The electric vehicle (“EV”) industry as we know it probably wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). When the California-based EV maker first unveiled the Tesla Roadster in 2008, the Toyota Prius was the only vehicle on the market that had an electric motor. The Roadster was the first highway-legal, mass-produced all electric vehicle and, interestingly, the first production vehicle to be launched into deep space. More than a decade later after the Roadster revolutionized vehicular transportation, Tesla is the largest EV maker and the most valuable car company in the world.
Without a doubt, Tesla is at the top of the EV game. Volkswagen boss Herbet Diess is of the same opinion, recently stating that Tesla, which recently joined the exclusive trillion-dollar club, is setting the global standard for electric vehicles. Tesla’s CEO and multibillionaire Elon Musk recently spoke to Volkswagen executives via video link, with Diess confirming that Musk accepted his invite on Twitter and in a LinkedIn post. He said that Musk and the VW executives had a nice dialogue and that the auto industry has no choice but to accept that, at least for the moment, Tesla sets the new benchmarks for electric vehicle technology.
Before Tesla exploded onto the scene, no one had tried to mass produce a highway-ready electric vehicle. With the Roadster and later offerings such as the Model S, Model 3 and Model Y, the California-based carmaker has set the standard for not just groundbreaking technology but also design, productivity and speed, Diess said. Like most established automakers, Volkswagen also plans to steadily electrify its vehicle lineups over the next few decades. The German automaker announced in July that it expects one-half of its vehicle sales to be all electric by 2030 and that by 2040, nearly 100% of its vehicle sales will consist of zero-emission vehicles.
Diess acknowledges that Tesla will be a formidable competitor for the German firm as it begins its foray into the nascent electric vehicle space. Tesla’s gigafactory Berlin-Bradenburg in Grünheide, which is currently under construction, is just a few hours’ drive from Volkswagen’s home base in Wolfsburg. Diess says that he appreciates the American company’s entry into Germany and, while Musk and Tesla will present a significant challenge, VW will strive to catch up to and surpass the company. Back in March, the VW boss said that the German automaker had no plans of partnering with Tesla in the future.
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