German automaker puts all of its cards in the electrification basket
Volkswagen Group has announced that its decarbonization plan has been signed off with a target of going carbon dioxide (CO2)-neutral by 2050. This reaffirms the German automaker’s commitment to electrification and it has raised the stakes even more by adding 20 more EV models in its product plans on top of the 50 it originally announced to launch. In total, Volkswagen will flood the market with 22 million EVs within 10 years’ time.
Herbert Diess, Volkswagen Group CEO, said that the automaker is using the Paris Agreement to create their goals and that it will change everything throughout the manufacturing process to minimize their vehicles’ environmental impact. Diess also noted that the automaker also needs to make improvements in efficiency and performance across the company. Three principles will be employed in Volkswagen’s electrification offensive: find ways to effectively reduce CO2 emissions, switch to renewable energy sources, and compensate for unavoidable emissions.
As part of its EV offensive, it has also enlisted four other companies to support it, LG Chem, Samsung, SKI and CATL. All four companies will be supplying battery cells to the Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen is also entertaining the possibility of making its own batteries with its partner QuantumScape and is planning to investigate the viability of solid-state batteries.
From manufacturing to the rest of the vehicle’s life cycle, Volkswagen intends to cut emissions as much as possible. Plants are expected to produce 50 percent less CO2 emissions by 2025 while power stations like the one in the Wolfsburg facility are projected to cut CO2 output by 1.5 million tons annually from 2023 thanks to its conversion from coal to gas.
The key to the Volkswagen Group’s electrification offensive will the MEB platform, which will be used in production ID hatchback. Volkswagen has also announced that it will give other companies access to the MEB platform in order to achieve lower costs and spread the architecture across more vehicles. By doing so, Volkswagen says that it will make electrification more affordable and accessible.
To support the massive number of EVs it plans to put on the road, Volkswagen will add 400 fast charging stations on major European highways by 2020 via its collaboration with IONITY and 100 will be in Germany. Elli, a new Volkswagen subsidiary, will offer wall-mounted home chargers but will be exclusive to Germany in the beginning. Another 3,500 charging points will also be added to parking lots of Volkswagen plants before eventually expanding out.
In the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, Volkswagen is reinventing itself as an e-mobility company. Although they will initially work with other companies, the automaker appears to be planning to streamline the whole process over time by creating everything from batteries to home chargers and other vehicle services. Whether that strategy will extend to the North American market remains to be seen. This year’s Frankfurt auto show, which could be the venue for the debut of the production ID hatchback, could reveal more details on Volkswagen Group’s massive electrification initiative.