Volkswagen has detailed its plan to dominate the world of electric vehicles, confirming it has 80 new battery-powered cars under development.
The German carmaker, and its subsidiary brands Audi, Skoda, Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti, outlined its Roadmap E strategy on the eve of the 2017 Frankfurt motor show as the next stage in a bid to repair its reputation following the emission-cheating diesel scandal that rocked the company.
Volkswagen refers to the Roadmap E as the “most comprehensive electrification initiative in the global automotive industry” and will see the combined Volkswagen Group brands bring 80 new electric vehicle lines to production by 2025 and plans for at least one electrified variant of each of the group's 300 variants to be rolled out by 2030.
Volkswagen Group CEO Matthias Mueller told assembled media at the Volkswagen Group preview night, ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, "We have got the message and we will deliver. This is not some vague declaration of intent. It is a strong self-commitment which, from today, becomes the yardstick by which we measure our performance."
To reinforce that message, Mueller appeared on stage emerging from an updated version of the driverless Volkswagen Sedric concept - a pointer to the brand's electric and autonomous future.
As well as Roadmap E, Mueller also announced that the Sedric would form the basis of a pilot program within Volkswagen’s factories, eventually leading to a range of autonomous vehicles from urban runabouts, to high-end luxury cars, and transport solutions including local delivery systems and long distance truck transport.
Volkswagen's e-mobility plans will see the company dedicate €20 billion (A$29.7 billion) to the industrial development of its new direction from now until 2030 including factory upgrades, staff training, the development of two new electric vehicle platforms, charging infrastructure, and battery technology and production.
Mueller claims the group’s demand for battery production will see it eclipse the 150 gigawatt hour mark by 2025, representing an output of lithium-ion batteries the equivalent of four gigafactories, opening the door to long-term strategic partnerships with suppliers across China, Europe and North America with an estimated order volume of €50 billion (A$74.6 billion).
To underscore the group’s commitment, chairman of the board, Rupert Stadler, also arrived on stage in Audi’s version of a driverless EV, the Aicon, displaying the company’s vision of a premium-segment Level 5 autonomous vehicle and predicting that by 2020 one in three Audis will be an EV with up to 800 kilometres of range in some versions.
Mueller also declared that the path towards Volkswagen’s electric future would continue to utilise existing internal combustion technologies, with further development of current and next-generation petrol, diesel and compressed natural gas engines with petrol engines to adopt particulate filters and a new generation engine line to roll out from 2019 with vastly improved consumption and emissions.
Fuel cells and synthetically-generated carbon neutral fuels were also mentioned, but Volkswagen is yet to divulge more details about those programs.