Germany's Volkswagen to electrify products on massive scale

Volkswagen ID Buzz

By 2025, VW Group expects to sell 3 million electric vehicles a year, Mueller said, in 16 different factories on multiple continents. Currently, there are just three, with another nine set to transition from internal combustion vehicles to EVs in the next two years.

Cedric is the first and only concept vehicle to wear VW Group branding (as opposed to a specific marque), but Müller says the vehicle will shortly be "leaving the Group for refinement into a series product at one of our brands".

But tens of billions of dollars of supply contracts for battery cells through 2025 might seem to indicate some urgency on the part of a company struggling to look forward to a cleaner future rather than backward to the sins of its past.

When it launched Roadmap E in Europe in the third quarter of a year ago, the Volkswagen Group projected it would deliver 80 new EVs from two EV architectures.

"Over the last few months, we have pulled out all the stops to implement "Roadmap E" with the necessary speed and determination", Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said. "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".

The company said past year it would like to secure battery-supply contracts totaling 50 billion euros ($62.5 billion) to build into electric cars planned for nearly all of its 12 brands.

Volkswagen ID
The ID Buzz concept demonstrates a fast charger The ID hatch is due on roads in 2020 The ID Crozz SUV will enter production in 2022 Close

It doesn't mean that VW is going all-electric though.

Mueller cited the company's efforts to reduce diesel emissions and recover from its 2015 diesel emissions scandal. About 500,000 diesel vehicles with "defeat" devices were sold between 2009 and 2015 in the USA and another 11 million worldwide. The company has already repaid billions in costs and fines for dodging emission level tests.

Yet, Muller said electrification does not mean the firm is moving away completely from conventional technologies.

We are making massive investments in the mobility of tomorrow, but without neglecting current technologies and vehicles that will continue to play an important role for decades to come.

In 2018, Volkswagen will invest 20 billion euros in developing better diesel and gasoline engines, a sum which would be supplemented by 90 billion euros ($111 billion) over the next five years.

Separately, the German carmaker reiterated guidance for higher vehicle sales and revenue this year and for a group operating margin of 6.5-7.5 percent after 7.4 percent last year. "Operating profit before and after special items was also better than ever, amounting to Euro 17.0 billion before special items and to Euro 13.8 billion after special items".

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