Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller announced that the brand will introduce “practically one new electric model per month” once its EV programme reaches its stride by 2022.
At the German carmaker’s annual media conference in Berlin, Müller said Volkswagen’s big electric push is part of its “intentions to launch the largest fleet of electric vehicles of all brands in the world”.
He said that the launch of the Volkswagen ID hatchback, due on roads as the VW’s first purpose-built electric model in 2020, will start this brand “transition” and be rapidly followed by about 300 new EVs cars by 2030, many of which will be added to existing model ranges.
The brand will adapt nine of its production sites to build EVs to support this plan by 2020, before bringing the total to 16 by 2022. Müller stated that more sites are likely to be added to the EV production pool “once market demand allows this”. He said this in turn will “generate more work” so will require an expansion of the workforce.
The CEO believes this quick EV range expansion will ensure VW is able to meet the more stringent and upcoming emissions limits, which will require the Volkswagen’s average vehicle CO2 emissions to be less than 95g/km from 2020.
“Our drivetrains will be designed in such a way that this will be met without paying fines,” he said. “And we will make sure that the conventional, traditional drivetrain will be modernised, so they will make a contribution to better air quality in our towns and cities as well.”
Volkswagen’s chief financial officer, Frank Witter, revealed that the brand is investing €20 billion (Rs 1,600 crore) into conventional powertrain technology (read: internal combustion engines) as part of this drive. But Müller highlighted challenges presented by urban legislators threatening to ban combustion engines from cities as hindrances to progress.
During the conference, Müller admitted that Volkswagen’s rapid transformation and focus on EVs has been driven by the diesel scandal. He said: “The diesel scandal told us there was a need for radical change; the crisis has acted as a catalyst.”