As cities all over the world look at ways to combat rising pollution levels, giant German automaker Volkswagen goes all in on electric as a transitional period of necessary change comes to the car industry.
No, these are not the words of democratic demagogue and enemy of the Fox people, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but it is the sentiment outlined for the future of the automotive industry by the CEO of one of the world’s largest car manufacturers.
Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen, speaking at the Geneva Motor Show had this to say on how his company envisions the future:
We are really getting into a transition period of the automotive industry and, reading between the lines of all the communications our competitors are doing, it will be tough times because we have to invest in new technology, not only electric drive trends but autonomous driving, connectivity.
Volkswagen showed that they plan to put their money where their mouth is on this claim by announcing a $50 billion plan to invest in new plants, electric cars, autonomous driving and mobility services. With this investment, VW aims to become the most profitable electric car company in the world.
While President Trump has since walked back his denials of climate change, he has persisted with the argument that the serious environmental issues the world is facing are not necessarily related to man-made causes such as emissions from fossil fuels.
It would appear that the heads of two of the biggest car makers in the world are not necessarily in agreement with President Trump’s views. In December of 2018, it was announced that VW and Ford are set to enter into an unprecedented alliance that would see the two companies join forces to tackle the challenges facing their rapidly changing industry.
One of the key elements expected to be part of the deal will be a cooperative effort to bring to market electrified and autonomous vehicles, an undertaking that both companies have already spent billions of dollars developing.
With Elon Musk at the helm, there is barely a day where Tesla doesn’t figure heavily in the news.
Like or loathe the man, it is undoubtedly true that Tesla has been one of the driving forces behind the continuing surge in the mass adoption of electric vehicles across the world. In 2018, three of the top five best-selling electric vehicles were Teslas.
Tesla leads the way in electric vehicles and seems to have little intention of slowing down anytime soon, as was evidenced with the recent announcement of the company’s new Model Y crossover SUV, but the major players are clearly gearing up for a massive shift across to electric.
Whatever your personal opinion on the current state of the world’s environmental situation, there is now a clear and concerted event from major cities to clean up their air.
According to recent research, air pollution kills more than three times as many people as AIDS, malaria, and TB combined. Whatever the causes, this is a situation that needs dealing with.
A shift in public opinion on an acceptance of the real dangers we are facing with pollution, plus an increase in local regulations, is forcing those in the automotive industry to make the move over to electric.
London is a city that is particularly focussed on improving its air quality. With a congestion charge already having been in place for a number of years, the city has now decided that further measures are needed to tackle the increasingly poor quality of the air in the U.K. capital.
An ultra-low emission zone will come into effect in London in April, with the hope that the plan will reduce harmful emissions by as much as 45 percent.
Some European cities are even planning to go so far as to completely ban harmful emission producing cars from the streets of city centers. Initiatives like this are already underway in Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam, and Oslo, with many cities all over the world taking note and looking to introduce similar schemes.
Whether you are a Green New Deal AOC advocate or a petrol-head, a $50 billion investment from one of the world’s biggest car makers in electric is a sure sign that change is on the horizon whatever your political persuasion.
The automotive world as we know it today will look vastly different in 5 to 10 years time. Hopefully, the quality of our air will do too.