By on March 12, 2019

Image: VW

If the industry’s Magic 8 Ball worked with 100 percent accuracy, no vehicle would ever land with a disappointing thud. Sales projections would always be on target, and smooth sailing would be assured.

Alas, predicting consumer appetite and market forces is never that easy, but Volkswagen feels confident it can beat its already ambitious electric vehicle targets, both in terms of models offered and vehicles bought. It’s so confident, in fact, that it’s officially raising its own bar.

Gone is the old promise of 50 electric Volkswagen Group models by 2030. In its place, 70 models. The target of 15 million EVs sold by that target year is similarly dead, replaced by a loftier target of 22 million vehicles.

When VW’s done decarbonizing the world, you’ll thank them for their years of treachery and smog-spewing diesels. That’s the hope, anyway.

“Volkswagen is taking on responsibility with regard to the key trends of the future – particularly in connection with climate protection. The targets of the Paris Agreement are our yardstick,” said VW Group CEO Herbert Diess in a statement. “We will be systematically aligning production and other stages in the value chain to CO2 neutrality in the coming years. That is how we will be making our contribution towards limiting global warming. Volkswagen is seeking to provide individual mobility for millions of people for years to come – individual mobility that is safer, cleaner and fully connected. In order to shoulder the investments needed for the electric offensive we must make further improvements in efficiency and performance in all areas.”

Part of this roadmap includes a 30-percent in VW fleet greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 — an effort expected to cost $34 billion (USD) by 2023. By 2030, following the first and second “waves” of EV product, Diess claims 40 percent of the automaker’s vehicles will be free of emissions.

Some 13 factories (eight in Europe, four in China, one in the U.S.) will build these green machines, spread out over all VW Group brands. Buyers are, of course, encouraged to help VW out with this goal.

It’s far too early to predict whether VW’s ambitions will collide with reality or succeed, as government regulation will undoubtedly play a role in EV adoption, regardless of market. Europe’s made its choice, as has China, but big-volume markets like the U.S. remain a question mark. Americans haven’t proven as ready to make the switch.

While Volkswagen would very much like other automakers to make use of its MEB electric vehicle platform, so far there’s no takers. Ford, now in a fledgling alliance with VW, might end up using it.

“The cost of e-mobility can be significantly lowered through partnerships to enable the widest possible spread of the MEB and the associated economies of scale,” the automaker stated. “That makes individual mobility affordable and usable for the mainstream in the future as well.”

As for buyers in the European heartland, the company plans to ramp up its infrastructure investments in the hopes of making EV ownership more attractive. VW expects to install 400 fast-charging stations along major European roads and highways by 2020, some 100 of them in Germany. A company subsidiary, Elli, will sell household charge points for the slew of VW Group EVs expected to start hitting the market next year.

VW also wants its employees to go green. To get them to and from their efficient German workplaces, the company plans to install 3,500 parking lot charge points.

[Image: Volkswagen Group]

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21 Comments on “Volkswagen Doubles Down on Its Lofty EV Promises...”

  • avatar

    If that’s all they’re gonna build, that’s all we’re gonna buy.

    This seems very juggernauty.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    With the windshield that far forward and having to account for the drive motor as well as modern crash standards, I bet the microbus is going to have a GM Dustbuster van type dash where the windshield is several feet in front of you.

  • avatar

    From all I’ve heard, FCA is the most sane on the electric car bandwagon, which is to say “wait and see.” I’m not saying it’s never going to happen; I am saying it will take 100 years to be 50% of the market.

    • 0 avatar

      Noob asks W.C. Fields if poker is a game of chance:

      “Not the way *I* play it, no.”

      I think VW is using green politics in Europe to force an EV market there while assuming that US politics in the aftermath of Trump will similarly reward the firstest OEM with the mostest EV.

      It’s not like Germans haven’t gambled big before. Maybe third time is the charm.

      • 0 avatar

        Yea, China and Europe are enough to get them over the hump. US will get EV scraps. You can see this by the distribution of EV factories they have planned.

        • 0 avatar

          As someone whose next vehicle purchase will be my last, gas cars will still be there for me so my interest in this is merely that of a history buff.

          When Germans move big in a coordinated and global way they always manage to almost win.

          • 0 avatar

            @jatz: Horses are still around too. Still better than cars for some uses. Digital and film cameras didn’t make paintings and drawings go away. It might get tougher to find gas for a long trip or in the major coastal cities, but ICE will stay around.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, mcs, I’m not married to the belief that a Real Car must slosh with a stinky fluid to feed a leaky metal lump that permits zillions of little explosions inside it in order to transmit power through an overly complex and also drip-prone mechanical coupling to the drive axles.

            Let there be EVs of ≥ 64″ height that ride real soft and I shall take the vows.

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Gas doesn’t explode…it burns.

          • 0 avatar

            OK…”zillions of little deflagrations”.

            Thanks for being there, Art.

  • avatar

    Well if they had the Microbus available this summer I’d probably buy as it is I’ll end up with a Telluride most likely. Maybe in 10 years.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This sounds like their 2009 promise to sell 800k cars in the US by 2018.

    2018’s reality was 354k.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve been seeing a lot of VW Atlases lately.

      It seems that VW’s “we’ll tell you what to buy” sales strategy was holding them back.

      Between that and VW’s lack of reliability on the rather intense American duty cycle (and their refusal to make it right), it’s easy to see that a little humility before the requirements of destination market is exactly what they neededed.

      That goal might have been attainable, if they’d tailored their vehicles to the US market.

      (I live in a college town in flyover country, USA.)

    • 0 avatar

      Meh, VW and Toyota take turns on being the planet’s biggest automaker, so I doubt Wolfsburg is losing any sleep over your observation.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        Point taken.

        But VW gets a lot of ink for only occupying 2% of the US market, and I’m sure it vexes them that they don’t have more.

        I’m sure the rest of the world will see far more of these mythical EVs than the US ever will.

  • avatar

    “Volkswagen is taking on responsibility with regard to the key trends of the future – particularly in connection with climate protection. The targets of the Paris Agreement are our yardstick,”

    Forgive me father for I have sinned.

  • avatar

    Willems writes “years of treachery and smog-spewing diesels”. Yes, VW is unlike all those other wonderful, loving, caring, never-ever-criminal, never-duplicitous mega-corporate entities – and those little diesel Golfs just “smoked” those endless caravans of squeaky-clean, fresh-air-spewing Freightliners and Peterbilts off the road.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Whatever direction Europe takes, you can bet the People’s Republic of Mexifornia will follow.

    Never mind that CA’s share of global greenhouse emissions, if you care about such things, is mouse nuts. It’s all about showing “leadership.” Translation: grab the KY and bend over.

  • avatar

    Grab the KY? What does Kentucky have to do with this?

    I’m guessing this is VW responding to what the world outside the US wants. Here in the US, it’s giving us what we apparently want: a compact crossover that’s really more a midsize, and a giant Atlas truckywagon with class-trailing fuel economy.

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