“We need a master plan!”

Thomas Ulbrich, the Board Member responsible for e-mobility at Volkswagen, promotes a collaboration between the automotive industry and politicians in Berlin. There he addressed the congress of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) – and met with members of Germany’s Green party, also known as "Bündnis 90/Die Grünen".

An electrifying executive: Thomas Ulbrich, Board Member responsible for e-mobility.

Thomas Ulbrich is a man on a mission. This is underlined by the fact that he was brimming with energy while recently addressing the assembled mobility industry, media representatives and politicians at the Technical Congress of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) in Berlin, during which he spoke out in favor of a joint collaboration: “We are serious about our e-offensive. But we can’t do it all by ourselves, we have to work together.” Many – but not all – heads in audience nodded in approval. It was one of many days during which Ulbrich, the Board Member responsible for e-mobility at the Volkswagen brand, makes the case for a hand-in-hand collaboration that will foster the worldwide transformation to electromobility.

We are serious about our e-offensive. But we can’t do it all by ourselves, we have to work together. Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for e-Mobility and CEO of Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH.
Mobility change is too great for one player

“We have already initiated the mobility change,” Ulbrich said in Berlin. “We must enable mass-produced electromobility in order to combat climate change. We also intend to achieve this through economies of scale in production.” This will mean: Group wide investing a total of €30 billion in e-mobility through 2022. By 2028, nearly 70 new all-electric vehicles will have been introduced to the market and a total of 22 million e-vehicles sold. But mobility change is too great a task for a single player to manage on its own – even if it's a major company like Volkswagen AG. This is why Ulbrich is turning to politics and industry to look for partners and supporters.

Quickly tackling existing barriers

Bernhard Mattes, the President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), stressed one other point: To be truly environmentally friendly and sustainable, e-cars must also use green power. And one other important aspect is: They need a well developed charging network to make these vehicles attractive to customers. Volkswagen AG is already active in both areas with IONITY and Elli. But it is still dependent on a partnership with industry and, of course, politicians. Therefore, renters and property owners must have the right to install a private wallbox at the parking place. Currently, this right does not exist. This and other barriers must be addressed quickly. “We need a master plan for e-mobility in Germany. Politicians, car manufacturers and energy companies must now pull together – also in the interests of Germany as a location for automobiles," demands Ulbrich. In the VDA this request is discussed quite controversially. There are clear advocates, but also opponents of focusing on the electric car. This is not unusual: With such a far-reaching system change, debates are almost normal.

Thomas Ulbrich converses with Bernhard Mattes, the President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA)

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