VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn is not known for floral speeches or beating around the bush; his words are normally packed with detailed facts.
So when he stands up at the VW Group event the evening before the Frankfurt motor show - probably the single biggest showcase from the firm every two years - and says that we’re going to see fresh commitment to electrification, you can believe it.
Winterkorn’s stats back that up; VW is promising an astonishing 20 new pure-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles by 2020. And says that they will be based on everything from compact hatchbacks right up to the next generation of the VW Phaeton and Audi A8 limousines. For years we’ve been wondering when the VW Group would really get serious about electrification; it seems that time has come.
The Porsche has been the subject of relatively recent speculation but even so, it was the evening’s showstopper: 600bhp, pure-electric range of more than 300 miles and 800-volt charging tech that could make Tesla’s Supercharger look like, well, just a charger. It has the potential to be a game-changer for not only EVs in general, but also Porsche as a brand. Small wonder that the firm's R&D boss Wolfgang Hatz says it could be as significant as the original 911.
We’ve often wondered how long it would be before Porsche and Audi worked out how to make electric vehicles that could deliver the range, usability and performance that need to go with their brands. The answer, according to this evening and Winterkorn’s words, is within the next 18 months.