Seeking to be the world’s largest automaker and to have tripled its U.S. sales volume, Volkswagen AG is betting big on electric vehicles and gas-electric hybrids.
Get the full story on what VW has in mind as it populates the Frankfurt Motor Show.
Frankfurt, Germany — Volkswagen AG is betting big on electric vehicles and gas-electric hybrids.
The automaker, which until now has emphasized diesels in its green strategy, came to the Frankfurt Motor Show with its e-Up electric vehicle and an electric version of its Golf hatchback called the e-Golf. VW pledged to bring as many as 40 EVs and hybrids to market around the world.
The company, which wants to be the world’s largest automaker and has a 10-year-plan to more than triple U.S. sales, bragged about its major EV effort, which it sees as an integral part of its global domination strategy. VW sales have lagged in the past year in the U.S. and are down 1.3 percent through August, largely because of what analysts see as an aging lineup.
The electric version of the Golf will go on sale in early 2015 in the U.S., initially in limited states, said Volkswagen of America chief Jonathan Browning.
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said that 14 models from several VW Group brands will be offered worldwide as EVs — pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids — or as conventional hybrids by 2014. If there is sufficient demand, as many as 40 new models could be EVs or hybrids. He vowed to be the industry’s electric-vehicle leader by 2018.
“We have developed the know-how for electric motors and battery systems at our own components plants, we have recruited 400 top experts for electric traction and qualified almost 70,000 development, production and service employees in this new technology — the biggest electrification training program in our industry,” Winterkorn said.
VW board member Christian Klingler said the automaker is committed to EVs, even though it was behind some competitors. “We take maybe some time — a little bit longer (than others),” Klingler told reporters in a roundtable discussion.
Klingler declined to disclose how many EVs the automaker hopes to sell. “Step by step (EV sales will come). In the long-term, there is no way to go around electric cars. They will come. It could be five or 10 years or 20 years, I don’t know. All I know is we will be there.”