The recent 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show is always quite a spectacle, and this year proved to be no exception. It’s one of the premier events in the motoring calendar, and it so happens it’s just an autobahn trip from VW headquarters in Wolfsburg. It was inevitable, therefore, that the Volkswagen Group would have plenty to say at the show.
And they didn’t disappoint. In addition to a revamped Golf, the 1479 bhp Bugatti Chiron, a ferocious Audi RS4 Avant and plenty more, the company set out its bold vision for electrifying its range.
When we say bold, we’re not kidding. At the media opening to the event, VW Group chairman Matthias Müller set out his vision: by 2030, every vehicle made by the group will have an electric variant. Considering that the company manufactures around 300 models, spanning everything from Lamborghini Huracan to a Skoda Yeti, that’s a huge commitment.
And there’s more. By 2025, Müller said, VW Group will bring no less than eighty new electrified vehicles to market. Fifty of these will be electric-only; the remainder will be hybrids. The previous target for the group was thirty models.
Eighty new models in seven years. Crikey.
Müller insists this isn’t pie-in-the-sky. “This is not some vague declaration of intent. It is a strong self-commitment which, from today, becomes the yardstick by which we measure our performance.”
The race for electrification has been spurred by several factors: global pressure to reduce vehicle emissions, the need for a new direction following VW’s diesel emission problems, and competition from US electric-car giant, Tesla.
And how much will all this cost?
The price tag for this overhaul will be simply colossal. One of the principal costs will be in meeting the increased demand for battery capacity. Volkswagen Group estimate that will set them back €50bn. That’s the GDP of a decent-sized country. Then there are the costs of research and development — VW anticipates that new technology will allow some vehicles a range of 1000km (620 miles) and will recharge in a period taking no longer than a coffee-break. Overall, the company is committed to a €20bn investment in electrification.
Yet in an interview with Reuters, Müller maintained that none of VW’s assets will need to be unloaded in order to fund all this. Despite recent setbacks, he said, the group is well-placed to meet the financial demands.
Power to the people
In the dark days before WWII, Volkswagen was launched to bring affordable motoring to the general population. That reminder is still there in their name — Volkswagen translates as ‘people’s car’. And in this new ‘Roadmap E’ strategy, the giant motor group is promising a new sort of automotive revolution, offering to bring genuinely usable, reasonably-priced electric cars to the masses.
As Müller summed it up, “The transformation in our industry is unstoppable. And we will lead that transformation.”
No matter what the future holds for the VW Group, here at Welsh VW Group we will continue to offer main-dealer levels of service at real-world prices. If you’re in Cardiff or South Wales, we’re the number one choice for MOTs, servicing and repairs on your VW group car (or other makes!). Please get in touch with our friendly team.