Tesla Pushing Volkswagen to Accelerate Electric Vehicle Shift, Company Says on Competition


Competition in Germany’s auto market from new entrants such as Tesla has prompted Volkswagen to accelerate plans to shift its main plant toward producing electric vehicles, the company said on Wednesday.

“There is no question that we have to address the competitiveness of our plant in Wolfsburg in view of new market entrants,” said Volkswagen spokesman Michael Manske. Tesla And new Chinese automakers are making inroads into Europe.

“Tesla is setting new standards for productivity and scale in Grunheide,” he said, referring to the under-construction Tesla factory near Berlin that will produce 5,000 to 10,000 cars a week at peak capacity – the German battery-electric vehicle. double the entirety of (EV) production in 2020.

However, the spokesman denied a report published in the German newspaper Handelsblatt on Wednesday, which said Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess told a supervisory board meeting in September that the transition to EVs could cost the company up to 30,000 jobs. could.

“There is a debate going on now and there are already many good ideas. There are no concrete scenarios,” Manske said of the report.

A spokesman for Volkswagen’s Workers’ Council said that although they would not comment on speculation whether Diess had commented, “the loss of 30,000 jobs is absurd and unfounded”.

An EV has far fewer parts than a car with an internal combustion engine and therefore requires fewer workers to produce. According to one estimate, 100,000 jobs in the auto industry could be lost by 2025 as a result of electrification.

German automakers are struggling to catch up with pure-play EV makers’ more efficient production platforms. whereas Volkswagen It currently requires around 30 hours to generate your Electric ID. 3 Cars, Tesla Needs Just 10 Hours To Build Model 3.

Diess previously said that Tesla would boost competition in Germany.

Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant, the world’s largest with more than 50,000 employees, does not currently make EVs, but the company plans to produce an electric sedan there from 2026 under a plan called “Project Trinity”.

The German auto giant is also considering listing its car charging and energy business in addition to existing IPO plans for its battery division, Chief Technology Officer Thomas Schmall told Manager Magazine in an interview published Wednesday.

Schmall said nothing has been finalized yet and it could probably take two years for new companies to be established and ready for the stock market.

© Thomson Reuters 2021