Since the diesel-engine scandal that shook the automotive industry in September 2015, the Volkswagen has been steadily moving towards greater electrification of its fleet. In fact, the company is in what amounts to a fight to the finish with several competitors to become the industry leader in electric mobility.
The details VW provided this week concerning its ambitious electrification plan is an integral part of that fight. The auto giant announced it plans to refurbish no fewer than 16 of its assembly plants around the world to render them capable of producing electric vehicles by 2022.
Currently, the Volkswagen Group produces electric vehicles at three of its plants. The first phase of the Roadmap E plan calls for the refurbishing of nine facilities to permit assembly of electric models; work on this phase is set to be completed by 2020.
Already the German firm has made sure of having a sufficient supply of batteries to fit into vehicles destined for the European and Chinese markets, thanks to agreements with suppliers totaling 20 million Euros. According to Volkswagen CEO Matthias Muller, a decision regarding a North American supplier is expected soon. Muller also declared that progress was steady regarding the change of direction undertaken by the massive entity that is the VW Group.
Concretely, we can expect to see nine new electric Volkswagen vehicles join the automaker’s lineup – three of them solely battery-powered.
Roadmap E notwithstanding, Matthias Muller reiterated that the company remains committed to producing cars with conventional engines, stating that “we are putting almost EUR 20 billion into our conventional vehicle and drive portfolio in 2018, with a total of more than EUR 90 billion scheduled over the next five years."
Could it be that the letters TDI, already fading fast from conversations, will be little more than an unpleasant memory within a few years?