With “Roadmap E”, VW is launching a comprehensive electrification offensive

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On the eve of the official admission to the IAA 2017 in Frankfurt, Volkswagen AG gave its “Roadmap E” known. According to the company, this is the most comprehensive electrification offensive in the global automotive industry. The Wolfsburg-based group has committed itself to electrifying its entire portfolio by 2030 at the latest. To make this tangible, by 2030 there will be at least one electrified variant of each of the approximately 300 Group models. Without exception across all brands and markets. With this commitment, the company not only allows itself to be measured by its promise, but also wants to lead the transformation towards electromobility.

With the statement to electrify the entire fleet by 2030, the VW Group is the first automotive to be a date for the full E-ability of its fleet. By 2025, the group will need a battery capacity of more than 150 GWh per year for this. Calculated on Tesla standards, this is at least four “gigafactories” for battery cells. Volkswagen had already firmly anchored electromobility as one of the central fields of action in the future program “TOGETHER – Strategy 2025” presented in June 2016. It was already clear at that time that by 2025 they wanted to become the world’s number one in electromobility.

The “Roadmap E” gives this plan a new sharpness, because according to this plan it is now a lot faster. By 2025, the group and its brands want to bring more than 80 new electrified models to customers, including around 50 purely electric vehicles and 30 plug-in hybrids. In the years that followed, this number continued to grow in larger increments, so that in 2030 we would be able to offer at least one electrified variant for each of the Group’s around 300 models worldwide in all vehicle classes and segments.

VW is significantly increasing investments in electromobility

Of course, that doesn’t happen all at once and, above all, not without the necessary investments. Therefore, with the “Roadmap E”, VW is also directly increasing investments for the industrialization of electromobility. More than 20 billion euros are to be invested in new vehicles based on two completely newly developed electric platforms, in the adaptation of the plants and the qualification of the workforce, in the charging infrastructure, in trade and sales and last but not least in battery technology and production be invested.

When it comes to batteries, an important aspect of the strategy, the Group is relying on a multi-stage medium to long-term strategy. The development, procurement and quality assurance of all battery cells and modules have been and are already being bundled in Salzgitter in the “Center of Excellence”. In order to then set up a first pilot production in order to collect production know-how. Furthermore, tenders for long-term strategic partnerships for China, Europe and North America were launched.

It should be emphasized here that with an order volume totaling more than 50 billion euros for the Group’s high-volume vehicles alone, this is one of the largest procurement projects in the history of the automotive industry. With this investment, the VW Group is covering the need for the first wave of electric mobility. In the long term, however, preparations are already being made for the next generation: the solid-state battery.

“For us, the turnaround in traffic and energy turnaround are inseparable. And it will be crucial to quickly create a nationwide charging infrastructure: in the cities and along the freeways. Much more needs to be done in Europe and especially in the “car country” Germany.

Only then will customer trust grow. And only then will the electric car emerge from its niche and achieve relevant market shares in the years to come. I am convinced that if politics, the energy industry and car manufacturers work together, we will succeed.– Matthias Muller, CEO of VW AG

No switchover from now on – conventional drive portfolio still an important topic

After the group spoke out in favor of an accelerated electrification offensive and an orderly system change with the “Roadmap E”, it was also emphasized that the modern combustion engine will be used as an indispensable bridge to the emission-free age. For this reason, the entire range of drives will be offered in the group for the time being. From Muller’s point of view, this is not to be understood as a sign of arbitrariness, but as a commandment of reason.

Volkswagen will therefore invest in the continuous improvement of its conventional drives in the coming years. So every new diesel engine of the Group will soon get a SCR catalytic converter. The new gasolineers are equipped nationwide with carbon black particulate filters. Further significant improvements in consumption and emissions are expected with the next engines generation for the time from 2019.

Furthermore, the company deals with synthetic fuels from renewable energies, which can drive combustion engines CO2-neutral. Even natural gas vehicles are not yet disappeared from the scene and the offer should be further expanded. Audi was in charge of developing the fuel cell technology towards market maturity.

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