Jürgen Stackmann, head of sales and marketing for Volkswagen, says his company it prepared to lead the way forward for electric cars and autonomous cars. He make it clear that VW is not in awe of such high tech challengers as Apple or Google. (Notice he left Tesla Motors out of the discussion.) “Newcomers will see opportunities in the current climate, and we are not afraid to face the challenge from them,” he said.
Stackmann said he believes an industry-changing car will be launched within a decade, combining a full electric powertrain with a widespread inductive charging network, a fully internet-enabled cabin and autonomous driving features. At that point “the dots are connected, and the car maker that gets there first wins. But the challenge for the start-ups is meeting the quality levels that the car industry is so well practiced in, from 10 year durability standards to building car after car to the same levels.”
Stackman says Volkswagen’s size and experience will carry the day against the newcomers. He boasts that VW has 40,000 engineers, more substantial access to resources, and can make innovations at more competitive prices. “What’s clear is that today we have expertise in hugely complex areas, like developing engines and gearboxes, that start-up companies will not have to worry about, because electrical powertrains require a different kind of complexity. There could be a race between the hardware and software makers to find out who emerges on top in the car industry.”
Volkswagen intends to have a fully connected electric car with 300 miles of range that can be recharged in 15 minutes on the market by the end of this decade. That car will sell for less than the price of a conventional car, Stackman says. Those are brave words that may be intended to cast a few rays of sunshine into the gloom cast by Volkswagen’s diesel cheating scandal. That debacle could drain up to $20 billion from company coffers, money that could have been used to develop the technology Volkswagen will need to be competitive in the future. Stackman’s comments may sound a little like whistling past the graveyard to some.
Source: Autocar via Inside EVs