As VW cautiously rolls out its electrified product line, it seems to see plenty of potential for plug-ins in China. The Volkswagen Group has five plug-in models ready for production, and four were on display at a press event in China this week.
The four offerings spanned the price range, from the practical two-door VW e-up! (which went on sale in Germany this month) to Audi’s A3 e-tron and Porsche’s Panamera S E-Hybrid (slated to go on sale in China later this year). On hand for gee-whiz value was the spaceship-like XL1 (which debuted last March in Geneva). The e-Golf, scheduled to go on sale in Germany in the second quarter of 2014, apparently wasn’t invited to this party.
Volkswagen announced that local Chinese production of certain PHEV models would begin in 2016.
“Volkswagen Group is committed to implementing a tailor-made strategy in China and to bringing new energy vehicles to China to meet local consumer needs in all segments and classes,” said Prof. Dr. Jochem Heizmann, CEO of Volkswagen Group China. “The Group’s overall focus is [on the] plug-in hybrid, as it combines the best of two worlds – pure electric driving in urban areas and long distance driving with an efficient combustion engine. With the Porsche Panamera Plug-in Hybrid, we are already offering Chinese customers NEVs and will further increase our portfolio step by step.”
China is already the VW Group’s largest market, and the company is rapidly expanding its production capacity there. This week, it opened a new plant in Ningbo, south of Shanghai. The new plant, which has an annual production capacity of 300,000 vehicles, is VW’s 16th in China.