Volkswagen revs up electric, hybrid, and digital investment to €73bn


Car giant earmarks half its total investment spend for EVs, hybrid cars, AI and autonomous driving over the next five years

Volkswagen plans to increase its investment in electric, hybrid, and digital technologies to €73bn over the next five years, as the German car giant races to meet growing consumer demand and regulatory pressure to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuel cars.

The company on Friday said it has earmarked half of its €150bn total investment plan over the next five years for production and development of electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid vehicles, and digitisation, rising from its previous pledge of 40 per cent.

Around €35bn of the budget will go towards electromobility alone, it said, with €11bn earmarked for hybrid vehicles, and another €27bn towards digitisation, which includes the development of car software, AI, and autonomous driving technologies.

As part of the investment plan, VW is also increasing its focus on battery development. At its Salzgitter site in Germany, the firm plans to invest €1bn in “strategically important” battery technology, teaming up with Swedish firm Northvolt to build a cell production facility which it aims to have in operation by 2024, it said.

The move further bolsters VW’s EV strategy, which has seen the carmaker commit to launch around 70 all-electric car models by 2030, of which it said 20 are already in production. In addition, it plans to launch around 60 hybrid models by the end of the decade, of which just over half are already being manufactured.

Overall, the company said it aims to have produced around 26 million fully electric cars by 2030, and around seven million hybrids over the same period.

“Having set the course for a battery-electric future in the Volkswagen Group early on, we are now a global leader with our electric platforms and a broad range of electric vehicles,” said Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess. “In the coming years, it will be crucial to also reach a leading position in car software in order to meet people’s needs for individual, sustainable and fully connected mobility in the future. To that end, we have doubled our digitalisation spend.”

Volkswagen was the first automaker to commit to the Paris Agreement and has a long term goal in place to become ‘climate neutral’ by 2050, with the firm seeking to clean up its image after becoming mired in controversy for its role in the ‘dieselgate’ emissions test-fixing scandal in 2015.

Bernd Osterloh, chairman of the firm’s general works council, said VW’s investments “demonstrate that our Group walks the talk when it comes to transformation, electric mobility and digitalisation”.

“We will go fully on the offensive in the coming years,” he said. “Volkswagen is fully committed to climate-friendly, highly networked mobility.”

The move comes as reports suggest the UK is poised to become the latest country to announce plans for a 2030 ban on sales of new petrol and diesel internal combustion engine cars, bringing forward a previous phase out date of 2040. The move is also expected to see sales of new hybrid-electric cars end from 2035.

The Green Link