During his visit to Germany, Elon Musk made a final and surprising stopover in Wolfsburg in Lower Saxony after visits to Grünheide – the site of Tesla’s new Gigafactory – and meetings with the Federal Ministers Jens Spahn and Peter Altmaier. Late in the evening, according to the German daily Handelsblatt, VW boss Herbert Diess met Musk at the airport, where Diess had brought VW newest generation of electric vehicles, an ID.3 and even an ID.4, and let Musk test drive.
Now the rumor mill is speculating whether Tesla and VW perhaps plan a partnership or whether there are other reasons. The relationship between Musk and Diess is characterized by mutual sympathy. Diess definitely sees Musk and his performance with Tesla as a role model and regularly praises Tesla. Conversely, Musk shows Diess the appropriate respect for Diess when it comes to the Herculean task Diess has ahead of him with moving Volkswagen into the age of electric vehicles.
Since the last time the two met last year, the times were different. Tesla was still the junior, one year later Tesla is worth four times as much as Volkswagen and launched the Model Y. The Volkswagen group has launched the impressive Porsche Taycan, Volvo the Polestar and now VW the ID.3, which all turn out to be good alternatives to Tesla electric cars.
No wonder, then, that speculation is blossoming as to whether and what is to be interpreted into the visit to Wolfsburg. But one reason has not yet been mentioned. For years discussions about possible successors at Tesla for Musk have been coming up again and again. Musk, who besides Tesla is also CEO of SpaceX, Neuralink and The Boring Company, is also involved in other activities. From Hyperloop, Open.AI and interest in vaccines and other technologies, all of them are courting Musk’s attention and time.
With Tesla stabilizing as a company (certainly more so than fairly recently) and Musk’s interest in so many technological challenges, Musk might consider Diess as a possible successor at the top of Tesla. With the mutual respect shown to each other and at the same time to the political leaders in the VW group, Herbert Diess might have a personal interest in keeping this option open.
What do you think?
This article was also published in German.