VW CEO Backs Bill Gates’ Proposals for Greener Transportation

VW CEO Herbert Diess praised Bill Gates' proposals for cleaner transportation.
Empty electric automobile charging bays sit in an employee parking lot at the Volkswagen AG headquarter factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, on Aug. 25. (Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg News)

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Volkswagen AG’s CEO encouraged Bill Gates to advise governments on how to lower carbon emissions from transportation and renewed his criticism of Germany’s slow abandonment of coal power.

“You thoroughly understand the CO2 logic of the mobility sector. You know what we have to do and you could and should advise governments how to regulate and what to promote,” VW CEO Herbert Diess wrote in a LinkedIn post sharing comments from the Microsoft Corp. co-founder.

“As you say, it’s not too complicated — electric vehicles wherever possible,” Diess wrote in response to a post Gates published Aug. 24, which posited that climate change could be more devastating to the world than the COVID-19 pandemic. The VW CEO endorsed all passenger cars and most delivery vans going electric and for longhaul trucks to run on biofuels.



Switching to carbon-free electricity is critical to fighting climate change effectively, Diess said. “Germany’s target date to exit coal power only by 2038 is for a rich, tech-leading country by far not ambitious enough,” he said, repeating a recent critique.

VW has embarked on the car industry’s biggest push into electric cars in the wake of its 2015 diesel-emissions scandal, investing $39 billion (33 billion euros) over five years to develop the world’s largest fleet of battery-powered vehicles. By 2025, the company aims to cut the carbon footprint of cars and light-commercial vehicles by 30% compared with 2015. Its goal is to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

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