Volkswagen wants to beat Tesla at its own game

The German giant aims to become the "leader" of electric vehicle sales by 2025.

Volkswagen

Tesla is making waves as the only automaker devoted solely to electric vehicles, but once the industry's heavy hitters step in, it's going to be a whole different game.

Herbert Diess, Volkswagen's brand chief, believes the German automaker can beat Tesla at its own game once it settles into its plan to sell a whole bunch of electric cars, the Financial Times reports. "Anything Tesla can do, we can surpass," Diess said in Germany at a press conference.

"[Tesla] is a competitor we take seriously. Tesla comes from a high-priced segment, however they are moving [to less expensive cars]," Diess continued. "It's our ambition, with our new architecture, to stop them there, to rein them in."

If you think well-heeled hippies are into Tesla's cars, just wait until they're offered an electric VW bus.

Volkswagen

The hope is that Volkswagen will achieve electric vehicle sales of 1 million units by 2025. Volkswagen has already introduced a single EV platform, nicknamed MEB, which will underpin a number of different electric vehicles across its many brands, including Audi and VW itself.

VW already touted the MEB platform's flexibility in the past year as it showed off several different concepts. It started with the ID concept, which is about the size of a modern Golf. From there, it unveiled the ID Buzz concept, which replaced the small hatchback with a larger, minivan-like body. Its latest ID concept, the ID Crozz, took the same platform and adapted it to fit a crossover body. Clearly, it's flexible.

One million EV sales by 2025 is a solid goal, but if Tesla's production ramp-up goes as planned, it won't be enough to claim the crown. With Model 3 production slated to begin later this year, Tesla hopes to boost its assembly volume to 5,000 cars per week later this year and ideally doubling that by 2018. That would put Tesla at 500,000 cars produced per year a full seven years ahead of VW's goal. Of course, that assumes Tesla has the demand to meet those production targets.

Tesla has long been praised for doing things differently to traditional automakers. But now the industry is finally reaching the point where we'll be able to see who can do this whole EV thing better -- the stalwarts, or the upstarts.

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