VW could build up to 50 million electric cars

VW could build up to 50 million electric cars

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen could build up to 50 million electric cars on its new electric vehicle platform and is looking at expanding its manufacturing footprint in the United States, Chief Executive Herbert Diess told Automotive News.

He said VW could build 50 million electric vehicles globally across its brands, beginning in 2020,...

NoMoPetrol | November 12, 2018

Coulda, shoulda, woulda...

jamesguan117 | November 12, 2018

Where would the batteries come from. Mars?

Tropopause | November 12, 2018

^^^^^ Exactly!

jordanrichard | November 12, 2018

Proof is in the pudding. Believe it when you see it. VW, Daimler, etc and comparatively limitless money and manufacturing experience and yet they are still 2 years from actually producing an EV. Daimler literally had a front seat tot he future when they initially invested in Tesla and that was what, 10 years ago and only they are only now coming out with thier own EV.

David N | November 12, 2018

yada yada yada. Same crapola.

up north | November 13, 2018

The U S can pump as much oil out of the ground as we need. Germany can’t. If there is a war or a block aid that country comes to a standstill. Remedy go electric. VW will do what is right for their people. Country first.

NoMoPetrol | November 13, 2018

@up north: "...VW will do what is right for their people. Country first."

VW, along with all the other German auto manufacturers, will move to EVs because the German government has mandated no ICE sales starting in 2030. Period. No patriotism involved.

lar_lef | November 13, 2018

By the time that happens, Musk will be on Mars.

up north | November 13, 2018

In Germany the government is the people.

NoMoPetrol | November 13, 2018

@up north: "In Germany the government is the people."

Same as in the US - it's a govenment of, by and for the people in power.

jenean | November 13, 2018

I hear they also can build a clean diesel that is more smog free than a Prius.

ravisundaramam | November 13, 2018

VW has invented a very special diesel engine. Under all test and measurement devices it will appear to be a battery!

50 million vehicles? In how many years? scratch that, in how many decades? starting from which decade?

El Mirio | November 14, 2018

meanwhile Deiss is lobbying to reduce CO2 reduction targets.

jimglas | November 14, 2018

And a monkey could fly out of my but

Tesla-David | November 14, 2018

Seeing is believing,and saying something is long way from making it happen. Tesla is so far ahead with proven, beautiful cars with batteries that are years ahead of competitors like VW.

ddeboy | November 14, 2018

This was a pump and dump by CEO. No worries. He's known to be a huge liar across the board.

Roger1 | November 14, 2018

Some of the posters in this forum need to do some research. VW already has a 200 km range electric Golf available for sale. Audi will bring the etron 95 kWh battery electric SVU to North America in the spring/summer of 2019. The etron is priced lower than a Tesla X. Later in the year, Audi will introduce a battery electric sedan that looks like serious competition for the model S. Jaguar is advertising the iPace battery electric SVU on television.

The European car manufacturers are making their own batteries; large single cell units that take the place of hundreds of the small cells used by Tesla. Go on YouTube and do some searches. You can find videos about their electric vehicles including content shot in the electric vehicle and battery manufacturing plants. Remember that traditional automakers have a century of experience building automobiles so they are just putting a new type of powerplant in their vehicles and not starting from scratch like Tesla.

I respect and admire what Elon Musk and Tesla have achieved in pioneering battery electric vehicles but serious competition is coming soon. I drove Audis before I got my Tesla and I can say with confidence that Tesla has a long way to go with customer service and delivery. Model 3 deliveries seem to have overwhelmed them. The traditional automakers have the advantage of large, high volume dealer networks that can handle their new electric vehicles. For dealers its just a new model car.

Tesla has a first to market advantage with the model 3 and an overall advantage with the Supercharger network. Electrify America and Electrify Canada networks, funded by other automakers, will build out over the next few years and offer 150 to 350 kW DC charging. The Supercharger network advantage will go away over time.

The electric car market is about to get really interesting and competitive.

Hi_Tech | November 14, 2018

Here is the basic research I needed to do to know this was a pump n dump or fake news article...
In another article they stated they had budgeted $50B for the batteries. They can make 50M cars. That means they believe the batteries will cost about $1k per car. Anyone else think VW is going into the electric toy car business? ;)

rxlawdude | November 14, 2018

@Roger1, until you can charge on a road trip in 40 minutes or less with these "competitors" (cough!), they are not at all competitive with Tesla.

jlhm | November 14, 2018

@Roger1, All we hear about the competitors is “coming soon”
It’s not just a new model of a car for dealers, it’s a new model that will disrupt their income from service as BEV cars require much less service than ICE cars.

Yodrak. | November 14, 2018

"The European car manufacturers are making their own batteries; large single cell units that take the place of hundreds of the small cells used by Tesla."

Questions: Are the car manufacturers making the batteries (the cells), or are they getting cells from a battery manufacturer and assembling those cells into a battery pack like Tesla is doing? Either way, how do the cells compare to the Panasonic cells that Tesla uses? Is it better to use more smaller cells like Tesla does or fewer larger cells like Nissan does? I don't have the answers, only the questions, but I do note that Nissan stopped making its own cells and sold the operation to a Chinese private investment firm.

