As the name suggests, Roadmap E puts Volkswagen on course for a future dominated by electric cars. Every car made by the VW Group umbrella – including Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Seat, and Skoda – will eventually have a fully or partially electric counterpart and 80 new all-electric vehicles will be on the market by 2025.
Perhaps mindful of the emissions scandal of 2015, Matthias Müller, chairman of Volkswagen's board of management said: "We have got the message and we will deliver. 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 transformation in our industry is unstoppable. And we will lead that transformation."
In order for Volkswagen to make enough batteries for the 300-odd models across the entire range, it's going to need some gigafactories. Volkswagen says it'll need more than 150gWh (gigawat hours) of capacity every year by 2025 – equivalent to at least four gigafactories – and that's just for its own electric fleet.
$24 billion is being invested in new vehicle platforms, upgrading infrastructure and the training of staff. Looking ahead, there's a longer-term strategy which aims to see Volkswagen building cars with solid-state batteries. To achieve this, it's looking for partners in Europe, the US, and China, putting out to tender a string of contracts worth $60 billion.
Volkswagen says this is one of the largest procurement projects in automotive history and represents a marked change of tone from last year when Müller said that ICE (internal combustion engine) cars were still "important."
Unlike Volvo, which already pledged to only sell cars with electric motors from 2019, VW isn't putting ICE on ice just yet. Müller added that while Roadmap E represents a grand future vision, the Group will continue to make traditional fuel cars "for the time being."
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It will ultimately be "up to customers to decide how fast [electric cars] will gain widespread acceptance," while Volkswagen continues to offer "the entire powertrain spectrum – from conventional to fully-electric – to enable sustainable and affordable mass mobility."
To avoid a future Dieselgate, all new diesel engines going forward will come with SCR catalytic converters fitted as standard and from 2019 onwards. Significant improvements in consumption and emissions are promised.