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by Claribelle Deveza November 13, 2019

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess thanked Elon Musk for pushing and pulling Germany’s auto industry towards the era of electric vehicles. At the Golden Steering Wheel Awards, Diess and Musk talked about the EV revolution and how Tesla’s presence is keeping it alive. Their brief discussion showed that there is no malice between the two car companies.

Herbert Diess gave Elon Musk and everyone at Tesla due credit for pushing for EV transition in the car industry. Diess was asked up on stage during the Golden Steering Award, where he expressed his feelings about Elon Musk, Tesla, and the EV revolution.

According to Volkswagen’s CEO, he shares the same vision as Musk. Like Tesla’s CEO, Diess also believes that the only way to hit the Earth’s CO2 goals and reduce carbon emissions is through electric vehicles. He agrees that cars should always be connected to the internet, be really safe, as well as totally environmentally friendly. He thanked Elon Musk for pushing the boundaries of the car industry, specifically in Germany.

Following Diess’s kind words about Tesla and its CEO, the host asked Elon Musk why Germany seemed so far behind in EV tech. The question seemed like an attempt to trigger a debate of sorts between the two CEOs. However, Elon revealed how empathetic he was towards his competitors. He explained the reasons Tesla had such a hard time puncturing the market and why it still has many obstacles to overcome.

“Germany is not that far behind. It's always difficult when there’s a lot of momentum around old technology. There's a lot of infrastructure, a lot of capital that’s tied up to all the old technology. When you have a new technology, the market is unproven. So, then you say, does it really make sense to place a bet on this technology that is unproven,” Tesla’s CEO said.

When Tesla first emerged, Musk said everyone thought they were fools. He admitted that the same thought crossed his mind in the early days of Tesla. However, Tesla’s foolishness is the very attribute that led them to innovate in the car industry.

When the Tesla Model 3 won the Golden Steering Award on November 12, applause filled the room at Auto BILD's event. After Elon Musk accepted the award, a judge explained why Tesla’s sedan won the Golden Steering Wheel for the mid-size sedan segment.

“Tesla Model 3 was the biggest surprise in the test field. Tesla Model 3 is cool, but you don’t get points for being cool. Scores for agility, equipment, and low cost of ownership. Tesla Model 3 collected more points than any other finalist. It’s a great achievement with all the competition in Germany,” he said.

The judge’s words can only be described as undeniably true, especially for Tesla enthusiasts. Long-time supporters of Elon Musk and his electric car company have always recognized the ground-breaking work Tesla and its workers have contributed to the future of the car industry. During the Golden Steering Wheel Awards, Diess and the many automakers who attended the BILD event outwardly acknowledged Tesla’s contributions and thanked Elon Musk for it.

The talk between Volkwagen’s CEO and Tesla’s CEO reveals that there might not be bad blood between car companies. Competition is good for business and good for consumers. By disrupting the market and making traditional car brands reimagine the automobile, Tesla and Elon Musk have pushed the industry to become better, and Herbert Diess recognized that.

"This evening is very important because you now see electric cars very competitive [and] wining…an open competition. That’s why Tesla is very important for us because Elon is demonstrating that it works…I’m happy that Elon is pulling us but I think German industry is really now strongly investing [in electric vehicles] and we will keep you alert,” VW's CEO said.

Diess ended the discussion with a challenge. With it, Diess reminded Tesla and Elon Musk that the world didn't see them as fools anymore and that they have some good-natured competition coming.


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