Earlier this year – not long after the Dieselgate scandal – the Volkswagen Group announced a new direction for its lineup of vehicles with a plan to introduce 20 new electric vehicles through the group’s brands by the end of the decade.
Today, the automaker extended the timeline to 2025 and said that it will introduce “more than 30 new electric vehicles during the next 10 years”. Earlier this year, CEO Matthias Müller was talking about both all-electric and plug-in hybrids, but now he is making a statement to go all-electric and confirmed that the “more than 30 new models” will all be “purely battery-powered electric vehicles (BEVs)”.
But maybe even more importantly, VW talked about volumes and said that the group is putting together a new manufacturing plan that will enable them to produce “2 to 3 million all-electric cars a year by 2025”.
In order to produce that many BEVs, the group will need a lot of batteries. The company is reportedly working on a plan for a ‘multi-billion euro battery factory’ – the same scale as Tesla’s Gigafactory – but the group didn’t directly address it during today’s announcement.
Though there was a mention of developing an expertise in battery technology:
In light of the rapid gains in market volume and unit sales of electric vehicles over the coming years, the Volkswagen Group is also to develop battery technology as a new competency. The strategic options for participating in the potential revenue stream associated with this and developing battery technology into a new Group competency will be carefully examined.
The company will announce specific plans for each of its brands by the end of year with new details on electric vehicle manufacturing.
The new electric vehicles will be welcomed additions to VW’s current EV lineup, which is far from being impressive. It mainly consists of the e-Golf, which is in need of a refresh, but we recently learned that the 2017 e-Golf will receive a battery upgrade by the end of the year and that it will allow for an NEDC rated range of 300 km (186 miles) on a single charge – real world range closer to 125 miles per charge.
A few other vehicles have already been approved for production across its brands, like Porsche’s Mission E, Audi’s e-tron quattro and VW’s BUDD-e.
Aside from its new all-electric vehicle plans, VW also announced today a new strategy to develop new mobility solutions in ride-hailing/car-sharing and autonomous taxi service. This is something almost every single automaker is doing at the moment, mainly through partnerships – for example, Toyota with Uber and GM with Lyft. VW itself invested $300 million in Gett, a ride-hailing app, last month.
VW also wants to increase its investment in autonomous driving with the planned hire of around 1,000 new programmers.
The group describes the overall plan unveiled today as an effort for “sustainable mobility”. It sure looks like they want to make us forget ‘Dieselgate’ and if they pull through with this all-electric vehicle effort, they might succeed.
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