role of Herbert Diess in propelling Volkswagen Group forward in the EV revolution and even potentially inspiring CATL to become a lithium-ion battery giant. We also talked about how Diess nearly got fired from Volkswagen Group a year ago, and did get fired from his role as the Volkswagen CEO at the time. We also had a short chat about how he seemingly became a Tesla and Elon Musk fanboy — potentially rubbing a lot of people the wrong way. A day after we published this podcast, Diess was removed from his role as CEO of Volkswagen Group by a quick, stealth meeting of Volkswagen Group big bosses. Here are some of Steve’s ironic or timely last words on Diess: “He’s a visionary. Visionaries often run up against objections from people who are more realistic and say, ‘Well, we can’t do this and we can’t do that.’ He is absolutely laser focused on his mission, and he is going to be the head of Volkswagen Group until somebody in the management or ownership group says, ‘We’ve had enough of this guy’ and kick him out. But it looks like he’s there to stay.” Or not.
For much, much more, listen to the full podcast:
The next episode was just recorded earlier today and we focused on the Diess removal at length. We’ll come back to that in a future piece, but if you want to just jump in, here are a couple of podcast player options for that episode:
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