16 Dec 2020, 15:20
Benjamin Wehrmann

Volkswagen CEO Diess gets green light to implement ambitious e-car plans / Der Spiegel

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess has prevailed in an internal power struggle at Germany's largest carmaker, allowing him to pursue the company's ambitious e-mobility agenda as planned, Cora Werwitzke writes for The Volkswagen board has pledged "unconditional support" for Diess's strategy that includes own battery cell production, charging infrastructure expansion and cooperation with other carmakers that can use Volkswagen's e-car chassis. The company board also announced that Volkswagen's main factory in Wolfsburg will be restructured to become a highly automated model factory for the carmaker's electric models.

In a different article on news website Der Spiegel, Simon Hage writes that Volkswagen regards its plans for the Wolfsburg factory as a direct response to the new Berlin factory of US e-carmaker Tesla, with Diess reportedly saying his company would strive to "keep track with Tesla and perhaps even outperform them here and there." As part of its response to Tesla's entry into the German market, Volkswagen aspires to reduce the production time of its flagship e-car model ID.3 by half to about ten hours.

Diess has clashed with the company's works council in recent months, which feared that the CEO's push to transform Volkswagen into a fully-fledged e-carmaker and away from combustion engines will lead to significant job losses at the company. But a new study commissioned by VW suggests that the shift to e-mobility will lead to fewer job losses than previously feared. Volkswagen's 35-billion euro investment in e-mobility has also led to disputes with the car industry's umbrella organisation VDA, which contrary to its largest member insists that combustion engines powered with synthetic fuels will be needed in the future to achieve climate targets while maintaining the German car industry's competitiveness.

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