Volkswagen Chief Promises 50 Million Electric Cars

Tue 13th Nov 2018

Diess, a former BMW executive was installed as head of Volkswagen earlier this year and has had plenty to deal with in his short time in charge, but is giving his full-backing to electric vehicles despite the company’s traditional USP being engineering excellence.

Speaking to American car publication, Automotive News, the 60-year-old said that the company was well placed to move to EV production.

“There are huge changes ahead for Volkswagen, with the cars, with the EV market really picking up in the next years,” Diess said. “We will have a very strong product portfolio on electric cars because we are, worldwide, we are investing heavily. Just last week, I was in China. We broke ground for a car plant which will only produce electric cars. We have our first plant in Germany which only will produce electric cars. The platform is already booked for 50 million electric cars. We have sourced the batteries for 50 million electric cars, so this is a huge momentum coming, and probably from a volume piece, I think we have the best setup strategy for the electric vehicles to come.”

Diess is also keen to tackle a public skeptical about the viability of electric cars, but was also honest enough to admit that the current models may not suit all types of drivers.

He said: “Sales are picking up. It's not all over the place, but West Coast [United States], if you go to a parking lot, you see already a decent mix of electric cars there. Most of them are probably Teslas, but what's happening now is that the cars become so much better.

“The first car we will be launching next year, early 2020, will be the I.D., the size of a Golf, but because it's a full-electric platform, it has the interior space of a Passat. It has 400 to 600 kilometers (249 to 373 miles) of range, fast acceleration, fast charging and comes at the price of a diesel.

“Many — not all — would consider an electric car because if you are still driving far distances, 20,000 or 30,000 miles [per year], it's probably not the right car. But there are so many people who are driving longer distances only so often, and it makes a lot of sense, in Europe, in China, and in the United States because the cars are really becoming good.”