Only music can be heard as CEO Matthias Müller drives a Sedric into Hall 3 at the exhibition grounds in Frankfurt. There’s not a sound to be heard from the engine – because Sedric, the Volkswagen Group’s first fully autonomous car, is powered solely by electricity.
Müller gets out – and announces “Roadmap E” on the eve of the International Motor Show (IAA). It’s the most extensive electrification drive the automotive industry has ever seen.
Its core points:
- Volkswagen is honing its product planning and significantly intensifying its efforts. “The group as a whole will deliver more than 80 new electric models to customers by 2025, including almost 50 true e-vehicles and 30 plug-in hybrids,” says Müller.
- The Volkswagen Group will fully electrify its entire model portfolio by 2030. That means: By then at the latest, there will be at least one electric variant of each of the Group’s around 300 models. For all brands and in all markets. “That’s not a non-binding declaration of intent, but a commitment we’ll be measured by as of this day,” stresses Müller.
- The company will provide more than €20 billion for direct investment in industrializing electromobility by 2030. The money will be spent on vehicles based on two completely newly developed electric platforms, as well as on the plants and workforce qualification. It will also go toward the charging infrastructure, as well as the dealership and sales organizations.
- “We also won’t let the issue of batteries be taken out of our hands,” emphasizes Müller. He adds that the company will need a battery capacity of more than 150 GWh a year by 2025 solely to fit its own e-fleet with lithium-ion batteries. To cater for that enormous demand, the Volkswagen Group has initiated an invitation to tender for long-term strategic partnerships for China, Europe and the United States. “We’re talking here about one of the largest procurement projects in our industry’s history, one with a global order volume of more than €50 billion over its term,” states Müller. That was solely for the Group’s high-volume vehicles based on the all-electric architecture.
“A company like Volkswagen must go forward boldly. A company like Volkswagen has to lead, not follow!"
The CEO makes it clear that the campaign has ambitious objectives: “We want to make Volkswagen the world’s number 1 when it comes to electromobility by 2025.” One-in-four of all new vehicles from the Group might then be powered solely by electricity. “Depending on how the market develops, we’re talking here about up to three million e-cars a year.”
Müller stresses that these vehicles should not only win over people, but also inspire them: by means of ranges of up to 600 kilometers, short charging times, high quality and affordable prices. “A company like Volkswagen must go forward boldly. A company like Volkswagen has to lead, not follow! Also and in particular when it comes to future-oriented topics. And especially so when the car’s heart – its drive – is involved.”
To help e-mobility break through, however, a widespread charging infrastructure in cities and along highways is needed soon, adds Müller. A lot still needs to be done in that respect in Europe and the automotive stronghold Germany. The transport transition and energy transition are also inextricably linked. “That’s a shared task we all need. It’s my firm conviction that we’ll succeed if policymakers, the power industry and car makers work together.”
“Nothing can stop the transformation in our industry. And we’ll lead that transformation.”
At the same time, the CEO makes it clear that conventional and alternative drives are not enemies: “Today’s vehicles are earning us the money we need to invest billions in the future. And we won’t achieve our climate targets without efficient and clean latest-generation diesel vehicles.” State-of-the-art combustion engines are needed as a bridge to the emission-free age.
That’s why the Group will continue investing in new vehicles that run on diesel, gasoline and CNG so as to make them far more efficient and slash their emissions.
“Nothing can stop the transformation in our industry. And we’ll lead that transformation,” emphasizes Müller. His mission is to shape the system change in drive technology, boldly, uncompromisingly, yet responsibly. As the CEO notes: “Our goal is to redefine mobility. To make it sustainable, clean and better for our customers worldwide. That’s what drives us. That drives me personally. And it’s what 600,000 employees at the Volkswagen Group and our brands are working to accomplish.”