Volkswagen bets big on electric with $25 billion battery bonanza

Come with us and explore the I.D. Buzz concept. Video shot and edited by Jennifer Hahn.
Jennifer Hahn

After seriously tarnishing its reputation with the diesel scandal, Volkswagen Group has changed strategy. As we reported last September, the company is now heavily committed to electrifying all of its brands by 2030, with 30 new plug-in hybrids and 50 new battery electric vehicles due by that date. On Tuesday, it revealed a crucial part of that plan, called Roadmap E, by locking up a $25 billion supply of batteries.

This isn’t one single deal. Rather, VW Group has contracted with suppliers including Samsung and LG Chem, among others. And it’s not the end of the story. VW Group says this is just to line up batteries for vehicles to be built in Europe and China; a decision about a supplier for North American production “will be taken shortly,” it said in a press release.

Additionally, VW Group CEO Matthias Müller revealed that VW will have a total of 16 factories around the globe churning out EVs by 2022. Currently, there are just three, with another nine set to transition from internal combustion vehicles to EVs in the next two years. By 2025, Müller said, VW Group will be building 3 million EVs a year globally.

“Over the last few months, we have pulled out all the stops to implement ‘Roadmap E’ with the necessary speed and determination,” 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.”

As we’ve previously described, most of these new EVs will be built on a new EV architecture, called MEB. The first of these, the VW I.D. and the I.D. Crozz, are due in 2020, followed a couple of years later by the electric minibus I.D. Buzz and a self-driving I.D. Vizzion. (They sure like their Zs, eh?) But before those MEB cars get here, both Audi and Porsche will have long-range BEVs on sale, starting with Audi’s e-tron SUV that goes on sale in the US in early 2019. As part of this push to electrification, VW is working with other OEMs in Europe to build out a fast charging network, and doing something similar on its own here in the US.

Listing image by Volkswagen

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