Why UN Chief Is ‘Delighted’ By VW Scandal

Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said she is “delighted” by Volkswagen’s diesel scandal because of the possible implications it may have for electrified vehicles.

Speaking at an event this week hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, Figueres commented on how the scandal may lead to positive changes.

“What does ‘Volkswagen’ mean in German?” she asked the audience. “It means ‘the car of the people.’ So when Volkswagen says, ‘Okay, we screwed up. We admit it … We are going to scrap diesel, scrap diesel, and we’re moving to electric vehicles.’ Well, now we have a little revolution underway, right?”

The official statements from Volkswagen so far haven’t been quite that severe. Last month, the CEO of the Volkswagen Brand board of management, Dr. Herbert Diess, announced that the company is “repositioning” its brand. Details of the new strategy include more battery electric (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs). But diesel engines will continue be a part of the VW fleet.

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Still, Figueres said she is hopeful that VW may be able to offer BEVs in a way no other company has – as an affordable option.

“Tesla is certainly opening up a very, very new ground,” said Figueres. “But Tesla, as we all know, is not exactly ‘the people’s vehicle.'”

She explained that if Volkswagen, on the other hand, is able to build a BEV that is “accessible for everybody,” then the brand could create an “electric transportation revolution.”

Figures’ full interview is available in the video below, beginning at 25:52: