Big Auto Continues To Discount Tesla And Claim They’ll Take The Lead

White Tesla Model X, Red Model S - Tesla showroom

NOV 16 2018 BY EVANNEX 49


Big Auto’s executives have a long history of taking shots at Tesla. Now, two industry giants, VW and GM, have decided to dismiss the Silicon Valley automaker altogether and claim they’ll (instead) lead the EV revolution. Yet, their braggadocio, somehow, doesn’t seem to add up.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Two of the industry’s biggest heavyweights, VW and GM, have dialed up their bold claims surrounding electric car efforts (Image: Kinibiz)

Larry Vellequette reports (via Automotive News Europe) that Volkswagen’s rhetoric about electric vehicles is “the direct result of a strategy shift that came after getting caught cheating on diesel-emissions testing.” Deflecting attention from the dieselgate scandal and recent cartel allegations, VW’s corporate communications vacillate wildly from reluctant-to-boastful when it comes to the company’s EV plans.

In a puzzling interview with VW’s Herbert Diess, the company’s CEO downplays the viability of the electric car explaining, “if you are still driving far distances, 20,000 or 30,000 miles [per year], it’s probably not the right car.” And with EVs, Deiss adds, “you’re driving on coal instead of oil, and it doesn’t make sense.” That said, he concedes, “Renewable energy is a must… [so] we will be very big in electric cars worldwide because we are very strong in China.”

Above: A look back at VW’s dieselgate scandal which likely sparked the company’s recent PR offensive touting their “support” for EVs (Youtube: The Verge)

Deiss admits, “[Electric car] sales are picking up. It’s not all over the place, but West Coast, if you go to a parking lot, you see already a decent mix of electric cars there. Most of them are probably Teslas, but what’s happening now is that the cars become so much better.” He continues, “I think we have the best setup strategy for the electric vehicles to come… We will be aggressive on the pricing. We will be much lower than Tesla.”

Meanwhile GM’s former bigwig, Bob Lutz, is consistently appearing on financial news shows in order to trash-talk Tesla. Recently he claimed, “Tesla is headed to the graveyard.” Do GM’s top brass feel the same way? Jamie Lareau (via Detroit Free Press) spoke with Mike Abelson, GM’s vice president of global strategy, for his take on EVs. He reports, “GM’s gasoline-powered cars and trucks will be the main revenue stream for the company for at least the next two decades,” according to Abelson.

Above: GM has no plans for electric pickup trucks (Image: Auto Express)

Yet, contradicting himself, Abelson adds, “We do believe we’ll lead the industry in EVs sometime in the next decade or so.” If that’s the case, will GM, perhaps, battle Tesla in market segments like pickup trucks. No. Abelson says, “There will not be any AV/EV pickups.” Nevertheless, it’s reported that, “GM is exploring all fronts in future mobility, including talking to companies working on flying cars.”


Source: Automotive News EuropeDetroit Free Press

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

Categories: Chevrolet, Tesla, Volkswagen

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49 Comments on "Big Auto Continues To Discount Tesla And Claim They’ll Take The Lead"

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It’s sad I love my Volt, too bad GM can’t see the change in focus, l never buy a gasser car / CUV again. I really wanted a Plug In Voltec Truck. They have all the pieces, I guess I’ll have to wait for Teala, orove to China, that won’t happen.

No need to be sad, just don’t take the demented bluster of (former)car CEO’s seriously. They tend to change their narrative frequently. Don’t know about hybrids but if Tesla shows there is a market for it GM will do electric trucks a few years later.

Listen, at least GM is talking.
Ford said Absolutely Nothing to their Shareholders.
You might as well sell Ford now.

And GM, if they think their timeline is 20 years, they’re done as well.
If they don’t have plans to replace Trucks with Electric in less than 10 years, they’re done as well.

Good think Tesla is creating American Jobs.
It’s time for workers to start moving to NV and CA for jobs NOW.

