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Is Volkswagen to beat Tesla at its own game?

Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept — Picture courtesy of Volkswagen
Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept — Picture courtesy of Volkswagen

NEW YORK, July 12 — By the time Volkswagen begins delivering its first standalone battery-powered electric car in 2020, Tesla expects to be building and selling at least one million units of its own electric vehicles per year. Despite this, Volkswagen believes it’s still better placed than Tesla to become the dominant force in the global automotive market when it comes to all-electric vehicles.

Herbert Diess, who’s in charge of the VW Group’s namesake brand, believes that what Volkswagen lacks in first-mover advantage compared to Tesla can be more than made up for by its global scale and its greater manufacturing expertise and experience.

Volkswagen finally overtook Toyota last year to become the world’s biggest automaker, and the company has now set its sight on going a significant step further by becoming the industry’s dominant force in making electric vehicles accessible to the mass market.

In an interview given by Diess in Finland recently, he stated: “We see Volkswagen as the company that can stop Tesla, because we have abilities Tesla doesn’t have today.”

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk has certainly captured the appetite and imagination of consumers with the Model S sedans and Model X SUV, but he and his company have been unable to shake repeated questions about how the ambitious production pledges for coming years can be met. This could provide at least an edge for companies like Volkswagen, who produces more units of its various brands in just two days than Tesla managed to produce and sell in the whole of last year.

Diess recently confirmed that VW has now signed off on the final design of the electric I.D. lineup’s first model, which is to be a hatchback along similar lines to the company’s best-selling Golf. Currently going under the name Neo, this first standalone all-electric model will be initially aimed at the European market. VW wants to price it as close as possible to the diesel versions of the Golf, but what would really be the headline feature of the Neo is the proposed 600-kilometre (370-mile) range on a full battery.

By 2023 there should also be the Crozz compact crossover for a global audience, as well as a larger, more spacious family SUV called the Lounge. The last of the confirmed electric models will be the Aero-e, which will be a sporty four-door sedan aimed squarely at competing with Tesla’s Model S. — AFP-Relaxnews

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