The transition to fully-electric personal mobility won’t happen overnight – that’s surely something everyone in the industry knows very well. There are major attempts from all parties involved – automakers, governments, energy companies, climate organizations, and consumers – to speed up the process, but many factors dictate the pace at which the full electrification happens. Despite all the efforts, even the largest players in the business think it’s too early to switch to electric vehicles.
Volkswagen Group’s CEO Herbert Diess recently spoke at the Financial Times’ Future of the Car summit, where he said it’s way too early for the industry to move to electric power only. Diess explained that the issue isn’t related to customer demand because it is getting higher and higher but to the infrastructure that supports EV manufacturing and operation. Both these processes lag behind the speed at which zero-emissions vehicles are currently developed.
“Everything will be there for growth, but it takes huge investment and time to achieve,” Diess said. “We need the correct plants to be modified or built, the battery production capacity to be available, and to build a secure, sustainable supply chain. The customer needs the correct infrastructure to be put in place to live with the cars.”
While it may be too soon to go all-in on electric vehicles, Diess seems to believe the company he currently leads has the potential to become the world’s dominator when it comes to EV sales. During the summit, he expressed his vision of Volkswagen becoming “the world leader in EV sales by 2025” thanks to the huge investments made over the years. Diess even said he sees a “tight race” with Tesla, though he admitted he “didn’t expect our main US competitor to be so fast, and there's a step-change coming in their manufacturing capabilities.”
Diess also confirmed Volkswagen sees great potential in the small electric vehicle segment and the conglomerate’s VW Polo-sized trio from the Volkswagen, Cupra, and Skoda brands is scheduled to arrive in 2025. The three models will be based on the MEB Small platform, which is currently under development, and Diess believes “the demand is there and the margins are there for small electric cars to be profitable.”