VW hopes to make a fresh start with electric vehicle expansion
According to German newspaper Handelsblatt, Volkswagen will expand its electric vehicle portfolio and is considering building a multi-billion-euro battery factory, much like Tesla’s Gigafactory. This will not only draw the public away from the diesel scandal, VW hopes, but allow the automaker to work independently from companies like Samsung and LG that have dominated the battery market.
Currently, VW chief Matthias Mller and his team are putting together a strategy to sell 1 million electric vehicles in the next 10 years. The supervisory board will vote on the plan on June 22 during the company’s annual meeting. We previously reported that the EPA may ask VW to build a certain number of EVs at its Chattanooga, Tenn., plant as penance for its emissions cheating.
An insider familiar with the new plan spoke with Handelsblatt, saying, “We want to launch a major initiative, one that will put us at the top of the industry.” The German paper says the company’s board is likely to approve the plan to build the battery factory. This initiative also has the support of the works council and the state of Lower Saxony, a major shareholder.
By focusing more on electric vehicle technology, VW hopes to improve its image after the infamous “Dieselgate” scandal where the company cheated emissions tests. It’s unclear if VW’s battery plant would match the scale of Tesla’s Gigafactory, which is said to cover 5.8 million sq-ft when completed and supply enough battery packs to support production of 500,000 cars a year at the company’s Fremont, Calif., plant by 2018.