Elon Musk says VW scandal proves limits of fossil fuel cars

It's Time "To Move To A New Generation Of Technology"

Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk didn't appear to mince words when commenting on Volkswagen's diesel-emissions scandal when making comments at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy conference in Berlin this week, according to Bloomberg News. Musk called the news of scandal "obviously bad." He also used the opportunity to note that he thought the German automotive industry may be lacking when it came to getting its powertrains to cut emissions. Pretty tough talk in Berlin.

Musk did note that, when it came to clean electricity generation, Germany was ahead of many countries. But he also used the occasion to note that global industries could do a better job addressing "the chemical constituency" of the world's air and oceans.

Musk also spoke to the Belgian press about the VW scandal this week. Asked if people might lose their faith in green technology, Musk said that what the scandal shows is that "we've reached the limit of what's possible with diesel and gasoline. And so, the time, I think, has come to move to a new generation of technology." You can see his comments in the video above, starting at 1:12.

Musk made these comments as the automotive industry reacts to news that Volkswagen tried to game the system by manipulating its diesel-powered vehicles to meet worldwide emissions regulations. VW has set aside $7.3 billion to address the issue, and has estimated that at least 11 million vehicles may have been programmed to cheat emissions mandates. As a result of the scandal, VW CEO Martin Winterkorn has stepped down and Porsche chief executive officer Matthias Muller has taken over.

For those keeping track, VW sold almost 51,000 diesel vehicles in the US through the first eight months of the year. That is about eight percent less than a year earlier but is probably about three times the number of Tesla Model S electric vehicles Musk sold in the US (we say probably because Tesla discloses neither monthly nor country-specific sales). So, while this may not be a case of diesel envy, Musk did have a pretty wide-open shot to tweak VW and its reliance on diesel technology.

Share This Photo X