VW’s plan to dominate all cars
Volkswagen's post-Dieselgate clean streak is stepping up a gear with the promise of delivering almost 70 electric vehicles by 2028 as part of "the great transformation to e-mobility".
The figure represents a 40 per cent increase in promised EVs and is an acceleration towards clean energy, one that is reshaping the company that in 2015 was caught cheating emissions standards on 11 million vehicles.
Volkswagen is also considering investing in battery manufacturing and has created a component business focused on streamlining development and production of batteries and motors that could ultimately see the company sell electric components to rival brands.
The radical move to increase scale by selling to rivals is indicative of a company more open to partnerships, such as the one recently announced with Ford to co-develop commercial vehicles.
Core to the electric onslaught is a new electric architecture called MEB that will underpin dozens of models including the much-hyped Volkswagen ID, a circa-$35,000 small car due in 2020.
But there are many more EVs to come, including an electric take on the legendary Kombi and Beach Buggy.
Of the 70 electric models across about 10 brands Volkswagen is planning on building 22 million EVs over the next decade.
During a 2.5-hour presentation to global media the company regularly referenced "diesel issues" and cautioned that any plans or profit projections could be negatively impacted by external factors, including ongoing legal claims regarding the exhaust emissions cheating scandal that engulfed the company in 2015.
In a prominent disclaimer as part of the global press conference, Volkswagen stated: "The Volkswagen Group currently faces additional risks and uncertainty related to pending claims and investigations of Volkswagen Group members in a number of jurisdictions in connection with findings of irregularities relating to exhaust emissions from diesel engines in certain Volkswagen Group vehicles."
In moving towards electric propulsion Volkswagen also called on governments around the world to step up with clear, consistent policies to support EVs.
"Customers are looking forward to the new, efficient electric cars and the low running costs," said Volkswagen chairman Dr Herbert Diess. "But they need certainty as regards tax treatment and charging structure. That certainty can only come from policy makers."
Volkswagen is also planning to become carbon neutral by 2050, transforming everything from its manufacturing procedures and energy supply to materials and how much energy its vehicles consume.
Currently Volkswagen accounts for 1 per cent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions.