VW Group chairman Matthias Muller announced hugely ambitious plans to roll out around 80 new electrified models across its brands by 2025 and pledged to offer at least one electrified version of every model across its brands by 2030.
Speaking at the Volkswagen Group night on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show, Muller was confident that his company would lead the way into an electric future.
The VW Group has sharpened its focus on e-mobility partly to cleanse itself of the diesel scandal, which after two years, still lingers on, but mainly because electric mobility is now clearly the future. However, VW is not abandoning traditional internal combustion engines, which is still very much a part of the core business for the Group.
“The fact is we still need modern internal combustion engines as a bridge to going electric. State-of-the-art diesels are not the problem but part of the solution,” said Muller, referring to a transition that is needed to get to cleaner mobility. “By selling the latest generation engines today we are making the profits to pay for research into zero emissions powertrains,” he added.
VW is investing in a pilot factory for battery production to develop expertise in an area which is still uncharted territory for the Group. However, with increased R&D in this field, Muller’s aim is to develop a solid-state battery with a range of 1,000km.
Audi has been tasked with the development of fuel cell technology while VW is expanding its CNG range and leading the charge into e-mobility with the all-electric MEB platform. But then, what about Skoda? The Czech brand has been given the job to develop conventional cars for low-cost markets like India. “Skoda will be doing the job of developing cars for the group in the Indian market, perhaps with some partnerships,” said Muller.
However, Skoda too has its own electrification strategy and has committed to offering one of its EVs for the same price as an internal combustion engine powered car.
Though, it will be a long time before electric cars become commonplace in India, even after Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s threat to ‘bulldoze’ EVs down the industry’s throats. What does Muller think of the Indian government’s ambition to make India an all-electric car market by 2030? “It will not happen,” he said.