Volkswagen Group to expand EV production worldwide to 16 sites by end of 2022; partnerships with battery manufacturers
The Volkswagen Group is expanding its production of electric vehicles to 16 locations around the globe by the end of 2022. This was announced by Matthias Müller, CEO of Volkswagen AG, at the Group’s Annual Media Conference in Berlin. The Group currently produces electric vehicles at three locations, and in two years’ time a further nine Group plants are scheduled to be equipped for this purpose.
To ensure adequate battery capacity, partnerships with battery manufacturers for Europe and China have already been agreed. The contracts already awarded have a total volume of around €20 billion (US$24.7 billion). A supplier decision for North America will be taken shortly.
When “Roadmap E” was launched last fall, Volkswagen announced plans to build up to three million electric vehicles annually by 2025 and market 80 new electric Group models. This year, another nine new vehicles, three of which will be purely electric-powered, will be added to the Group’s electric portfolio of eight e-cars and plug-in hybrids.
From 2019, there will be a new electric vehicle “virtually every month”, Müller said: “This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world, across all brands and regions, in just a few years.”
Müller emphasized that this did not mean Volkswagen was turning its back on conventional drive systems. Modern diesel drives were part of the solution, not part of the problem, he stressed—also with regard to climate change.
We are making massive investments in the mobility of tomorrow, but without neglecting current technologies and vehicles that will continue to play an important role for decades to come. We are putting almost €20 billion into our conventional vehicle and drive portfolio in 2018, with a total of more than €90 billion [US$111 billion] scheduled over the next five years.
A separate Committee chaired by CEO Müller is advancing digitalization in the Group, a key issue for the future.
The Volkswagen Group says that it has the financial resources for the transformation. In spite of the billions in cash outflows from the diesel crisis, net liquidity at the end of 2017 remained at €22.4 billion (US$27.6 billion]).
Research and development costs in 2017 were dominated by new models along with the electrification of the vehicle portfolio, a more efficient range of engines and digitalization. At €12.6 (US$15.5) billion, investments in property, plant and equipment in the Automobile Division remained at the previous year’s level. The R&D ratio, total research and development expenditure as a percentage of the Automotive Division’s sales revenue, decreased to 6.7% from 7.3%. Capex/sales revenue was also lowered significantly to 6.4% from 6.9%.