Tesla Bulls Beware: Volkswagen Wants to Be the Electric Car King

Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion Concept

While VW will continue outsource battery assembly, the company announced it would increase its EV-producing plants from three to 16 by the end of 2022.

The Volkswagen Group wants to speed up the "Roadmap E" transportation electrification strategy unveiled previous year, and has announced plans for more than a dozen new production sites for electric vehicles and massive contracts for the batteries which will power them. By 2030, VW aims to have around 300 new electrified models, many of which will be based on existing models.

Research and development costs in 2017 were dominated by new models along with the electrification of the vehicle portfolio, a more efficient range of engines and digitalization.

Müller was speaking at Volkswagen's annual media conference in Berlin, Germany, where Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter also outlined the firm's fiscal health despite the loss of billions through the emissions scandal. This year alone, VW plans to introduce another nine new vehicles, three of which will be pure EVs.

Many European countries have implemented tough carbon dioxide emission laws, prompting vehicle manufacturer such as Volkswagen to increase investment into greentech.

VW now has three electric vehicle factories, but that number will increase to nine by 2020 and to at least 16 by 2022, the automaker said Tuesday.

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To ensure adequate battery capacity for the massive expansion of electric mobility, partnerships with battery manufacturers for Europe and China have already been agreed, while a supplier decision for North America will be taken shortly, it said. "With Roadmap E, we have sent a powerful message of our resolve", Müller stated. The contracts already awarded have a total volume of around Euro 20 billion, says VW.

A newly unveiled concept auto promises a self-driving EV with a 400-mile range, joining VW's I.D. family of electrified vehicles.

To accommodate production, Müller said the company will adapt nine production sites to handle electric-vehicle production. "We are putting nearly €20 billion ($A32 billion) into our conventional vehicle and drive portfolio in 2018, with a total of more than €90 billion scheduled over the next five years".

The German manufacturer predicts an operating margin this year of 6.5%-7.5% of revenue, compared with 7.4% in 2017.

When it launched Roadmap E in Europe in the third quarter of previous year, the Volkswagen Group projected it would deliver 80 new EVs from two EV architectures.

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