Categories: Environment

Volkswagen says China is ‘two to three years ahead’ in electric cars

Compared to the United States and China, Europe is lagging behind in the field of electric cars, and Volkswagen is worried about this.

A resounding warning is ringing out across the European auto industry as China maintains its leadership in the electric car sector. Ralf Brandstätter, member of the Volkswagen management board in charge of China, issued the alert, urging Europe to act quickly so as not to be left behind by China and the United States in the race to electrification.

“Europe must act, because the United States is also working on it”, said Ralf Brandstätter in an interview with AFP. He cited the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a US initiative to repatriate the production stages of electric vehicles to the continental United States, as an example of the US effort in this area.

Already too late?

Selon Ralf Brandstaetter, “Europe has been slightly ahead” in the transition to electric mobility. The head of Volkswagen underlined the absence of a holistic approach on the Old Continent, involving full coordination between companies, research, securing raw materials and intermediate products.

On the other hand, China has for several years been implementing a “ecosystem for electric motorization”including the production of batteries and materials for batteries. Volkswagen is looking to tap into this ecosystem to strengthen its position in Chinawhere approximately 40% of its sales are made.

Although Volkswagen was the leader in the internal combustion engine market in China the previous year, the group held only 3.1% of the market for electric vehicles, far behind Chinese competitors such as BYD (18%) and the American Tesla (8 .7%).

Volkswagen prepares its weapons

To reverse this trend, Volkswagen plans to strengthen its strategy “in China for China” by locating manufacturing and design on Chinese territory. This decision would reduce the time needed to introduce new products on the Chinese market by 30%, according to Ralf Brandstätter. The group has already entered into several partnerships with Chinese companies, including Horizon Robotics, a specialist in artificial intelligence.

Volkswagen’s latest announcements this summer demonstrate its commitment to China, with brands such as Volkswagen and Audi partnering with Chinese automakers XPeng and SAIC, respectively, to jointly develop electric vehicles for the Chinese market. This strategy aims to create a certain “self-sufficiency” of Volkswagen’s activities in China, which would make the group “more resilient in the face of possible political measures stemming from geopolitical tensions. »

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