Frankfurt/Beijing — Global vehicle makers are planning a $300bn surge in spending on electric vehicle technology over the next five to 10 years, with nearly half of the money targeted at China, accelerating the industry’s transition from fossil fuels and shifting power to Asian battery and electric vehicle technology suppliers. The unprecedented level of spending — much of it by Germany’s Volkswagen — is driven in large measure by government policies adopted to cut carbon dioxide emissions and will extend technological advances that have improved battery cost, range and charging time to make electric vehicles more appealing to consumers, according to an exclusive Reuters analysis of public data released by those companies. China has for decades played catch-up to German, Japanese and American vehicle makers, which dominated internal combustion vehicle technology. Now, China is positioned to lead development, industry executives say.

“The future of Volkswagen will be decided in...

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