Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

VW bets on Porsche racecar engineer to help overtake Tesla

Stock Markets Dec 01, 2020 08:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany celebrates with mechanics after winning with his Porsche 919 Hybrid number 19 the Le Mans 24-hour sportscar race in Le Mans

By Edward Taylor, Jan Schwartz and Jörn Poltz

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Alexander Hitzinger, a 49-year-old engineer who defected to Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) after helping to develop Porsche's winning 919 racecar, has been lured back to Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p) Group for perhaps his biggest challenge yet - building an electric car to take on Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA).

While Volkswagen, the world's largest automaker, has been rolling out electric vehicles from the ID.3 compact to the high end Porsche Taycan, analysts say it needs a more comprehensive system that integrates electric power with new self-driving and infotainment technologies if it hopes to overtake Tesla.

It has turned to Hitzinger, whose ability to conceptualise clean-sheet designs and manage projects helped Porsche develop a racecar that won the Le Mans endurance race in 2015, 2016, 2017.

After a stint working on Apple's autonomous cars, Hitzinger now heads up Volkswagen's "Project Artemis", named after the Ancient Greek goddess of hunting, with the aim of chasing down electric car pioneer Tesla.

"At Porsche, I always thought of a vehicle as a comprehensive system. This is a very important point. It is what Tesla does well," he explained in a video interview.

The task of building a car has gotten more complex with the advent of electric and autonomous driving technologies, forcing new battery-driven powertrains to compete for electricity with camera, radar, and lidar sensors, plus infotainment systems.

Rather than stitching together separately designed systems, Artemis wants to create something new and seamlessly integrated, from the ground up, Hitzinger told Reuters.

"The idea behind Artemis is to have a comprehensive understanding of the vehicle. When something is optimised, this has knock-on effects and these need to be understood."

Allocating processing power between propulsion, automated driving and infotainment systems such as satellite navigation and music streaming is a key challenge, he said.

But it's not the only one.

"The human-machine interface, the interior design, the exterior design, aerodynamics and the range are all interconnected. If I modify something on the exterior, it will impact the aerodynamics and the efficiency," Hitzinger said.

Volkswagen Group, whose brands range from budget Seats and Skodas to high-end Audis and Bentleys is now focussing on developing systems that can handle all these new demands.

The car, which is due to be produced in 2024, will make use of components developed for Porsche and Audi's premium electric vehicle platform, PPE. The group's factory in Hanover, Germany, is being retooled to build an electric sport-utility vehicle for Audi, Bentley and Porsche.

Having a small team of highly qualified engineers, who are empowered to take decisions unencumbered by the corporate bureaucracy of the Volkswagen empire, should end up producing a better vehicle more quickly.

Project Artemis will have between 200 and 250 staff once Hitzinger is done hiring, up from 10 at present.

"I am putting the team together on a top down basis. The managers come first. Then I look for A-players, who will attract other A-players. I don't want managers, but people who love to develop technologies, who are prepared to take risks," he said.

Artemis will seek to draw on existing skills within the Volkswagen Group, such as expertise in making vehicle bodies at Audi, but take the lead in developing new techniques which speed up production and improve the customer experience.

"We want to set new standards for what a customer can do in a vehicle and how he interacts with the car," Hitzinger said.

He declined to elaborate on what user experiences the new car would offer, citing the confidential nature of the project.

He also declined to comment on a power struggle unfolding at Volkswagen, which has convened its executive committee to meet on Tuesday to decide whether to extend CEO Herbert Diess's contract. 

VW bets on Porsche racecar engineer to help overtake Tesla
 

Related Articles

Germany stocks lower at close of trade; DAX down 0.31%
Germany stocks lower at close of trade; DAX down 0.31% By Investing.com - Jul 04, 2022

Investing.com – Germany stocks were lower after the close on Monday, as losses in the Retail, Construction and Technology sectors led shares lower. At the close in Frankfurt, the...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Mark Maxwell
MaxAnalysis Dec 01, 2020 11:43AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Interesting times in the auto industry to say the least.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email