VW promises new electric car model “virtually every month”
German auto giant Volkswagen Group has unveiled detailed plans to super charge its production of electric vehicles, in the latest sign of a global market that’s set to boom.
Speaking at the car maker’s annual media conference in Berlin, CEO Matthias Müller said the Group had secured battery supply partners in Europe and China, and planned to expand assembly of zero-emission cars to 16 plants globally through the end of 2022.
Müller said VW – which owns 12 auto brands including Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Seat, Skoda and Bugatti – would be launching a new electric car “virtually every month” starting in 2019. This is expected to amount to around 80 new electric car and SUV models by 2025 – with a focus on VW, Porsche and Audi-badged cars. By 2030, Müller said that every one of VW’s 300 models would have an electric variant.
All told, he said, the company aimed to sell 3 million electric cars a year across the group by 2025. “This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world, across all brands and regions, in just a few years,” Müller said. “Over the last few months, we have pulled out all the stops to implement ‘Roadmap E’ (Volkswagen’s EV rollout plan) with the necessary speed and determination.”
Underscoring all of this ambition are the new contracts VW has inked with major battery makers LG Chem, Samsung, and China-based Contemporary Amperex Technology. “Building up expertise and mastering the technology does not necessarily imply that we want to start large-scale assembly of batteries ourselves,” Müller said. “Others can do it better than we can.”
As Reuters reports, the plan will be costly – and comes on top of the billions of euros in costs and fines the company is paying for its “dieselgate” tailpipe emissions scandal. Nevertheless, VW has pledged to spend €34 billion on EVs, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022.
The news from VW follows the March 2 launch of the Jaguar Land Rover I-Pace – a luxury all-electric SUV to rival Tesla’s Model X, which is being made at JLR’s factory in Graz, Austria. And it follows the January announcement from Mercedes Benz that it plans to build EVs in volume at six factories across three continents, supported by its own “global battery network.”
Mercedes parent company, Daimler, last year revealed plans to offer electric versions of all of its for Mercedes-Benz and smart car models by 2022.
Meanwhile, in the US, General Motors has called on the Trump administration to extend tax credits to incentivise EV uptake in America, as it ramps up plans to offer 20 all-electric models by 2023.
GM CEO Mary Barra said on Wednesday that the automaker aimed to boost production for its Chevy Bolt at a Michigan factory to meet growing global demand.
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