One of the world’s largest carmakers, Germany’s Volkswagen AG, is betting big on electric vehicles and e-mobility with a war chest of around US$50 billion to challenge Tesla, which, for the time being, seems unfazed by the increasingly crowded EV market.
Three years after the diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen said last November that it would invest US$49.7 billion (44 billion euro) on e-mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services, and digitalization in vehicles and at plants through 2023. This investment would represent around one-third of all expenditure for the 2019-2023 period that Volkswagen has planned.
At the Geneva Motor Show this week, Volkswagen staged the world premiere of the electric ID. BUGGY.
“The ID. BUGGY demonstrates the broad spectrum of emission-free mobility that can be achieved with the MEB [electric drive matrix] within the Volkswagen brand. But we want to open up the platform for third-party suppliers”, said Ralf Brandstätter, COO of the Volkswagen brand.
“The transformation of the Volkswagen brand is in full swing. We are making excellent progress in the areas of digitalisation of our company and the electrification of our models,” Brandstätter added.
Volkswagen’s motto is “electric cars for millions, not for millionaires,” chief executive Herbert Diess says.
For all legacy automakers venturing into EVs, Tesla will be the competitor to beat. Last week, Tesla said that the long-awaited US$35,000 Model 3 was now available.
“Shifting all sales online, combined with other ongoing cost efficiencies, will enable us to lower all vehicle prices by about 6% on average, allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than we expected,” Tesla said last week.
“Base Model 3 available in Europe in ~6 months, Asia 6 to 8 months. Latter contingent on Shanghai Gigafactory. Country-specific taxes & import duties mean price may be 25% or more above US number,” Elon Musk tweeted last week. A few days later, Musk teased a Model Y unveil event on March 14. Being an SUV, Model Y “will cost about 10% more & have slightly less range for same battery,” Musk noted.