In a strategic move to revolutionize its electric vehicle (EV) software capabilities, Volkswagen AG has onboarded a former Tesla Inc. engineering director, Sanjay Lal. With Lal’s prior experience at industry giants Tesla, Rivian, and even Google’s Android Automotive division, VW seeks to leverage his expertise to bridge the software gap it currently faces against rivals.
Lal’s journey in the EV world is noteworthy. He served as a director of engineering at Tesla for two years before joining Google’s Android Automotive project in 2019. Later, he transitioned to Rivian, holding the role of Vice President of Software Platform. Now, Volkswagen eagerly awaits Lal’s arrival next month to helm their Cariad unit, overseeing the creation of a novel software platform destined for Volkswagen’s upcoming electric vehicles.
According to reports, including a detailed piece by Bloomberg News, the software hub under Lal’s guidance will produce pivotal projects. Notably, the fruits of this hub will not only feature in Audi and Volkswagen’s EVs but are also set to become the cornerstone for software architecture across all VW brands.
Volkswagen’s CEO, Oliver Blume, is no stranger to the software challenges that have plagued the automaker. Problems were glaringly apparent in models like the ID.3, a vehicle that was otherwise a commendable EV but faltered on its software front. These software glitches took a toll, with VW EV sales in China lagging behind dominant players like Tesla and regional leaders like BYD. In the U.S., the likes of Tesla Model Y, boasting superior software, overshadowed Volkswagen’s EV offerings.
Sanjay Lal’s recruitment echoes Volkswagen’s commitment to revamping its EV software game. His rich experience, spanning Tesla to Rivian, positions him uniquely to catapult Volkswagen into the forefront of the EV software arena. If Lal delivers on this promise, VW’s electric offerings might just become the next big draw for global consumers.