Volkswagen AG’s CEO Herbert Diess said Tesla’s production ramps at both the Berlin and Austin Gigafactories should slow the company down enough for the German automaker to catch up.
“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,” Diess said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Volkswagen has chased after Tesla for several years, and now that the company has gained plenty of credibility after early woes with software and production, its leadership sees Tesla in its sights. Diess has been adamant that Tesla is the leader of the EV sector, and Musk has even commented that VW is number two. However, the two CEOs and friends still wish to outdo one another, attempting to push through the biggest bottlenecks in EV production and become the world’s unequivocal leader in EVs.
For Volkswagen and any other automaker, the biggest struggle currently is getting materials. Semiconductors have been the most popular part that automakers have struggled to get their hands on. Add in skyrocketing raw material prices and other part shortages and it makes production extremely difficult.
Tesla has another hurdle to jump through, and that’s ramping production of two new manufacturing plants that it opened this year. In Germany, Gigafactory Berlin gained approval early this year, with Gigafactory Texas in Austin launching production and deliveries in early April.
Diess seems to think that ramping these two factories is a weak point for Tesla. While initial production ramps can take about a year to complete and get a factory to full manufacturing capacity, it’s not necessarily a weakness for Tesla at the current time. Tesla is ramping a new battery format in Texas, which will eventually make its way to Berlin, and it will perhaps be the automaker’s biggest advantage through the rest of the decade.
Diess is confident Volkswagen will also make strides as soon as the second half of 2022. He said that VW is making more than ever, and its ramping volumes of EVs in Germany and China thanks to easing semiconductor shortages.
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