With Tesla the de facto electric car market master, followed by General Motors and Toyota a distant third, and each pretty secure in their respective electric vehicle market spots, you can allow yourself a smile when you hear Volkswagen’s plans to become the largest electric vehicle manufacturer by 2025.
It is true that VW is checking all the right boxes and pushing all the right buttons, but, let’s face it, VW is late to the start of the electric party, so while it bravely talks of 1 million electric vehicle sales by 2025, making it the top electric vehicle manufacturer, it is unlikely to occur unless a radical shift in buying patterns occurs in the next seven years. At the moment – and for at least the next couple of years – vehicle sales will still be centered on internal combustion powerplants. After 2022 or so, all bets are off.
VW will top market eventually
Yes, a change will happen, but it is likely to take longer than seven years to occur. More than likely it won’t occur until after 2030 or possibly 2035. It isn’t to say it won’t happen; it probably will, just not as quickly as VW predicts. Volkswagen enjoys certain economies of scale due to its size. It is, after all, the world’s largest automaker, so to think it won’t be the world’s largest electric carmaker is not very tenable either. The chances are good that it will be later than they predict.
To that end, VW has started an e-mobility division as part of its push to take over its push to the top spot in the electric market. A VW veteran will head up this new operation. Thomas Ulbrich, moves into his new top job after working as VW’s production chief.
Moves like these and are the right stuff and will ultimately result in VW reaching its goal, but, it won’t be an easy journey. At the moment, Tesla is still to top electric manufacturer with deliveries last year of more than 100,000. General Motors followed with deliveries of about half that. Volkswagen has a long way to goal as its electric vehicle deliveries in 2017 were under 20,000. While they are growing, they still have a way to go to reach the top spot.
Among its moves in that direction will be new series of models such as its I.D. vehicles, the I.D. hatchback and I.D. Crozz SUV, both scheduled for 2020. A third vehicle, the iconic take on the old MicroBus, the I.D. Buzz seems as if it will be on sale before then. VW expects sales of its I.D. vehicles to be in the 100,000 range. Volkswagen has ambitious plan for I.D. series
VW will use single platform
Meantime, VW is using its cross-brand electric platform, the MEB, to develop its mass-market electrics. VW’s Audi, Seat and Skoda subsidiaries will be using it. The platform underpins VW’s ambitious plans, outlined in its Roadmap E document, that have VW making 1 million branded vehicles by 2025 with another 500,000 coming from other VW divisions.
Ulbrich will take over the new division next month. He has been VW’s chief of production and logistics since 2014. Before that he had been involved in VW’s China operations as chief of logistics at FAW-Volkswagen and at Shanghai-Volkswagen were he was technical head. He will be succeeded by Andreas Tostmann, formerly chief of production at Seat, VW’s Spanish subsidiary.
Source: Automotive News Europe