Our change from a Tesla Model 3 to a VW ID.4
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Three years ago, Tesla Superchargers were still essential for long-distance driving, especially in southern Europe, but the other CPOs have now done their homework and caught up considerably. EnBW, ARAL Pulse, Fastned and IONITY now offer reliable HPC charging solutions on German roads. And the expansion of HPC chargers is also making good progress internationally, as my various trips to France, the Netherlands and Scandinavia show. We did more than 80 percent of our private charging at home anyway thanks to our own wallbox. This meant that we could do without buying a Tesla, even taking into account the efficiency of the existing European Supercharger network.

Our new vehicle of choice is a Volkswagen ID.4, which we deliberately selected with the help of a car dealership. Volkswagen's digital channels helped us to get an initial overview and find suitable offers. Despite these digital options, personal advice on site was important to us. In our three years with Tesla, we had mainly communicated with the manufacturer via their Berlin hotline. But people buy from people, and that became clear to me at the dealership.

The choice of a dealership for the purchase of our electric Volkswagen

My choice fell on the Käsmann dealership in Mosbach in the picturesque Odenwald, where my fellow student Adam Libor from the Smart Mobility program at the University of St. Gallen has been working in sales for almost 20 years, including 10 years as sales manager. His young salesman, Tom Hoffmann, accompanied us with his enthusiasm and freshness on the way to our ID.4.

During the sales process in recent weeks, I noticed the opportunities that digitalization offers young and motivated people in sales. This is an opportunity for people who are mostly tech-savvy and can contribute their enthusiasm for modern sales methods. The natural handling of digital solutions in particular helps new customers to switch to electric mobility, which goes hand in hand with many digital innovations in the vehicles.

Throughout the entire purchasing process, from the initial contact to the purchase of our used Tesla and the handover of my new ID.4, personal contact remained a central element. A few days ago, the time had finally come: we were able to pick up our new ID.4 Volkswagen. On site, I was impressed by the commitment of the dealership, which has been in the hands of one family since 1965. The Käsmann family has invested a lot in the charging infrastructure at the Mosbach site. For their own fleet, the impressive fleet of test cars and, most interestingly, the charging stations are also open to other drivers of electric cars. An access card regulates the use and billing of the charging stations.

The charging park, located a good 40 minutes east of the university city of Heidelberg, comprises ten 11 kW charging stations, two 22 kW charging stations, two 50 kW charging stations and one HPC 300 kW charging station (alternatively two 150 kW charging stations). This commitment shows how important the future of electric mobility is to the dealership and how it is actively tackling the transformation to sustainable mobility thanks to its own investments. And the entire city and surrounding area benefits from this, as electric cars of all brands can now be charged at the Käsmann site, no need for an own wallbox in the carport or in-house garage. 24/7 - of course.

My conclusion for this purchase of our Volkswagen ID.4

Fear of contact with e-mobility = not an issue. Of course, even in the Odenwald, the sales stats for fully electric cars are not sky-high at the moment. The backwards roll last November due to the sudden stop of subsidies was a slap in the face for many electric car buyers who had relied on the environmental bonus from the German government. Fortunately, and VW was very accommodating in this respect, most manufacturers made up for this lack of subsidies with their own programs. And anyway - in Germany, backward-looking politicians and lobbyists are not exactly making it easy for the change to more sustainable vehicles, much to the chagrin of an urgently needed turnaround towards electric mobility that is already internationally recognized. Despite all the prophecies of doom, the electric car business is growing even in Germany. It's just not progressing as quickly as initially hoped.

What reassures me is that the car trade in Germany is much further along than politicians would have us believe. After a certain dip, I am firmly convinced that we will also make the switch to electric vehicles in Germany. After all, electric vehicles are in no way inferior to conventional drives and are in most cases far superior when it comes to energy efficiency and driving pleasure. At least I don't know a single driver who wants to switch back from an electric car to a combustion engine vehicle.

On the subject of buying a vehicle: as Adam Libor repeatedly emphasizes, digitalization in car sales offers numerous advantages and significantly extends the reach of car dealerships. Young salespeople are using these opportunities effectively to expand their customer base. At the same time, personal advice remains an indispensable part of the sales process. The combination of digital reach and human proximity creates a strong foundation for modern sales and, for me, has a clear advantage over the purely digital offerings of competitors such as Tesla. And so we are delighted to welcome the next generation of automobiles from Volkswagen. Our ID.4 goes by the name of Sheila; despite all the digital proximity, a real name is a must, even for our car.

Photos courtesy of Michael Brecht.