Volkswagen expects to catch up to its rival Tesla in three short years, surpassing the EV maker to become the largest seller of electric cars in the world.

The prediction came from VW CEO Herbert Diess, who told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Tuesday that “Tesla currently is in the lead when it comes to EVs, probably also it is the most digital car company already and they have some advantages.

“We are still aiming at keeping up and probably overtaking by 2025 when it comes to sales,” he added.

Diess has had a friendly rivalry with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, ribbing the billionaire about stealing his market share as far back as January 2021 when the VW chief executive posted his first tweet.

Rumors have also swirled that VW was in the market to buy Tesla, which Diess has shot down on numerous occasions while still saying he admires the automaker and enjoys driving its electric cars.

While Diess pointed to Tesla’s credible business model, he maintained that VW could close the gap in EV sales between the two companies.

Diess told “Squawk Box Europe,” “I think for Tesla, also, ramping up now will probably be a bit more challenging. They are opening up new plants and we are trying to keep up speed. We think in the second half of the year, we are going to create some momentum.”

The momentum that Diess referred to was a resolution of supply chain issues that have been plaguing the entire auto industry. Chips have been a major contention issue for automakers as supplies are low, and the much-needed part has caused production delays and shutdowns as demand hasn’t been met since the pandemic began.

But Diess remained optimistic about the chip shortages, which he expects to see some relief by the middle of the year.

He told the news outlet, “I would say that we would see an alleviation of this situation towards mid-year and second half we should be in better shape — if the situation is not getting any worse, which I don’t think so.”

However, Diess added that he doesn’t think that the chip disruption will end by the second half of 2022, just saying that it will be a “much-improved situation.”

Ottawa accused Volkswagen of knowingly importing cars into Canada that did not meet emission standards, after more than four years of investigation Ottawa accused Volkswagen of knowingly importing cars into Canada that did not meet emission standards, after more than four years of investigation Photo: AFP / VLADIMIR SIMICEK