“The Samsung of Electric Vehicles!”

Either Apple and/or Samsung are the go-to for anyone in the premium smartphones.

Apple is known for its “ecosystem” that integrates its hardware innovations like processor chips with its own operating system and app store that allows it to have a better control over its product, at the same time ensure that both the software and hardware go hand-in-hand. Though Google’s Android OS is more ubiquitous, Apple became the world’s most valuable company by building a dominant brand and ecosystem for which consumers are willing to pay much more.

Guess who’s the Apple in the EV space? It’s without a doubt Tesla!

With its work on the cool car key to the interior of Tesla cars, everything smells premium. Not to mention the software. One of the important elements of an EV is its software. Tesla vehicles regularly receives over-the-air software updates that add new features and functionality. Just like Apple, Tesla cars are not ubiquitous. They are available in only a handful of countries. and the output is just about a tenth of that produced by Volkswagen. But that did not stop it from becoming the most valuable car maker in the world!

Coming to the title of this story, The Samsung of the EV space is Volkswagen.

Detour:

They recently held their Power Day event. It unveiled its roadmap to having a better foothold in the EV space. Some of the highlights were: –

  • Unified cells that would reduce cost and complexity at the same time increase range and performance. With this, they aim to cut down battery cost(which in itself costs up to 30% of EVs) by up to 50%.
  • Six “Gigafactories” – Gigafactory is the name given by Tesla to its battery plants. VW has said it will build six battery plants across Europe by 2030 and has earmarked about $29 billion for that!
  • Charging Stations – VW intends to set up 18,000 public fast-charging points in operation in Europe, 3,500 in the US and about 17,000 in China all by 2025, by entering into partnerships with other players in the space.
  • Two-way Charging – Starting in 2022, vehicles built on VW’s modular MEB electric vehicle platform will support bidirectional, or two-way, charging. This will enable car owners to “become their own utility,”

VW is also backing a startup based in silicon valley called QuantumScape, which develops Solid State Batteries. QuantumScape says its solid-state batteries will represent a significant improvement over conventional lithium-ion batteries, enabling electric vehicles that can travel 80 percent further than an EV with a traditional battery.

Back to the main story:

Samsung is the biggest manufacturer of mobile phones. Though not the biggest, VW boasts to be the second biggest manufacturer of cars.

Samsung has an “edge”(pun intended) over every other smartphone in respect of their superior displays. They are the best in game. With its ambitious plan unveiled in the Power Day event, VW is really eying for the crown in the EV battery space.

Tussle In China

Recently, Government Officials in China were banned from owning Tesla cars. They are known to be stuffed with sensors here, there and everywhere in between. The government believes that Tesla may leak info to Uncle Sam! It does not look good for Tesla as China drives 12% of its sales!

On a different note, VW has cancelled its contract with 2 South Korean EV battery vendors – LG and SK. China, the world’s biggest car market and a key battleground for EV, is the winner in Volkswagen’s shift from the lighter pouch batteries. As well as its deal with CATL, Volkswagen told Reuters it planned to source batteries from Wanxiang A123 and Guoxuan High-tech Co Ltd.

Verdict

Though Tesla has an edge over every other player in the EV space due to its battery technology and the data trove that it has collected over the years, it has just produced about 1/10th of the cars produced by VW. With its massive scale and the ambitious plan to develop batteries, VW does seem to be a serious contender in the space.

Let time be the judge!

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Shreesha S
Shreesha writes about Business, Finance and Tech for The Snippets Journal. He is also the Founder and Head of Content Development.
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