Things are moving faster than previously thought.
There was a time when Tesla surpassed all mainstream rivals in multiple categories, among them battery tech, over-the-air updates, and charging infrastructure with the Model S. It may have taken them some time, but automakers like General Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen are now gaining momentum. And, not to mention, smaller but also very impressive brands are preparing to launch EVs of their own, including Rivian and Nikola. But it's really the biggest automakers in the world Tesla needs to keep a very close eye on.
According to Bloomberg, via German language Welt am Sonntag, Volkswagen Group believes it will soon be capable of overtaking Tesla in two critical areas, manufacturing and software development. Bernd Osterloh, head of VW works council, made some bold comments on the matter.
"If Tesla sets up three factories where 300,000 to 500,000 cars can be produced, then we are talking about a number of units between 900,000 and 1.5 million. We want to achieve the same in 2023, probably even earlier," Osterloh stated.
VW's modular MED platform gives provides a "huge advantage" because it can be utilized by all of VW brands. The upcoming Volkswagen ID.4, for example, also rides on the MED architecture, as does the overseas-only ID.3 hatchback and other upcoming Group vehicles like the Audi Q4 e-tron. MEB allows for all kinds of possibilities. But there's another wild card VW has up its sleeve: Project Artemis.
Currently being overseen by Audi CEO Markus Duesmann and headed by Alex Hitzinger, whose career has seen him serve as VW's motorsport engineering chief, Artemis is a high-tech project aimed to dramatically speed up the development of EV technologies.
It's working overtime to catch up to Tesla in just a few years' time. The automaker is planning to have 75 electric models by 2029. There's also VW's Car Software Organization where all of the company's software operations are combined under one roof.
"Their [Tesla's] advantage is that they already have their software in the cars and use it to collect data," Osterloh said. "But if we get our system into our cars, we will have much more data within a short time."
Now that Volkswagen appears to have mostly put Dieselgate behind it once and for all, it's available to fully shift its focus to the future. Tesla has awoken a sleeping giant.