Volkswagen Group launching major electro-mobility campaign in China; $25B on new vehicles, technologies and plants up to 2018
20 April 2014
The Volkswagen Group is launching a major electro-mobility campaign in China—the the biggest initiative for e-mobility in China’s automotive history, said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG, on the eve of the Auto China motor show in Beijing. The initiative gets underway with the launch this year of the Volkswagen brand’s battery-electric e-up! (earlier post) and e-Golf (earlier post) models.
The Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid plug-in hybrid (earlier post) is already in the showrooms in China; the Group will launch two further plug-in hybrid vehicles there next year with the Audi A3 e-tron (earlier post) and the Golf GTE (earlier post). Starting in 2016, this will be followed by two models developed specially for the Chinese market: These are the Audi A6 (earlier post) and a new mid-size limousine from the Volkswagen brand, both plug-in hybrids which are being developed together with the joint venture partners FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen and will be produced locally.
Furthermore, the Bentley Hybrid Concept opens a window on the broad-ranging potential of hybrid technology. (Earlier post.)
All these vehicles are highly efficient and eco-friendly. And at the same time they offer lots of driving pleasure. That is exactly what people all over the world and here in China expect of the Volkswagen Group. Thanks to the modular strategy, which is also being implemented at our Chinese factories, we can electrify nearly every model in our range: From small cars to large sedans, from pure electric drives to plug-in hybrids. Here in China, we are now setting out on the road to a future of emission-free mobility.—Martin Winterkorn
As a result, the Volkswagen Group is making its Chinese vehicle fleet ever more efficient. 17 Group models already meet the updated legal requirements set by the Chinese authorities to qualify as “especially energy-efficient vehicles.”
To that end, the two joint venture partners FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen are investing more than ever before in advanced vehicles and drives, green technologies and resource-efficient plants: €18.2 billion (US$25.1 billion) up to 2018.
Over the coming years, more than 20,000 new skilled jobs will be created in China alone.
In addition, the Group’s dealer network will see significant growth and increase by 50% from the present approximately 2,400 dealerships to more than 3,600. More than 500,000 people will then be employed by the Volkswagen Group’s Chinese dealer organization. This year alone, the Group brands will be putting more than 30 new models, successor models and product upgrades in Chinese showrooms.
Winterkorn also said that China is the Volkswagen Group's largest single market and plays a key role in the Group’s Strategy 2018. For 2014, Volkswagen Group is again targeting double-digit growth in China and is aiming to deliver more than 3.5 million vehicles to customers for the first time in a calendar year, Winterkorn said.
Globally, the Group is aiming to deliver more than 10 million vehicles worldwide for the first time; achieving that would mean the quantitative target of Strategy 2018 would have been reached four years earlier than planned.China will be an integral part of the Group’s “Future Tracks” initiative, which addresses the nascent digitalization era in the auto industry. (Earlier post.)
Uninspired. Though this is China, so who knows?
Electrical vehicles are not going to make a serious impact (10% increase in total vehicle penetration in any period of five years) until sellers are willing to completely introduce a new paradigm into autos as Tesla has. You need to introduce an electrical vehicle lifestyle that completely uproots everything that gas cars have wrought upon us - that is noise, pollution, centralized overpriced stations as monopoly, expensive car repairs, dealership collusion and anti-competitiveness, etc. Electrical cars must be a clean sweep and Tesla has done everything right except push out a sub $50k car - but soon. But as NJ has shown us, traditional methods of buying, repairing and re-fueling need to be re-examined and overthrown. Many estimates on total cost of car ownership for an electrical vehicle have been put at 30-50% of gas car ownership for vehicles typically found in the $35k+ classes over the next 5 years - that is initial cost, all fueling, all repairs, and residual value subtracted - this is a huge risk for car companies with so much already invested in gas vehicles and its associated infrastructure. Fueling costs through Tesla like free-fueling stations and home-fueling with reduced repair costs based on the tremendously simpler drive system will compensate for 'higher' initial costs. The comparatively major unknown though is battery reliability, raw material availability, and long-term performance. With the costs of car usage plunging for the first time in decades, a true renaissance in personal travel should emerge toward 2020, but this thing that Volkswagen is doing is unlikely to contribute to that too much. Tesla needs to push China and now.
Posted by: Jer | 20 April 2014 at 03:52 PM
Yes Jer, but even Tesla is too conventional for future lower cost e-cars.
Re-enforced plastics bodies, made with 3D printers, 24/7 on a fully automated mass production line, could eventually reduce total weight and cost by half. Smaller lower cost battery pack (and even smaller one) could give same range as current very heavy S-85 Model.
Now that Tesla has proven that a 5750 lbs extended range e-car is possible, the next generation should use lighter materials and different manufacturing techniques.
Posted by: HarveyD | 20 April 2014 at 05:06 PM