Volkswagen’s Chief Executive Herbert Diess is confident in his company’s ability to challenge Tesla for the proverbial crown in the race to dominate the electric vehicle sector. Diess, who has a friendly relationship with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, said he believes the race between the two will be tight in the coming years.
Diess is arguably the most supportive CEO in the automotive field that has tried to transition a combustion engine company into an EV powerhouse, along with Ford CEO Jim Farley. Diess spearheaded Volkswagen’s transition to EVs and pushed heavily for the company to begin moving away from gas cars. Volkswagen struggled early on with production and software issues but has hit its stride with the ID.4, which is the company’s best-selling electric vehicle.
Tesla has undoubtedly established itself as the leader in EVs. While the automaker has committed to launching no new products in 2022, Tesla has a streak of nine consecutive quarters of growth in terms of vehicle deliveries, an overwhelming lead in terms of EV tech, and one of the most advanced semi-autonomous driving systems in the sector.
But Volkswagen is making its own strides as well. It is transitioning several of its production facilities into EV manufacturing plants, it has plans for new models in the coming years, and it is expanding into new markets. Diess believes the race between the two companies will heat up, and eventually Volkswagen will close the gap making a “tight” race between the two.
“There’s a lot coming from our side too… a lot of momentum. It will certainly be tight in coming years,” Diess said at a Car Conference in Germany earlier this week, according to Reuters.
Musk has admitted in the past that he feels Volkswagen is the next best EV maker behind Tesla. “Well, I think the company the most progress besides Tesla is actually VW, which is not a startup but could be viewed in some ways as a startup from an electric vehicle standpoint,” Musk said during a lengthy interview with Financial Times. “So, VW is doing the most on the electric vehicle front.”
Musk and Diess have gone as far as taking test drives in their respective company’s newest vehicles, and have even taken a funny photograph together. Tesla is on the top of the hill for now, and it would be surprising to see anyone overtake them in this decade. However, Volkswagen is a credible threat down the road. The German company has effectively sold out of EVs in 2022, and across its brands, it sold the most EVs in Europe in 2021.