Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said he believes that Tesla ’s decision to ramp up 3 Gigafactories simultaneously will weaken the automaker and help VW catch up in the race to dominate the EV space.
Tesla and the Volkswagen Group are widely recognized as the leaders in electrification, especially in their respective home markets of the United States and Europe. But, Tesla is still the clear leader with about twice the all-electric sales volume of Volkswagen last year.
Some believe that is going to change and fast.
Earlier this year, Diess said that VW can sell more electric cars than Tesla by 2025. And, Bloomberg recently came up with a report that claimed that the German automaker can actually take the lead by 2024.
Diess commented on the situation during a new works meeting this week and said that he believes VW’s profits and subsiding chip shortage is going to allow the automaker to catch up to Tesla (via Reuters):
This should allow the carmaker to narrow the Volkswagen-Tesla gap this year and meet its goal of becoming market leader by 2025 if it seizes the moment while the U.S. electric car maker burns cash on large investments, the CEO said.
Interestingly, the CEO commented on Tesla ’s effort to ramp up production at the new Gigafactory Texas and Gigafactory Berlin as well as the expansion at Gigafactory Shanghai. He said that this is going to “take strength out” of Tesla or even Musk specifically:
Elon (Musk) has to ramp up two highly complex factories in Austin and Gruenheide at the same time – as well as expand production in Shanghai. That’s going to take strength out of him.
As for VW, it is itself ramping up production EV production at factories in Germany and China, and it is about to start VW ID.4 production in the United States at its Chattanooga factory.
I’m not sure I get his point. Yes, it’s hard to ramp up production at two factories simultaneously, but Tesla has quite a lot of experience with that at this point. Gigafactory Berlin and Texas are actually the reasons why I doubt that VW is going to catch up to Tesla any time soon and certainly not in 2024 or 2025.
I think Tesla is likely to exit 2023 with a production rate of about 500,000 cars per year at those two factories.
With Fremont and Shanghai still growing, I think it will likely put Tesla ’s annual production capacity at around 2.5 million vehicles. VW’s EV production capacity is expected to be at around 1.5 million in 2023.
Tesla is also looking for locations for new factories. I doubt that those will be producing any cars until 2024 and more realistically 2025, but I still think that Tesla ’s lead in EV volume appears to be growing, not going down.
That said, I love this competitive spirit between Tesla and VW when it comes to electrification. Competition is good.