Volkswagen promises electric vehicle leadership by 2018, kinda late to the agme are they?

Audi A3 e-tron Sportback plug-in hybrid

We don’t really think of Volkswagen as producing any kind of electric car, despite having shown a few electric concept cars. However the Volkswagen group includes some other companies like Audi and Porsche, and between the companies they’ve been making some interesting moves towards electrified vehicles. Slowly. However, on the eve of this years Frankfurt International Motor Show, VW’s CEO Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn pledged the VW Group would be making big moves into electrified vehicles, and be a global leader by 2018.

That year happens to be when a new round of tightened regulations in the U.S. kick in.

They’re making big sounding noises – they have all the technology in hand – they’ve developed modularized components that act as building blocks – etc ..

Fact is that they’ve been slow coming to the electrified vehicle game.  Companies in this group have shown some interesting vehicles, and even have a few on the market or coming to market soon.  But where other companies have already been doing electrified vehicles for a couple years, VW is just now beginning to trickle out a vehicle or two.

Like – the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid, which has a 0-60 miles/hr time of 7.6 seconds, an astounding 156.81 miles/gallon fuel efficiency, and an electric driving range of about 30 miles.

Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid

Or what about the Porsche 918 Spyder, a high speed high fuel efficiency supercar for the future that’s a flat out race car with an ingenious plug-in hybrid drive train integrated in ways that work for racing as well as for fuel efficiency and emissions reduction.

Volkswagen XL1 plug-in hybrid

And then there’s the Volkswagen XL1 plug-in hybrid concept car that combines extreme aerodynamics, light weight, a hyper-efficient 1-liter engine, to score over 260 miles/gallon fuel efficiency.

But Volkswagen is also part of the consortium of companies that have been slow to develop all electric cars, and have worked with the SAE to ensure the J1772 committee did not ratify CHAdeMO as the standard for DC Fast Charging.  That act has delayed the adoption of fast charging, and may have delayed the overall adoption of electric vehicles.

The accusation some make is that the SAE committee was used as leverage to hinder Nissan’s chance of success with the Nissan Leaf by delaying fast charging.  That delay was supposed to give time for companies like Volkswagen to get their act together.

Good thing is that Volkswagen is beginning to get there.

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My daily driver – Karmann Ghia conversion

One still wishes that Volkswagen might bring back the Karmann Ghia as an electric vehicle.  Until then …

 

Volkswagen launches bold offensive for age of electric mobility

Group sets sights on market leadership in electric mobility by 2018 

Multi-billion investment in new technologies, 70,000 employees trained 

Initially choice of 14 electric and hybrid models by 2014 

Winterkorn: “We are starting at exactly the right time”
Wolfsburg/Frankfurt am Main, 09 September 2013 – The Volkswagen Group has set its sights on global market leadership in electric mobility. “We are starting at exactly the right time. We are electrifying all vehicle classes, and therefore have everything we need to make the Volkswagen Group the top automaker in all respects, including electric mobility, by 2018”, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, said on the eve of the 65th International Motor Show in Frankfurt am Main.

Winterkorn is convinced that Volkswagen is strongly positioned: “We have the most comprehensive approach to tomorrow’s mobility. From highly-efficient, eco-friendly diesel, gasoline and natural gas-fuelled engines to classical hybrids, purely battery-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids – no other automaker can match the broad range we have to offer.” The company wants to win new customers with electric vehicles that are technically mature, practical in everyday use, safe and affordable, and is showcasing models such as the all-electric e-up! and e-Golf as well as the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid and the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, also a plug-in model, at the auto industry’s leading motor show.
According to Winterkorn: “The electric car cannot be a compromise on wheels, it must convince customers in every respect.” He said that environmental compatibility and sustainability were increasingly becoming the main purchasing criterion: “From the zero-emission city car, through the plug-in hybrid all-rounder to the three-liter sports saloon: It is our customers who decide for themselves just how much e-mobility they want.” He went on to say that electric-drive vehicles were a key building block for achieving the ambitious climate protection targets, and that the plug-in hybrid had the greatest market potential.
Initially, a total of 14 models from several Group brands will be available with electric or hybrid drive technology by 2014. If there is sufficient demand, up to 40 new models could be fitted with alternative drivetrains. Winterkorn underscored that Volkswagen had placed electric mobility “at the center of the Group”: “We have developed the know-how for electric motors and battery systems at our own components plants, we have recruited 400 top experts for electric traction and qualified almost 70,000 development, production and service employees in this new technology – the biggest electrification training program in our industry.”
The Volkswagen Group invests over seven billion euros in research and development each year. A significant share is spent on developing technologies and components for electric mobility – more than in any other field.
The key to rolling out electric mobility swiftly and efficiently across all brands and vehicle classes is the modular toolkit systems which from the start have been designed for assembling electric drives. Production in Bratislava, Puebla, Wolfsburg, Leipzig or Ingolstadt can now respond flexibly and at low risk to demand as it arises and can reduce both weight and costs through the use of proven components.
According to Winterkorn, anyone who genuinely takes ecological responsibility seriously goes one step further: “We must have a holistic mindset and a comprehensive approach to mobility – from generating energy through development, production, retail and vehicle operation right down to recycling. Our clear goal, therefore, is to lead with holistic, modern mobility concepts.”
In Europe, Volkswagen Group brands currently offer 420 model variants with maximum CO2 emissions of 130 grams per kilometer, 302 models emitting a maximum of 120 g/km, 50 models emitting up to 100 g/km and 23 models emitting 95 g/km or less. The Volkswagen XL1 plug-in hybrid has the lowest emissions. The world’s most efficient series production vehicle has CO2 emissions of 21 g/km, consumes 0.9 liters of fuel and has a range of 500 kilometers, making it the company’s technological spearhead.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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  1. Pingback: Post-Dieselgate Volkswagen will focus on electric vehicles – yippee, I hope | The Long Tail Pipe

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