The Volkswagen Group has launched its major long-term move to making electric cars a core product offering. Speaking to media ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, Chairman of the board Matthias Müller said “We have got the message and we will deliver. This is not some vague declaration of intent. It is a strong self-commitment which, from today, becomes the yardstick by which we measure our performance.”
The message that he was referring to was of course the issues they have had over dieselgate, along with a shift in plotical and consumer support. Major German urban centres are planning a complete ban on diesel vehicles, while the government has been pushing for a clear shift to cleaner alternatives.
The VW group’s declaration also comes at a time when many countries have been issuing forward looking policy statements regarding moving away from petrol and diesel engines, ranging from 2030 to 2040.
The move to electric propulsion was already a part of Volkswagen’s Strategy 2025, but now it seems to have been further developed. The Company estimates that around one in four new Group vehicles – up to three million units a year depending on how the market develops – could already be purely battery-powered in 2025.
The larger goal is that all its model range of around 300 odd plates should offer an all-electric version by the 2030 mark. Out of the 80 new electrified models by 2025, at least 50 are expected to be all-electric, while 30 will be hybrids.
Now that the goals are set, the company has also committed to the capital expenditure required to achieve these. They estimate that 150 gigaWatt hours of battery capacity will be needed for their models alone, which is around four times larger than Tesla’s planned gigafactory’s output.
The investments should total over 70 billion Euros over the timeframe, with 20 billion of this going towards development of two electric model platforms, training, factory upgrades, battery technology and production. Further, in order to ensure its supply chain for batteries, a tender process has been initiated with regard to long-term strategic partnerships for China, Europe and North America. The procurement project is one of the largest in the history of the automotive industry, with a total order volume of over €50 billion just for the Group’s future volume vehicles based on the Modular Electrification Toolkit.
The roadmap also includes moves to new battery technologies including solid state, including research and maturing the technology.
Müller emphasized: “For us, the transformation of transportation and the energy transition are inseparable. And creating a comprehensive charging infrastructure rapidly – in cities and on highways – will be critical to success. In Europe, and particularly in the automotive stronghold of Germany, much more needs to be done. Only then will customers’ trust grow. And only then will electric cars come out of the niche – and achieve relevant market share in years to come. I’m convinced this will succeed if politicians, the energy industry and automakers work in harness.”