German car maker Volkswagen believes it can catch up to electric car pioneer Tesla within three years, or even sooner, according to Bernd Osterloh, the head of Volkswagen Work Council.
Speaking to German news site Welt am Sonntag, the council chairman said that he believes Volkswagen has every chance of achieving the task as it releases its the ID.3 electric hatch, which will be followed shortly by the ID.4 electric crossover.
“We are now in the middle of the electrification of our fleet,” Osterloh was quoted as saying.
“If Tesla builds three factories in which you can build between 300,000 and 500,000 cars, then we’re talking about a number between 900,000 and 1.5 million,” he said.
“We want to achieve that in 2023, probably sooner.”
Tesla reported in July that it had production capacity for 690,000 electric cars in total from its Fremont and Shanghai factories, and that this would increase to 790,000 by the end of 2020.
While it had only produced around 180,000 vehicles in the first half of 2020, its fourth Berlin electric car factory, which will output of 500,000 vehicles a year, is also set to be fully approved by the end of 2020.
It also has a fifth factory planned for Austin, Texas, at which it will make the Cybertruck.
Volkswagen has fully converted its Zwickau factory and in June rolled the last combustion vehicle ever off its factory floor.
It currently makes the electric Gold at Wolfsburg, and as of December 2019 had produced 100,000 of them.
Commendable, but a long way off the million electric vehicles Tesla achieved when it rolled a Model Y off the Fremont factory floor in March 2020.
As The Driven reported on Tuesday, the ID.3 caught the attention of Tesla boss Elon Musk during a recent visit to Germany in which he stopped to meet with Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess.
Volkswagen’s electric car ambitions are huge as it endeavours to redeem itself from the 2015 Dieselgate scandal, and it has its eyes on meeting – or even exceeding – the massive scale of volume electric car production planned by Tesla, which has disrupted the global auto industry with its Model 3 electric sedan.
In 2018 Diess said that Volkswagen was planning to make 15 million electric vehicles, and that he believed that the German car maker would sell them for half the price of Tesla.
But he has also noted that Tesla is ten years ahead of the 83-year-old German car maker in terms of electric car production and software.
Osterloh’s comments on Sunday reiterate the ambitions of Volkswagen, shares for which have not yet recovered from the economic dip caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
He noted the company’s modular electric vehicle platform, which he said can underpin “any vehicle of any brand”, referring to the group’s stable of 12 well-established European car names including Porsche, Audi, Skoda, Seat and of course VW.
While Volkswagen is the third most valuable car maker in the world by market cap, it is currently worth less than a third of Tesla at which has increased in value by 1000% since September 2019, 12 months ago.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.