Volvo exec shares Tesla culture insights, drives Model Y to work by mistake

(Credit: 张飞宇 Feiyu Zhang)

It seems like good habits really do die hard. In a recent interview with a Swedish newspaper, Volvo Head of Research and Development (R&D) and former Tesla Senior Director of Engineering Anders Bell shared several insights about his two recent workplaces, as well as a rather humorous experience. 

Bell actually started his career at Volvo Cars in 1998, where he worked with the interiors of the Volvo 60 and 90 series. He was recruited by Tesla in 2016, and he spent six years with the electric vehicle maker before coming back to Volvo in late 2022. During his time with Tesla, Bell worked in California and Giga Berlin, as noted in a CarUp.se report. 

While speaking with The Gothenburg Post, Bell noted that Volvo’s transition to electric vehicles could be compared to a newspaper that is operating both a print and digital edition. Companies like Tesla could then be compared to a publication that is able to completely ignore print and focus fully on digital. He noted, however, that fully copying Tesla would not necessarily be the best strategy either.

“You can’t copy a Californian startup culture in Europe at all. It’s a unique environment with the labor law that applies there. It’s an inspiring environment, but we have to be careful about copying something that doesn’t work in our context,” Bell noted.

Amusingly enough, Bell also shared a rather humorous mix-up that he experienced recently. Privately, the Volvo executive owns a Volvo car, but he still owns a Tesla Model Y. And on the day of his interview with the GP, Bell noted that he accidentally drove his Tesla to his job at Volvo. While one can state that this is common among regular workers, it is quite amusing to see such a thing happen to an executive. 

“No pictures now. I happened to take the wrong car today!” Bell joked. 

While he did drive the wrong car to work, Bell is all in on Volvo’s electric vehicle efforts. During his interview, Bell showed off Volvo’s new test center, which will be world-leading. Volvo noted that the facility would be one of the largest dedicated vehicle software testing facilities in the world. Both new software, as well as updates to the company’s existing EVs, would be tested at the site. 

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Volvo exec shares Tesla culture insights, drives Model Y to work by mistake
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