Volkswagen charged up to produce new e-cars
Volkswagen Group to increase EV manufacturing as cash rolls in
The Volkswagen Group has confirmed it will scatter at least 16 electric car production plants around the world within four years.
Speaking at the Volkswagen Group’s annual media conference in Berlin, CEO Matthias Müller insisted it plans to build up to 3-million electric vehicles (EVs) a year by 2025.
It has already chosen its battery cell suppliers and locked in technology contracts worth up to $25bn for Europe and China alone, he said, with US deals set to follow.
The group plans to have electric cars wearing all 12 of its automotive brands, plus its Volkswagen Commercial operation and its trucking companies, MAN and Scania.
From 2019, Müller insisted, the group that owns Porsche, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini, Seat, Skoda and Bugatti would launch a new electric car "virtually every month".
He said it would roll out 80 new electric cars and SUVs by 2025, with a focus on Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi.
He also confirmed that every single one of the group’s 300 models would have an electric variant by 2030, though in many cases this would just be a plug-in hybrid.
"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 insisted.
"Over the past few months, we have pulled out all the stops to implement ‘Roadmap E’ (Volkswagen’s EV roll-out plan) with the necessary speed and determination."
When it launched Roadmap E in Europe in the third quarter of last year, the group projected it would deliver 80 new EVs from two EV architectures. Müller has now admitted it had found space for another nine electrically powered cars, including three more pure battery-electric vehicles (BEVs).
The group already has eight BEVs and plug-in hybrids (though, admittedly, they’re mostly plug-in hybrids).
In the longer term, the group’s pure BEVs will all sit on one of two purpose-designed architectures. There is the MEB (modular electric toolkit) and a sports/luxury architecture jointly developed by Porsche and Audi. In the interim, the e-Golf sits on a converted version of Volkswagen’s standard issue MQB architecture, while early Porsche BEVs will use its J1 architecture and the first Audi BEVS will sit on the C-BEV underpinnings.
Audi’s E-tron SUV will lead the next-generation roll-out by launching later this year as a production car — and is in a race with Jaguar to launch the first European BEV in the segment.
Volkswagen plans to launch the first full MEB car, the I.D. hatch, in 2020 as the leader for an entire I.D. BEV sub-brand.
The company showed four I.D. concept cars at the Geneva motor show (including the new Vizzion), all of which are headed for production before 2022. It already has three EV assembly operations and will add another nine in two years.
It plans to pay for all this by slashing costs in other areas of development. Its development spend dropped 3.9% in 2017, down to €13.1bn, or about 6.7% of its sales turnover, and it plans to lower that to 6% by 2020.
In spite of this focus on EVs at the group, Volkswagen SA says it is not yet considering introducing any electric models to its local range. It cites cost and lack of infrastructure as the main reasons for this. However, Audi will introduce its first EV, the E-tron SUV, in SA in 2019 and Porsche will follow that in 2020 with the production version of its Mission E. Mercedes-Benz SA is also planning to introduce its EQ electric sub-brand to SA in the next few years and Jaguar will launch its electric I-Pace crossover here early in 2019.