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Volkswagen Accelerates into EV Market with $25-Billion Battery Investment

Christoph Braun/Wikimedia Commons

Determined to restore its reputation (and its balance sheet) in the long wake of the 2015 diesel emissions scandal [1], Volkswagen is putting pedal to the metal in pursuit of an expanding electric vehicle market.

“Back in November, the company committed €34 billion (about US$42 billion) to a plan that supports electric and self-driving vehicles,” Greentech Media reports. Then more recently, the world’s largest car manufacturer announced “that it had secured about $25 billion in battery supplies and technology, a sum it plans to scale up to about $60 billion as it looks to expand electric vehicle manufacturing.”

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Although Volkswagen has no immediate plans to produce its own batteries, according to a Reuters [3] report, “the company [also] announced it would increase its EV-producing plants from three to 16 by the end of 2022,” Greentech notes.

Taken together, the investments “should help Volkswagen produce its planned three million electric cars per year by 2025.” Citing a Bloomberg report [4], Greentech’s Emma Foehringer-Merchant states that “to hit that target the manufacturer plans a brisk pace, introducing a new electric model nearly every month starting in 2019,” with EV options available for all VW models by 2030.

The company will also soon roll out a new “Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) platform”, which it says “will make EV manufacturing faster and potentially more affordable.”

VW’s bid to restore public and shareholder faith in its brand will face serious competition, however. Even though Tesla is scrambling [5] to gear up production and keep its delivery promises, the California upstart has “invested $17.5 billion in EV batteries and has alluded to plans for future gigafactories,” Greentech notes. Meanwhile, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, currently the planet’s largest seller of EVs, moved to entrench its lead in January, promising up to $1 billion in new investment in “next-generation” mobility.