Tesla moving at double the speed vs others in terms of electric vehicles: VW CEO
German automaker Volkswagen's CEO Herbert Diess, while appreciating rival electric vehicle maker Tesla, said the California-based company is moving twice as quickly as the rest of the industry in terms of battery powered mobility. Others in the industry still need to pick up the pace in the shift to making electric vehicles that are packed to the brim with software and latest technologies.
While speaking at the CAR Symposium conference in Bochum, Germany, Diess said that Tesla CEO Elon Musk is “twice as fast as the rest of the industry." Volkswagen has been trying to make significant shifts towards adoption of electric vehicles by spearheading deep reforms. The carmaker, in April, moved to a new two billion-euro ($2.1 billion) plant close to its German headquarters in Wolfsburg to make electric vehicles in about 10 hours, a fraction of the time it currently takes.
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In order to shift to making electric vehicles, vehicle manufacturers are going through a complete overhaul of their supply chains with prices for battery raw materials rising as this poses a risk to undermine returns on electric cars. The German carmaker, which is working on establishing six battery factories in Europe alone, is working on securing critical supplies of raw materials and discussed the vision ahead for the same at its recent board meeting, including possible direct contracts with mines in Africa. “Why do we have to do all this? Because there aren’t existing supplier structures," Diess said.
However, the automaker's efforts to make changes are often held up by a convoluted governance structure. For Volkswagen, making premium cars like Audi as well as volume brands and trucks results in complexity, but the company’s huge scale is also a competitive advantage.
(with inputs from Bloomberg)