Volkswagen has been relatively late to market with electric cars, but Europe’s wealthiest car manufacturer has big plans for that class of vehicle. According to a statement from the CEO, VW wants to be the leading maker of electric vehicles by as soon as 2018.
“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” Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen said at a pre-Frankfurt Motor Show media event.
“We have the most comprehensive approach to tomorrow’s mobility. 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.” He said that environmental compatibility and sustainability were increasingly becoming the main purchasing criterion: “From the zero- emission city car, through the plug-in hybrid all-rounder to the three-litre sports saloon: It is our customers who decide for themselves just how much e-mobility they want.”
Of course, Volkswagen will have to invest heavily in order to overtake Renault-Nissan, which has a massive head start in EV technology, while staving off competition from BMW.
But it’s putting its money where its mouth is. The company has hired 400 electric vehicle engineers and is busy re-training 70,000 of its existing engineers, service personnel and technicians to become experts in EV technology.
The company will produce a wide range of electric and hybrid cars across many of its brands. These include the battery electric e-Golf and e-Up, the plug-in hybrid Audi A3 e-Tron, the Porsche Panamera and Porsche 918 supercar.