Volkswagen CEO Has A Tough Message For EV Fans

Technology / Comments

Not everything is as it seems.

The auto industry is undergoing rapid changes like never before. Two major transitions are currently happening: the end of combustion engines in favor of battery electrics and autonomous driving. They go hand in hand. Not everyone fully understands this, especially electric vehicle advocates and influencers. They often think EVs are the answer to many problems but the reality is they're only one part of a much larger equation. They're not the big so-called "game-changer." That honor, according to Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess, belongs to autonomous driving.

Speaking to Reuters at this year's Munich Motor Show, the executive acknowledged the shift towards EVs like the VW ID.4 and Audi e-tron GT, but they can only be successful if people buy them.

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It can't be just wealthy customers and early adopters. But autonomous technology is a much bigger thing that impacts everyone. "Autonomous driving is really going to change our industry like nothing else before," Diess said. "The real game-changer is software and autonomous driving." But Diess still has grand electric vehicle goals.

His ambitious aim is to overtake Tesla as the world's largest electric vehicle automaker by 2025. It won't be easy especially since EVs currently only make up a relatively small share of new vehicle sales globally. Core markets, specifically North America, still have a ways to go. VW's autonomous tech advancements continue to proceed. VW owns shares in Argo AI, a rival to Waymo, and a lot is riding on that investment.

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"By 2030… about 85 percent of our business is cars, private cars, privately owned, shared rental cars. And about 15 percent of mobility should be shuttles, mobility as a service," he added.

Automakers already know how to build EVs with powerful batteries resulting in 300-mile+ driving ranges. They also know what needs to be done to create the necessary infrastructure. But the real race is about who figures out fully autonomous driving first. Elon Musk is well aware of this, hence his aggressive (if not controversial) Full Self-Driving rollout strategy. He shouldn't underestimate the will of the VW Group under Diess' leadership.

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Source Credits: Reuters

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