In a new race against Tesla, Volkswagen is apparently defeated before it really started: In November 2020, about two months after Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a new model at his Battery Day for 2023 for $ 25,000. VW circles announced plans for a similarly affordable electric car – there was talk of 25,000 euros and perhaps as early as 2023. In an interview, the CEO of the VW brand has now confirmed that such a vehicle will come, even with a price closer to 20,000 euros. But he did not name the starting year until 2025 – and the head of the entire Volkswagen Group provided some kind of explanation for it.
Wolfsburg should face the Tesla Gigafactory
In a current interview with Ralf Brandstätter, who replaced his Group boss Herbert Diess as CEO of the core brand Volkswagen in July 2020, it was mainly about another new electric car: On Neo, from which the specially developed MEB platform with the ID.3 as the first model emerged on it, Trinity should follow by 2026, he told the automobile week. This electric car is intended as an “innovation leader” for VW with an internally developed operating system, and the Wolfsburg plant will become “a flagship for efficient production”.
A little later, Volkswagen CEO Diess commented on this project – as he has been doing now and then on Twitter. And as it is now almost his habit, he took a sidelong glance at Tesla: It is not easy to compete with Wolfsburg as one of the oldest VW locations against a completely new factory in Grünheide. Of course, he was referring to the emerging Tesla gigafactory near Berlin. But this challenge will be met, wrote Diess.
VW electric car for 20,000-25,000 euros
As Brandstätter then explained in an interview with the newspaper Welt, an entry-level price of 35,000 euros is being sought for the Trinity electric car, a little above the currently cheapest version of the VW ID.3, which has been available to order since this week. And he told the world as well as before the automobile week that a year before Trinity, i.e. 2025, a smaller electric VW should come from Wolfsburg. He named the price below 25,000 euros with a tendency towards 20,000 euros. The brand boss is likely to mean the model that was reported on in November after the Tesla announcement. Instead of postponing the project, according to Brandstätter, VW even brought the project forward – from 2027 to 2025.
But even with this, the new electric entry-level VW should come after the little Tesla even if Musk overshoots the start mentioned by a year. And in a somewhat cryptic Twitter message this week, CEO Diess also provided a possible explanation for this: If small electric cars are desired, they need the right political framework, he wrote. Specifically, a higher CO2 price of 100 euros per ton is needed if they are to become cheaper than combustion engines, but by which he seemed to mean the selling price, not the total costs. In response to a request from teslamag.de, he initially did not explain how higher CO2 taxes should make combustion cars more expensive to buy and / or make electric cars cheaper.