German carmaker Volkswagen is investing heavily in electric cars. The company has rolled out 250,000 electric cars since the start of the company’s electric vehicle programme in 2013.
Today, Volkswagen has set itself an ambitious target to sell another 250,000 in the next year. Juergen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen said that the company is fully committed to the Paris Agreement and is looking to go CO2 neutral by 2050.
In an interview to CNBC-TV18, he said, “We believe electric cars are the only fast and effective way of moving from a CO2 burning profile to a more sustainable energy platform. Volkswagen will be investing heavily in plants and product ranges very heavily. So if we sold 250,000 cars in a decade, we are likely to sell the next 250,000 in one year. There is going to be a real fast pick up of electric cars in Europe, the US, and China.”
Volkswagen, which sells the e-up and e-Golf, will launch an all-new generation of electric vehicles in 2020 based on the company’s MEB(Modular Electric Drive Matrix Platform). The first models will be the ID Compact and the ID Crozz SUV. Volkswagen would also be launching the ID Buzz van in 2022.
However, the company has no immediate plans of bringing an electric vehicle to India. Stackmann said that they are still trying to gauge the customer demand for electric vehicles in India. “I don't think we will launch electric cars at a national level yet but we will start our development from major metropolitan cities, the way we have done globally”.
The Volkswagen group is set to showcase four new SUV’s at the Indian Auto Expo this week. Along with that, the group would also unveil a new logo and brand identity which would reflect the company’s commitment to reducing emissions and its new car technology.
Elaborating on Volkswagen’s India 2.0 strategy, Stackmann said, “SUVs are the main pillar of our India strategy going forward. Volkswagen has invested in SUVs with huge success. Our SUV mix around the globe has risen from 10 percent in 2015 to 36 percent in the last year and will break the 40 percent mark this year. It is time to bring this very strong impactful platform idea to India. Some of the cars will be imported in MKD forms. There will be a locally produced car as well.”
Talking about the future of diesel cars, Stackmann confirmed that going forward the company would restrict diesel technology to large cars only. In India too the company is going to stop production of small diesel cars.
“Truth of the matter is that emission norms are so rigid that the cost of small cars becomes so prohibitive that customers don't want to buy small diesel cars in big volumes any longer. For the time being in India, we will focus on TSI which is our most modern petrol technology. It delivers almost equivalent fuel efficiency as diesel but we will bring back diesel variants in larger cars”, he said.
The Volkswagen management board member believes that 2020 would be a good year for the global auto industry. Speaking about the impact of the Coronavirus on global car sales he said, “China is our biggest market and we have a direct impact in terms of plant closures and school closures. My personal reading is that this will cool down. I do not expect a long term impact of this virus and we expect some normality in a few weeks.”