The automotive industry is changing, but Toto Wolff does not believe that the combustion engine is already completely finished.
And he has his own theory as to why electric car pioneer Tesla, for example in formula E, does not yet run an engine sports program. The Mercedes team leader spoke about this in the latest interview of the \35; ThinkingForward series.
Ultimately, motor sports manufacturers are concerned with emotionally loading their brands in a certain way,”Wolff explains. Buying a car is “an emotional thing” for the customer. And Tesla, with a skillful marketing approach, has best understood to conquer a sort of emotional niche with customers.
“Often this is explained as a rational thinking approach:’I buy an electric car because it is emission-free.’In fact, I buy this car because I want to show the world, as I see myself, and not as I really am,”Wolff says, adding,”It’s all a marketing exercise. And Tesla does just that.”
Discussion of drive models: Wolff demands”holistic view”
“Elon Musk is the marketing manager and the first cheerleader of his company. It stands for the crossing of borders, for innovation, for entrepreneurship. He’s a rock star, you might say. And they were a pioneer in the field of electric mobility. They do not need marketing platforms [such as formula E], because Tesla and its owner and CEO themselves are the best marketing.”
Regarding the eternal discussion of arsonists vs. electric vs. other alternative propulsion models for the future, Wolff believes that”is unpredictable, where the industry will develop until 2030″, and secondly”a holistic view”must be applied in order not to get on the wrong horse in the current transition phase.
While the formula E is fully electric, formula 1 is initially based on hybrid engines with so-called E-foils, which is ultimately CO2 neutral (depending on the energy source used in the production). The 48-year-old finds the right path for Wolff because it “reduces the emissions of gasoline enormously”.
Regarding formula 1, the 48-year-old finds: “Together with our mineral oil producers, we should be the leader in the field of sustainable fuels and biogasoline, together with our parent companies, and at the same time we should be open to technology transfer in the electric field.”
It is understandable from Wolff’s point of view that premium manufacturers such as Daimler have not yet completely given up the combustion engine, “because these, combined with sustainable fuels, leave a much better carbon footprint than some of today’s electric cars, whose production uses coal or gas as an energy source”.