Several luxury automakers recently announced plans to increase production of hybrid and electric cars, or even electrify their entire lineups. But those plans will be dwarfed by Volkswagen's electrification push. At its media night ahead of the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Volkswagen Group announced that will electrify not just the main VW brand, but every brand in its sprawling automotive empire by 2030. Which means every Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, and Bugatti—among other nameplates—will be forced to offer an electric-powered or electric-assisted version of every car by then.
The VW Group will continue to offer standalone internal-combustion powertrains, but it will have at least one hybrid or electric version of each of its roughly 300 models by then. The initiative includes 80 new electrified models by 2025—50 all-electric models, and 30 plug-in hybrids. VW expects up to one in four of its new models to be all-electric by that time, and plans to purchase over 150 gigawatt-hours of lithium-ion batteries to power all of those cars.
VW is currently seeking a partner to supply it with over 50 billion euros (about $59 billion) worth of batteries, which will be used for new models based on the MEB platform for electric cars. The company plans to spend more on top of that to procure batteries for larger electric cars, and plug-in hybrids. It's also earmarking over 20 billion euros (about $23 billion) to fund the electrification transition.
While many automakers are planning ambitious electrification efforts, VW may face the biggest challenge. It has a massive array of models across a diverse array of brands that includes everything from Bugatti to Skoda. VW will try to deal with this by making the transition more gradual, keeping conventional gasoline and diesel powertrains in its portfolio for the time being.
Electrification makes sense for all automakers because of anticipated stricter emissions standards. On top of that, Volkswagen has the added incentive of wanting to clear the air (no pun intended) after its diesel-emissions cheating scandal. Regaining public trust may be just as hard as getting all of those new electric cars and hybrids on the road.