Since the public humiliation of the diesel debacle, Volkswagen’s execs have had much to say about producing more electrified vehicles. Speaking at the company’s New Year’s party in Brussels, CEO Matthias Müller promised that the Volkswagen Group would concentrate on sustainability “more than ever before,” and confirmed plans to introduce about 20 new plug-in models by 2020. “We are using the current crisis to fundamentally realign the Group. I strongly feel we now have the chance to build a new and better Volkswagen.”
Time will tell if VW’s current interest in EVs leads to more future sales, but many industry observers believe that selling more zero-emissions vehicles is the only way the company will be able to meet tightening emissions standards. Müller added another reason for the shift: European solidarity.
“We must not leave this playing field to Silicon Valley,” said Müller. Europe needs to take the technological lead, and that will require cooperation. “The efforts of our industry alone won’t be enough. A true breakthrough for electric mobility will only be achieved if politics, society and authorities work together more closely.”
Meanwhile, the Volkswagen Group has restructured its vehicle development organization, dividing its lineup among four groups: small cars; compact cars; mid- and full-size cars; and Battery Electric Vehicles (the existing e-up! and e-Golf are also members of the small and compact groups, respectively). The BEV series group is headed up by Christian Senger.