Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller has said that the company will launch “practically one new electric model per month” once its EV programme reaches full steam by 2022.
Speaking at the brand’s annual media conference in Berlin, Müller said Volkswagen’s big electric push comes as part of its “intentions to launch the largest fleet of electric vehicles of all brands in the world”.
He said that the arrival of the Volkswagen ID, which is due on roads as the company’s first purpose-built electric model in 2020, will kick-start this brand “transition” and be swiftly followed by a around 300 new electrified cars by 2030, many of which will be added to existing model ranges.
Volkswagen will adapt nine of its production sites with tooling 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.
Müller believes this rapid electric vehicle range expansion will ensure Volkswagen meets upcoming stringent emissions limits, which will require the brand’s average vehicle CO2 emissions to be no higher 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 company is investing €20 billion into more conventional powertrain technology 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.”
Volkswagen achieved record profits in 2017 despite costs of the ongoing Dieselgate emissions scandal. The company spent 3.2 billion euros on costs associated with the clean up (including legal cases, fines and fixing affected models) last year, which was 4.2 billion euros less than in 2016.