The backing of German governments means Volkswagen’s all-out electric push is less risky than it appears – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – March 27, 2021)

Every traditional car company is rolling out electric vehicles – lots of them. But only one, Volkswagen, is betting the farm on EVs. The wholesale embrace of one technology seems like an astonishingly risky move. Even rival BMW thinks so.

Last week, VW, the world’s biggest automaker, unveiled its Tesla-killer strategy, though in reality the German company is already eating Tesla’s lunch in Europe. Last year, VW became the leading maker of EVs in Europe and sold more of them in that market than Tesla.

The next stage of its strategy is aimed at displacing Tesla as the global leader in battery-powered cars. VW boss Herbert Diess plans to surpass the California company in total EV sales by 2025, even as Elon Musk’s electric baby ramps up production in Europe and Asia.

More than a few analysts think the German company will reach that goal far earlier. If Tesla EVs are the industry’s road-going iPhones, VW is set to become its Samsung, they say.

The company’s plans are truly ambitious. It intends to spend €33-billion ($49-billion) in the next decade on EVs, equivalent to a quarter of its market value, which has climbed more than 100 per cent in the past year as its strategy captures the imagination of investors.

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