VW Group plans major electric offensive; boss says timing of entry to market is "right one"
Jim Holder
9 September 2013

The VW Group has targeted become the leader in electric and hybrid car sales by 2018, after unveiling its new VW e-Up and VW e-Golf, both of which will go on sale early next year.

Speaking on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show, VW boss Martin Winterkorn outlined that the company had 70,000 employees trained in every aspect of electric drivetrain technology and outlined that the company – chiefly through VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda - would have 14 electric and hybrid cars on sale by the end of next year. He said plug-in vehicles had the greatest sales potential at present.

Winterkorn also defended the firm’s late arrival in the electric car market, relative to rivals such as Nissan and Renault. "We are starting at exactly the right time. We are electrifying all vehicle classes, and therefore have everything we need to make the Volkswagen Group the top automaker in all respects, including electric mobility, by 2018.” said Winterkorn.

VW plans to base al its first generation electric and hybrid cars on existing vehicles, so that it has the flexibility to build them on the same production line as the standard cars.

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"We have the most comprehensive approach to tomorrow's mobility,” said Winterkorn. “From highly-efficient, eco-friendly diesel, gasoline and natural gas-fuelled engines to classical hybrids, purely battery-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids - no other automaker can match the broad range we have to offer.

"The electric car cannot be a compromise on wheels, it must convince customers in every respect."

Toyota recently celebrated selling 5.5 million hybrid or electric vehicles since 1997, and is targetting in excess of 11.5 million annually by 2018.

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Our Verdict

Volkswagen Up

The Volkswagen Up city car isn't revolutionary, it's just quantifiably better than the opposition

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week