► VW Group pledges EV ramp-up
► Every model range electrified
► But not not until 2030…
Two tumultuous years after the dieselgate emissions scandal first broke, the chief of Volkswagen took to the stage at the 2017 Frankfurt motor show to spell out Wolfsburg’s plans to accelerate development of democratically priced, feasible electric cars for all.
Dubbed Roadmap E, the new strategy aims to fast-track the electrification of the entire range of Volkswagen Group products - from Bugattis to Beetles. If they get it right, could this be the people's EV revolution?
‘By 2030, the Volkswagen group will electrify its entire model line-up,’ vowed VW’s CEO Matthias Mueller, promising ‘at least one electrified model in all 300 group models across all brands.’
Sooner than that, by 2025, there will be a total of 80 new electrified group models - 50 of them pure EVs and 30 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). They will mostly be based on two common electric car platforms, which will make up one quarter of sales by mid-decade. It's all change on the production lines of Wolfsburg...
Volkswagen: a push for electric car leadership
Mueller announced a major investment in the electric car strategy, pledging €20 billion (£18bn) by 2030 to make sure VW becomes the world’s #1 EV producer. The growing range of ID concept cars (below) shows what to expect of the newcomers.
An explainer: what happened with the VW emissions scandal
The Volkswagen Group includes brands as diverse at Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche - and today’s announcement means that even the most lofty supercar brands will bow to the inevitable in the next decade.
'If you cling to the status quo in an age of historic change, you're bound to fall by the wayside,’ added Mueller.
Other developments at a glance
Volkswagen revealed several new details of its plan to transform from pariah into environmental leader:
- Roadmap E projects that by 2025 every fourth group car will be a pure EV
- Electric cars ‘in almost every segment - from volume to premium’
- Battery production to be taken in-house
- Audi to lead fuel-cell development for the group
- CNG autogas models will be ramped up
- A new generation of combustion engines planned for 2019
- All petrol and diesel engines to be fitted with particulate filters
- New generation of solid-state batteries in development, promising a range of 1000km (620 miles)
- Recharging times ‘that are as quick as a coffee break’
Which all sounds great, but it’s a big ask for a company making 10 million vehicles a year, isn't it? Not to mention the supply chain and the infrastructure that surrounds our daily lives. Mueller’s rallying call is designed to shake politicians, business leaders and Volkswagen itself into action, we suspect…
What of dieselgate?
The backdrop to the whole evening was tacit admission that the VW Group has to change to regain customers' faith. ’Winning back trust will only succeed if we accept justified criticism,’ said Mueller. ‘If we exercise greater transparency and honesty when it comes to emissions and consumption data, and if we show even greater courage in tackling the future than we have done so far.
‘Speaking for Volkswagen, I can say: we have got the message. And we will deliver.’
‘There is much more at stake than just switching from technology A to technology B: we are talking about the transformation of an entire economic structure. A structure that has evolved over decades and brought progress and growth for many – and that merits being continued. This is no call for more of the same.
'Anyone who clings to the status quo during times of historic upheaval puts themselves on the sidelines… For me, it is rather a question of a system changeover from internal combustion engines to the electric age that is orderly and measured – but at the same time bold, resolute and responsible.’
Can VW pull it off? Be sure to sound off in the comments below.
More from the Frankfurt motor show