Volkswagen has picked partners to provide battery cells and related technology worth around €20bn for its growing electric car programme, adding further pressure on US pioneer Tesla.
Until its “dieselgate” emissions scandal was revealed two and a half years ago, Europe’s largest carmaker had been slow to embrace electric cars.
But the fraud prompted a strategic shift, while advances in batteries and a global fight against pollution are raising pressure on carmakers to adopt zero-emission alternatives.
Volkswagen (VW) said it had secured battery technology deliveries for Europe and China, where it sells 80% of its vehicles, and will select a supplier for North America soon.
While Tesla’s much-anticipated Model 3 sedan has already missed some key production targets, VW plans to expand assembly of zero-emission cars to 16 plants globally through the end of 2022 from three at present.
VW’s emissions scandal, new Chinese quotas for electric cars and tightening rules on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in Europe are causing carmakers to focus on green cars and self-driving technology.
VW has a goal to sell three million electric cars per year across the group by 2025 and to offer an electric version of each of the group’s 300 models by 2030.
LG Chem, Samsung and Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) will deliver batteries to VW, which has no plans to start producing powerpacks by itself, said Mr Mueller.
Although grappling with billions of euros in costs and fines for dieselgate, VW has pledged to spend €34bn on electric vehicles, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022, one of the most ambitious plans in the industry.
Separately, the German carmaker reiterated guidance for higher vehicle sales and revenue this year and for a group operating margin of 6.5%-7.5% after 7.4% last year.