Elon Musk’s and Tesla’s success seems to have made fellow automaker Volkswagen (VW) and its CEO try to emulate two of the electric vehicle company’s signature elements.
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess announced at a March news conference that the only way to quickly reduce transportation emissions is to go electric. Volkswagen’s ‘Power Day’ event came months after Tesla’s ‘Battery Day’ and the similarities were quick to appear.
Diess who has joined Twitter in January, making his debut on the social media platform by tagging Elon Musk and good-naturedly mentioning stealing “some of your market shares.”
Considering that the message came from a carmaker that has spent a considerable amount of years trying to convince the world that “clean diesel” is the answer they were looking for and offering it as an alternative to hybrid and electric vehicles, people are bound to raise their eyebrows. And that without even mentioning the infamous Dieselgate incident, a Volkswagen 2015 emissions scandal caused when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found out that the company had intentionally modified a diesel engine software to detect when the cars were being tested so it would change the performance in order to improve the results of the test. This way, the vehicles’ nitrogen oxide output successfully met US standards during regulatory testing, but in reality, emitted up to 40 times more nitrogen oxides during real-world driving. The software was deployed by Volkswagen in approximately 11 million cars worldwide in model years 2009 through 2015.
VW wants to become the No. 1 in Europen EV salesman
But from the looks of it, it seems that VW has been diligently working to escape that stigma. Last year the company became the No. 1 in Europe in battery-electric vehicle sales, courtesy of a surge in sales of battery-powered cars owed to increasingly stricter carbon-dioxide emissions standards. Not just that, but VW can finally brag with its 5 years of work in creating a standardized platform for dozens of electric models.
“The Volkswagen Group is stepping up the pace of its transformation into the leading provider of individual mobility in the electric and fully connected age,” the company’s website writes. “To this end, the Group will systematically enhance its successful platform strategy. In future, vehicles and services of all Group brands are to be based on largely standardized technical foundations.”
“Many in the industry questioned our approach,” Diess said during the two-hour infomercial held in VW’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany. “Today they are following suit, while we are reaping the fruit.”
Musk has previously stated that Tesla’s mission was to help accelerate progress and innovation in the sustainable energy field and assured that he’s always looking forward to electric vehicle (EV) competition. So far, Wall Street analysts are optimistic about VW’s chances of becoming a worthy EV rival for Tesla in the long term. For the most part, VW is working hard to accomplish this, aiming to deliver an average of 1 million plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles in 2021. Overall, a good start to Diess’s plans to surpass Tesla in EV sales no later than 2025.