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VW Is Shifting Billions From EV Plans to Gas Car Development

VW isn’t the first major automaker to reassess the EV situation, joining Ford, GM, and Mercedes-Benz.
Close-up on car exhaust.
Volkswagen

Another week has passed, and another legacy automaker says, “Hold up, wait a minute,” on its plans to go fully electric by 2030 or 2040 or…at this point, perhaps, it’s when pigs fly.

Suits from Volkswagen Group are the latest to reconsider putting all or nothing at all into the EV coffers. According to Automotive News, CFO and COO Arno Antlitz said VW Group’s investment dollars would still go toward internal combustion engines. *gasp* 

But how many dollars are we actually talking about? A couple of bucks? Nope. One-third of €180 billion, or about $64 billion in today’s currency exchange rates. For real? 

To some, ICE is as dirty a word as diesel. On the VW front specifically, its EV plans appeared to be in full swing. The Volkswagen brand sold its 500,000th EV one year ahead of schedule, and VW CEO Thomas Shaefer dismissed e-fuels as “unnecessary noise.

Then again, VW is a brand that listens to public opinion. Even without legal action, buttons came back, for example. And despite the seemingly fast start on EV sales, it wasn’t, er, sustainable. EVs continue to gain market share, but consumers are buying in at a slower rate

So far this year, Ford, General Motors, and Mercedes-Benz have announced pauses or made clarifications regarding their electrification strategies. Ford dealers were asked to sit tight on their EV-centric investments as the automaker reevaluated its retail strategy; GM’s all-electric lineup will now play out “over decades” rather than happen in 2035; and Mercedes-Benz said EVs are the long game, but that ICE, EV, and PHEV together offer the most short-term balance. And a twin-turbo V8 could be part of that balance. *double gasp*

As VW’s Antlitz frankly stated, “The future is electric, but the past is not over.” Oh, ICE, they never meant to give you up, let you down, and desert you.