Ford will get by for some time on their trucks/SUVs, they still sell oh SO many of them. So many they think they don’t need cars anymore.

I know there’s been a survey about people expecting their next car will be electric, but I wonder what the percentage of people there are that will never buy a new ICE vehicle again? I’m one, and it seems you are too.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

We have 3 cars. One is an EV and in 2020 we will replace the second car with an EV then replace the third. No more ICE for us.

GM and flying cars? Really?

Talk about a desperate attempt to distract that despite good engineering GM is simply not competitive in EVs and really lacks the will to do anything except push and sell big, inefficient oil-burning trucks and SUVs.

I have said it all along that when GM refused to scale up their at one time class-leading Voltec system and start putting it into CUVs, SUVs, and trucks that GM had proved once again that they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

I think that you need to look at your title a little better. Which are the bigger companies? Isn’t Tesla valued more than most of the rest of them?

As to their claims, it’s about time to put up or shut up and go bankrupt.

Valuation is wall street guesstimation. We’re talking volume here. For exampl,e shit companies like Snap, Inc. are valued highly by those idiots 🙂

“if you are still driving far distances, 20,000 or 30,000 miles [per year], it’s probably not the right car.” What an absolute idiot. That’s completely OPPOSITE of why a fiscally conservative person buys an EV. Let’s see, 25,000 (average of his comment) divided by 30 mpg (I’ll be generous) is 833 gallons. 833 x $2.91 (avg. US price per gallon of gas) = $2,425. $2,425 divided by .12 cents (US national average kWh electricity) is 20,208 kWh. 20,208 kWh divided by 365 days, gives you 55.3 kWh per day, EVERY DAY of the year to equal the same price in electricity. That doesn’t even account for the 3 oil changes needed for the 25,000 miles of driving, which is another $120 – $150. That’s another 1100 kWh. Which is another 3 kWh per day of electricity. $30 for smog is another 250 kWh in electricity. That’s another .7 kWh per day. Totaled up that’s almost 60 kWh per day that an EV would have to consume for an ICE just to break even. AND this discussion doesn’t even factor in any of the free charging currently available via Supercharging network, and other Level 2 destination chargers found all over. Those… Read more »

I think your response follows the Mark Twain quote about never arguing with an idiot. These PR guys are complete liars.

I like the simpler argument. I can charge at off peak hours at 0.07$/kWh. So basically I buy a “gallon of gas” for less than 2.40$. Imagine the line at the pump if someone was offering that 50 cent discount all day every day.

Now the real zinger is that I also am averaging 170 mpg (5 miles/kWh). Even Bob Lutz thinking ca’t do much to blunt that argument.

Thank you. And I agree, folks like we’re talking about aren’t really interested in a viable solution, they simply go through life desperately trying to prop up their confirmation bias, nothing more.

You passed the 5th grade and can still do math.
Did you just use multiply?
Most Americans???

But seriously, he’s using YEARLY mileage instead of DAILY mileage.
That’s a tell he’s out of touch.

If you want to use daily mileage, 25,000/365 is 68.5 miles per day. Doable with about any electric car out there charging only at night. (Sorry, not Smart).

Not sure if you’re taking a shot at me or not for breaking down the numbers for someone who maybe is new to this site and was seeking information on EV’s. Forgive me, I had trouble following your 2nd grade sentences.

At 3.5mi/kWh your 20,000kWh drive you 70,000mi. No matter how you spin it, EV’s rock!

To all the naysayers:

WV will be the leader in electric mobility. Diess is a visionary that has always advocated for EVs. The fact that he mentions coal is not to discourage from buying EVs but to encourage a change to renewable energy sources.

I laugh when folks like you pull the old switch-eroo and act like we’re the ones without the vision. Simply because we point out the flaws in the continued base-less claims that companies like GM and VW continue to roll out- especially against companies like Tesla, who are currently building what they claim. I drive a Tesla, it exists. It’s not vaporware. Can the same be said for those you carry water for? And merely sprinkling in ‘feel good’ sentiments, like changing to renewables, in the middle of a defense for sticking to ICE doesn’t work for all of us.

