With a Blockbuster Week, VW Has Ignited a New Phase in the Electric War

A multifront race in batteries, plants, and to be #2 behind Tesla

Steve LeVine
The Mobilist
Published in
6 min readMar 19, 2021

--

Tesla Battery Day, Sept. 22, 2020, Musk, right, with battery head Drew Baglino. Photo: Tesla

In six months, the world of automobiles has raced decades ahead: From a mere aspiration, the mass-market electric vehicle is at once a very real object planned for deployment in three or four years by nearly every automaker on the planet. Batteries thought to be fanciful are ready to be scaled up and put into those vehicles. And logistics experts who typically spend years crafting intricate supply lines for global trade are scrambling to organize everything from mines, to parts-makers, factories, and fast-charging stations — all in the next few years.

As bookends, this whirlwind period began and ended with events commemorating the battery.

In September, attention was riveted on an almost unknown battery company called QuantumScape, which presumptuously said that it was going public at an astronomical valuation of $3.3 billion and then did so. A couple of weeks later, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, holding forth at a rock concert-like lollapalooza that he, with deceptive understatement, called “Battery Day,” unveiled top-to-bottom upgrades of his battery and its ecosystem. He said the changes would knock an astonishing 56% off the battery’s cost. Suddenly, the sub-$25,000 EV…

--

--

Steve LeVine
The Mobilist

Editor at Large, Medium, covering the turbulence all around us, electric vehicles, batteries, social trends. Writing The Mobilist. Ex-Axios, Quartz, WSJ, NYT.