Volkswagen CEO says he wants to ‘get close and then overtake’ Tesla

The underbody of an ID.3 electric car is assembled at a Volkswagen facility in Dresden, Germany, on January 29, 2021.

Matthias Rietschel | image alliance | Getty Pictures

Volkswagen Group’s CEO has dismissed the notion that his organization could be a part of forces with Tesla, telling CNBC that the German automotive big was wanting to go its have way.

Talking to “Squawk Box Europe” on Tuesday, Herbert Diess was requested if he would rule out any upcoming deal with Elon Musk’s electrical motor vehicle maker, in which VW could maker its automobiles, or if the Tesla and VW brands would ever unite.

“No, we haven’t regarded as (that), we are heading our possess way,” he replied. “We want to get close and then overtake.” 

“We believe that we can – we will need our personal software program stack, our own technologies,” he additional. “And also, I imagine Tesla, or Elon, is incredibly significantly considering … (about) his way ahead. So no, there are no talks involving Elon Musk and myself regarding joining forces.”

The shift in concentrate to electric motor vehicles comes at a time when authorities around the earth are looking to raise the number of lower- and zero-emission vehicles on their roadways in a bid to deal with air pollution and go absent from the inner combustion engine. 

The U.K., for illustration, has introduced programs to prevent advertising new diesel and petrol (gasoline) cars and vans from 2030. The European Commission’s “Sustainable and Intelligent Mobility System,” in the meantime, would like at minimum 30 million zero-emission automobiles on the street by 2030.

It’s versus this backdrop that VW, and a lot of other main carmakers, are hunting to compete with — and eventually obstacle — Elon Musk’s Tesla.

On Monday, VW declared programs to set up six “gigafactories” in Europe by the conclude of the decade and ramp up charging infrastructure in Europe, North The us and China.

On the battery entrance, the Wolfsburg-headquartered organization will also concentrate on the development of a “new unified cell” which is slated to be rolled-out in 2023 and applied in up to 80% of the group’s electric automobiles by 2030.

In his interview with CNBC, Diess explained the subsequent 15 years would see electric powered automobiles just take the lead and computer software become the core driver of the automotive field. He also predicted that cars would grow to be autonomous within the very same timeframe.

“To deal with this alter is probably the most critical task we are facing,” he defined. “And we believe we are on the way, we are creating superior development.”

On the hole in between what Tesla and European vehicle makers are executing, and no matter if it can be bridged, Diess was also upbeat.  

“I feel so, mainly because you know, the race is open up – this is not the industry which you can conquer inside of a couple of decades or so, this is not tech,” he said.

“So you need everyday living cycles, you need to have merchandise, you will need plant capacities, you need to have marketplace, you will need to generate the have confidence in of the buyer,” he added.

“So this is a prolonged run and sure, there are a several startups which we are seeing closely and Tesla for absolutely sure is … in the lead in some areas there. But we are not so considerably at the rear of and we are gaining momentum.”