You can laugh all you want, but David H has a point. Herbert Diess was development leader and driving force behind the BMW i3 and i8. Both cars, but the i3 especially, were pioneers in the EV market. The i-program stalled only after Diess left for Volkswagen.

Now I have little sympathy for VW, but you got to have some respect for Diess selling an electric future to its main share holders, the Porsche/Piech family (never interested in electrified drive trains), a Qatari investment fund (oil money) and a German federal state (mainly interested in job security). Before Diess VW EV’s were all about compliance, but now they seem deadly serious about producing a whole lot of them. Maybe not as soon as you wished, but they are coming.

And sure, Diess is a difficult situation, because he has to protect current interests (in diesel), deal with the ongoing aftermath of dieselgate (in which he personally played no role) and gamble on an uncertain future. One small mistake and he is out, and it’s doubtful his successor will be just as EV-minded.

i3 and i8 pioneers in the EV market? LOL

If Diess is walking such a tightrope between developing his passion for EV’s vs. keeping his job, maybe he should follow his heart instead of his wallet an join a company that actually values the EV technology. Everyone at the tip of the EV spear has taken a huge leap of faith, if the product/idea is successful, the money will follow. There’s no gun to his head.

Oh, and the BMW i3 and especially the i8 as “pioneers” is laughable, at best, to some of us.

Diess probably chose the job where he thought he could have the biggest impact. It’s alright to choose your heroes and I’m not trying to take anything away from the people who choose a different approach. But you have to be realistic. Elon Musk said he wanted to change the world of personal transport and Diess is one of the people who is going to facilitate that change. Yes, he has said (and will say in the future) things that sound obnoxious to EV fanatics, but that is unavoidable from the position where he is in. His track record is very clear: he started the EV-revolution in BMW, a company who’s DNA revolves around the internal combustion engine and he changed the mindset at VW from “the diesel revival is starting soon” (Diess’ predecesor Mathias Muller said that early this year!) to “we’re going to lead in EV’s” in no time. Again, personally I probably won’t ever buy a VW car in my lifetime, electric or not, but that antipathy doesn’t stop me from seeing what’s really happening. About the i3. It came on the market a few months after the Model S, so it’s one of the first serious… Read more »

Ok. And thanks for keeping it constructive. Regardless if I agree with you or not, you appear to do your homework and I appreciate having dialogue with folks who bring up aspects I didn’t necessarily know. Have a great weekend!

“WV will be the leader in electric mobility.”

Yeah… real soon now. 🙄 They are already far and away the leader in electric mobility vaporware!

But actions speak louder than words. VW’s actions in this market are a mere whisper, and an especially soft one at that.

“if you are still driving far distances, 20,000 or 30,000 miles [per year], it’s probably not the right car.”

That. Right there. Proves that they don’t get it. When you drive a lot of km, that’s when you buy an EV and save a boatload on petrol. Plus the convenience of never visiting a petrol station, you start each morning with a full battery. And a more pleasurable, less fatiguing ride for those spending a lot of time behind the wheel is very welcome too.

When you do few km’s per year, then the EV (for now) is more of a principle choice because you’ll have a long way to go to recoup the extra cost, both in financial and environmental terms.

(sorry John, saw just after posting this that you made the same point already)

No worries. And I have to say, that even if someone only drives fewer miles, that an EV still makes sense now, simply because there’s so many used EV’s now. A nice, used Volt can be had for $10k, considering the savings start immediately and Volts run forever.

Last month a friend picked up his new Model 3. I saw him yesterday and he has driven 4000 miles in the first month. He is saving A LOT of cash.

Note to staff. What’s it with German names. You make a sport of it to misspell them don’t you? 😉

It’s Diess not Deiss.

