Volkswagen Will Kill Internal Combustion Engine Development After 2026, Exec Says

The next generation of VW gas engines will be its last, the company has revealed.

byChris Tsui|
Electric Vehicles photo

It seems Volkswagen is going all in on electrification, so much so that its development of new gas powerplants will come to a halt in less than a decade. At a recent industry conference near its home of Wolfsburg, Germany, VW said its next generation of internal combustion engines will be its last and that the gas-powered motors that'll debut in 2026 will be the end of the breed, reports Bloomberg

While "the year 2026" might, at first glance, look like a date pulled from science fiction to those of us above a certain age, it's only about seven years away.

"Our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren't CO2 neutral," said Volkswagen strategy chief Michael Jost on Tuesday. "We're gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum."

Alas, plans to replace those traditionally powered cars with electric ones are already in place with the German auto giant claiming to have set aside $56 billion for the purchase of EV batteries that'll make its way into 50 million cars based on the MEB modular electric platform. Two plants have already been set up for dedicated EV duty—one in Germany and the other in China.

Even though VW won't continue to develop new combustion engines past the next decade, that doesn't mean gas-powered vehicles will disappear altogether. Jost says fossil-fueled cars may still be around past 2050 particularly in less-developed corners of the world with "insufficient charging infrastructure."

The report points out that Volkswagen's gung-ho attitude toward cutting carbon emissions partially originates from wanting to make up for past sins. "Yes, we have a clear responsibility here," said Jost. "We made mistakes." 

Uncovered in 2015, the Dieselgate scandal saw Volkswagen admitting to cheating on emissions tests, affecting 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.