A pandemic that has made some consumers hypervigilant about whom they interact with and what they touch might give a market advantage to electric vehicles that can be recharged at home, argues Volkswagen of America's top strategic thinker.
Reinhard Fischer, 62, senior vice president of strategy for Volkswagen Group of America, also says he believes a shared mobility model will struggle for some time because of consumer trepidation about potential exposure to COVID-19. Fischer spoke to Staff Reporter Larry P. Vellequette in November. Here are edited excerpts.
Q: Before the COVID-19 pandemic, whole business models were created around shared transportation. Is that model dead? Or just waning for a bit?
A: I think the whole idea of our shared economy is going to struggle, and it's going to change fundamentally. I think the current crisis has taught us to be careful — what we touch, in which environment we are. I think people still need to get around, and if you fly into a big city, and if you don't have rental cars, you can take public transportation, you can ride-share, or you can walk. I think people will just be very, very careful.
How long will it be before battery electric vehicles represent the majority of vehicles on U.S. roadways?