Wednesday 14th March 2018.
A VOLKSWAGEN SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
- Until today, I don’t think I’m being unfair by saying VW’s commitment to electric cars thus far has been some conversion of their existing platforms such as the eGolf and eUp; a series of press releases about how much they’re spending; three prototypes they made available to Fully Charged to drive and some motor show concept cars.
- I must admit, I have a love hate relationship with VW. I’ve had two Golfs, one was a petrol and one a diesel. I adored them. But their behaviour as a company and their apparent lack of humility turned me off. They certainly are not the only ones which tried to game the emission system, but they are the biggest who got caught. Back to why I love them, they make Tesla look like kids in the playground in terms of many cars they build each year, and their capacity make EVs in serious numbers. I’ve always wanted them to get serious about putting their incredible talents into making electric cars. However I must admit, whilst I knew they were doing a lot behind the scenes to secure supply contracts, in recent weeks I was began to wonder how long that process would take. It must be enormously complicated.
- That all changed today at their annual media conference in Berlin, as they firmed up their plans and put everyone on notice exactly how serious they are. And by the way, as a publically traded company, I should add vacuous statements of intent don’t really happen when any commercially relevant info can nudge your share prince.
- The big headline number is 20bn of contracts awarded for EV battery projects in Europe and China. They are working to cut amount of cobalt needed too. Deals are likely with Samsung SDI Co., LG Chem Ltd.and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. for Europe and China, with North American deals still TBC. Incidentally Volkswagen’s $24.7bn battery plans compare to Tesla’s $17.5 billion worth of battery contracts.
- Electrified Vehicles will be made at 16 locations by To begin with, 9 of it’s production sites will be re-tooled for electric car production, before adding the next 7 as demands require.
- 3 million electrified vehicles by 2025. This will include a range of 80 electrified vehicles from VW, to Audi, Porsche and others from their 12 brands. The previous announcement indicated 50 pure BEVs and 30 hybrids ? I can’t say 100% whether that’s PHEV or soft hybrids.
- One new EV launch per month. VW CEO Mattias Muller said that’s how they’d achieve the pace of change, starting in 2022.
- The first launch will be the Audio e-tron. Preorders are already open in the UK with £1000 deposits being taken and the specs being similar to other SUVs in that space like the Jaguar I-PACE and the forthcoming Mercedes EQC. It’s likely to have a 90kWh battery, 200 real world miles in all conditions and sub-8 second 0-60mph.
- Next will come the VW ID, which is very Golf-y in all respects, will be in production next year and on the roads by 2020. That’s the model which kickstarts their transition. They confirm it will be called NEO.
- Their self-driving EV concept, which is called Sedric, is confirmed to be heading towards production. It looks like a pod and is their vision for the future of transport. Mr Muller didn’t confirm which VW brand would own it.
- Let me remind you that upcoming stringent emissions limits, which will require the brand’s average vehicle CO2 emissions to be no higher than 95g/km from 2020.
- Mr Muller said all of this marked their “intentions to launch the largest fleet of electric vehicles of all brands in the world. Our drivetrains will be designed in such a way that this will be met without paying fines. 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. The diesel scandal told us there was a need for radical change; the crisis has acted as a catalyst. We have pulled out all the stops over the past months to implement the Roadmap E swiftly and resolutely.”
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