Come on man, don’t Diss! (See what I did?)

It has to be Dis, Dat, or the De other.

You making me Dizzy wid all de Dis and Dat.

And you, too

i see what you did!

Well, I do not really trust VW. Nevertheless VW has certainly the money and the people for that kind of effort. So I have worries that VW will be a leading EV manufactuerer starting from 2020.

Don’t worry, it would be a good thing. Because it would mean that VW actually delivered. And if/when that happens, the EV tide rises, again!

There’s an old saying that talk is cheap, I would update that by adding, but cheating on vehicle emissions tests isn’t.

Bob Lutz is confusing Tesla with himself RE: graveyards.

The contradiction, misinformation and general drunkenness of their narrative made me lose 13 IQ points this morning.

I thought execs were supposed to be smart. How foolish of me.

It’s probably easy to make that claim when Tesla has opened up their patents for others to use. Is that option still on the table? In which case, they can just copy copy copy. It’s worked well for China.

Tesla patents are free with an important caveat, the automaker also has to provide free use of all their patents to Tesla. An exchange. This is a good deal for small companies that do not have a large portfolio of patents, but unlikely to be agreed upon by any large legacy auto company.

Bingo. Very few people have read the fine print of Tesla’s patent pledge. That “free” use of Tesla’s patents comes with a lot of strings attached!

Well I think Tesla upgraded parts of the line, because Musk said the other day that they want production to be 7,000 a week by the end of this month.

This is exactly what most of us here been saying all along!
How can we trust VW will make a bazillion ev in the next __________[insert you desired time frame] when their fricking bosses keep bashing them and give reasons not to make them?!

Now that Tesla sells cars in significant numbers, is it “big auto” yet?

Tesla makes only one single model selling in more than modest numbers. That’s not the sign of a “big auto” company. Tesla is a small auto maker growing into a medium-sized one.

But if Tesla keeps growing at the rate they have been since 2012, it won’t be many more years before they are indeed “Big Auto”!

Yup, any day now… you wait… almost… real soon, then you Teslas will be sorry… yup, here it comes… 2-5 years… yup

I used to like the path that Tesla was on – that of making cars many people could afford: Roadster S 3 – BEST in affordability. (I discount the X since it is usually SO Expensive – most seem to go for $133,000 or more – much more than the $89 – $109,000 Roadster – (Musk increased the price after accepting non-refundable deposits – so in that sense I consider the car moderately priced). Since the “X” has the WORST reliability (per CR) of any passenger vehicle, I can’t really consider it very affordable since you have to plan on trading it in often, or if out of warranty, plenty of repair expenses. Depending on the Price, the SEMI, if and when it appears, could be considered reasonably price, especially with Musk’s $.07 /kwh offer, if that still stands. But the New Roadster, and new $200,000 pickup truck that only Andre the Giant needs is not tapping a mainstream market and therefore major automakers couldn’t care less about them… Too Bad. Who would have thought that Tesla would specialize in vehicles only the rarefied few could afford? The downside here is, without Tesla making competing vehicles to the big automakers,… Read more »

Seems rather unfair to hang “Dinosaur Bob” Lutz’s outdated, embarrassing and often downright clownish Tesla bashing around GM’s neck like an albatross. Bob hasn’t worked at GM for some time now, and other people are running GM these days.

However, I agree with the main thrust of this article: Legacy auto makers have been talking about overtaking Tesla for several years now, but not a one of them has committed the resources necessary to do so.

And it’s very far from surprising that none of them have. In fact, it was and is entirely predictable; see The Innovator’s Dilemma.

Gm is not even doing anything!!!!!! They promised like 18 Evs by 2023….BUT THEY ONLY HAVE ONE EV IN USA AND CANADA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gm needs to step up their game even though I think I am being to harsh on gm. Also the first car I rode in was a gm. A gasoline one. I love evs but for us car guys, gasoline cars will always stay safe in our ♥️s.