By launching in the market in 2020 100% electrical models starting from 30.000€, Volskwagen wants to transform electric cars in something normal and accessible to most Europeans. That is a clear goal, says the General Director of the brand in Portugal. The obstacles such as autonomy or the charging time will eventually solve themselves. Time is also the remedy to change not only attitudes, but also the use of cars that will no longer be an object of desire, to become a shared service integrated in other means of transportation.
What is the role of the car, taking into account that the use of public transportation and light vehicles are being incentivized?
The role of the car will be different, bit its main function, which is to give mobility to citizens, will remain as a basic need. The car is frequently seen as a congestion factor in urban settings, but with technological evolution, its mobility will be smarter. By becoming electric, shared and connected we will go towards a predominance of software over hardware. That will reflect not only in the product but mainly in a more rational and environmentally friendly use, allowing citizens to have access to mobility when and how they want it. Cars will be one of the options amongst other means of transportation that can be combined, alternated and coordinated according to the need and rhythms that the city life styles impose.
What social changes have to happen to go from good intentions to actual decarbonization?
Today, people are better informed and more conscious about the environmental impact of what they do. In the last decades we have been consuming a lot of energy and producing a lot of waste, but we are gaining conscience that it’s not sustainable to live this way. Therefore, everything that can lead to a more rational use of resources – increasingly less polluting resources – are well received. I think that societies have been reacting well to the urge to change behaviors, not only to invert the dynamic of global warming but also to improve quality of life.
How can car sharing gain space when there is so much possession feeling towards it?
I am convinced that it will be solved when people will start to understand that the advantages are not only environmental but also economical. For younger generations for example, the issue of property is no longer that important. We have the example of temporary renting from a few manufacturers that show us how there are clients that are willing to make that change, and that is a good sign.
Volkswagen is preparing to launch in Europe models that are 100% electric, SUV and ID, at accessible prices. What impact do you expect to make in the market?
Volkswagen announced its first ID that called ID.3, which is the first member of the ID family. The SUV will be the second model that will come out in winter 2020, that is, half a year after the ID.3, be that mainly a reaction to the demand in the European market. The SUV, in its many categories already represent 30% of sales and, being a growing phenomenon, Volkswagen couldn’t leave consumers without an answer also in the electric field, launching a model that is 100% electric. What Volskwagen is doing with the ID.3 is to put in the market a car with 550Km battery autonomy – it’s a significant fact – for a price starting 30.000€, showing that a 100% electric cars are at the reach of most European buyers.
Until when the prince, together with the autonomy issue, will be a big obstacle?
The price is still high, autonomy is still short and people are afraid to make big distances with an electric car. That has mainly to do with the charging network, which is still insufficient. While infrastructures will start to disseminate, it will be easier to make trips of 100 or 200km. The time for charging is also an obstacle – 15/30 minutes is very different from 3/4 hours. The good news is that the tendency is not only for prices to decrease, but also technology solving these obstacles. What Volkswagen is doing with the ID it’s precisely to democratize the electric vehicle that will no longer be for a minority, becoming a product produced in big quantities so to become something common in daily life.
That forces the market to react…
Yes, our strategy will force the market to react, and Volkswagen’s bet is very clear: we have the will to contribute for the massification of electric vehicles through concrete offers, appropriate for the market needs part of a process that is now irreversible.