Volkswagen Is Copying The Tesla Playbook

Illustration for article titled Volkswagen Is Copying The Tesla Playbook
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Volkswagen has something called Power Day coming up on Monday, which might remind you of a certain other automaker’s event last September, which was called Battery Day. According to a new report, the events will be probably similar, in that Volkswagen is set to announce plans of a massive expansion of its battery supply.


Reuters reports that Volkswagen plans to source 300 gigawatt hours of battery cells every year by the time that the expansion is complete, in 2030. To put that in context, Volkswagen thinks demand will be up to 150 gigawatt hours by 2025.

The supply chain update is part of the world’s second-largest carmaker’s strategy to raise the share of fully electric vehicles in Europe to more than 70% by 2030 at its core brand, details of which were unveiled last week.

So far, Volkswagen, which sources batteries from LG Chem, Samsung SDI, SK Innovation and CATL, expects annual demand in Europe to be more than 150 GWh from 2025 and to be at a similar level in Asia.

Current demand is still low given that electric vehicle sales are still quite modest.


Bernstein analyst Arndt Ellinghorst reckons Volkswagen needs 420 GWh worth of battery cells globally by 2030 if it wants to sell 7 million battery electric vehicles, requiring more than 20 billion euros ($23.8 billion) in annual spending.

Volkswagen didn’t comment to Reuters, and it hasn’t returned my email (I will update this post if it does). I will say that I don’t think Volkswagen copying Tesla — either with big events or with its autos, since the ID.4 is very obviously a response to the Model Y — is the worst thing in the world, considering how successful Tesla has been, though the ID.4 still is probably not good enough to beat the Y.

What I can say for sure is that Volkswagen has the resources to stay in this fight for the long-term, so just because the ID.4 isn’t good enough — for now — means we are still at the beginning. Volkswagen is a heavyweight, the world’s biggest automaker by some measures. The ID.3 or ID.4 were never going to be the second coming of the Beetle, despite that being the expectation in some corners, but what they can be are experiments that Volkswagen learns from.

Remember, Teslas weren’t very good either in the early years; some say it still hasn’t quite got there.

News Editor at Jalopnik. 2008 Honda Fit Sport.


GMT800 Tahoe Guy

Look, I’ll be the first to point out that for most of the last 20 years, it was usually a bad faith argument that the mining of the minerals necessary for EV batteries made them worse for the environment over the full vehicle lifespan than the average economy ICE.

But holy fuck, there is no way we are getting the shit out of the ground to meet this demand without creating an ecological disaster.