"Remember that traditional automakers have a century of experience building automobiles so they are just putting a new type of powerplant in their vehicles and not starting from scratch like Tesla."

Yes, but the traditional automakers do not have a century, or even a decade, of making the new type of powerplant and integrating it into their vehicles.

"I can say with confidence that Tesla has a long way to go with customer service and delivery. Model 3 deliveries seem to have overwhelmed them."

Agreed, Tesla's customer service is taking a hit and needs attention, but damn isn't it selling a lot of Model 3s!

"The traditional automakers have the advantage of large, high volume dealer networks that can handle their new electric vehicles. For dealers its just a new model car."

I wonder if that's an advantage? It seems that some dealers are anxious to sell the new product, others not so much.

"Tesla has a first to market advantage with the model 3 and an overall advantage with the Supercharger network. Electrify America and Electrify Canada networks, funded by other automakers, will build out over the next few years and offer 150 to 350 kW DC charging. The Supercharger network advantage will go away over time."

Possibly. The supercharger network will have to keep up with Tesla's sales, and the Electrify America network will need enough non-Tesla sales to keep it going.

"The electric car market is about to get really interesting and competitive."
I'm tempted to agree, but when I look at sales figures I wonder how many EVs, how many EVs and ICEVs combined, the competition is going to be able to sell. You mention Audi and Jaguar, for example. Big names, but they don't sell a whole lot of cars as it is - are their EV sales going to take away from Tesla's EV sales or from their own ICEV sales? Probably a little of both, but yes it will be interesting to see if EVs take those niche players to main stream, or if the main stream automakers come to embrace EVs and stay main stream.

Roger1 | November 18, 2018

First of all, go on YouTube and search out electric cars. Check out the European manufacturers. There is content produced by the car makers showing what they are doing. Audi announced the etron in August with a flashy production done in San Francisco. There is content from their factories showing the machines producing the batteries. One of my friends saw an etron SUV driving on highway. They are real.

rxlawdude, these European BEVs are designed to charge at Supercharger speeds. Tesla chargers are usually 115 - 120 kW units. The Electrify networks are 150 - 350 kW units. The non-Tesla companies that run existing EV charger networks will have to get serious with high speed DC charging and deploy more than 1 unit at a site if they want to survive. At some point, and it can't be too far in the future, Tesla will have to offer a CCS plug connection rather than Tesla proprietary for North American vehicles. They don't use their proprietary connector for European vehicles - they have a J1772 style connector and put DC on the pins. Tesla are part of the CCS plug group and will put the CCS connector on their European cars starting with the model 3. European Superchargers will get retrofitted with CCS cables in addition to the J1772 existing cables. Check Wikipedia if you want some information on charging connectors.

jlhm, you are correct about the loss of maintenance revenue for dealerships but electric cars still require brakes, suspension work, and tires. Their big issue may be finding trained technicians able to handle more complex software and systems. They will probably adapt with higher hourly rates to makeup for less maintenance per vehicle.

Yodrak, the machine I saw in a video was manufacturing the battery from basic materials. The structure was not an assembly of small cells. The machine was wrapping some type of flat core with layers of material that looked like a plastic film. I think this material formed the anode or cathode of the battery. The completed unit was filled with the lithium-ion electrolyte.

Electric motors are not complex to construct compared with internal combustion designs. They don't use transmissions either. Mechanically, the electric motor connects to the axle with a reduction gear. That's pretty simple mechanically. The big challenge is battery management and vehicle control software. Overall vehicle efficiency and range depend on getting it right.

Some of Tesla's problems come from vehicle design and construction that make it more expensive to manufacture. I saw a YouTube video that I think was from Bloomberg news about a Detroit area company that buys vehicles and methodically tests, disassembles and reverse engineers them. This was not a guy in a garage - the whole operation was very professional. I have no doubt that auto companies and big investment firms buy expensive reports from them to understand what's happening. In the video, the company had purchased two model 3s and torn them apart. The video was shot in what appeared to be a client presentation room with parts from the car mounted on stands; some components had been cut with cross sections. They had a battery pack cut open with the cells visible. I have little doubt that any automaker in the electric vehicle space has extensive knowledge about Tesla's vehicles.

I mentioned that Audi and Jaguar are selling pure battery electric vehicles. Mercedes, BMW and Porsche are right there too. Where I live in Toronto, Canada, high end European brand vehicles are very common as are Asian brand names like Lexus, Infinity and Acura. Tesla seems to be doing well - I usually see at least one whenever I drive somewhere. There are three electric vehicles I have noticed in my neighbourhood - Model 3, Leaf and a Porsche PHEV. On a recent trip to Buffalo, NY, I didn't see a single Tesla on the US side of the border.

The Europeans are forced by EU regulations to produce and sell zero emission vehicles. The manufacturers are expecting to sell significant numbers of EVs by 2025. VW, one of the world's largest, if not the largest, manufacturer of automobiles announced plans to convert 3 of their German factories to electric vehicle production. VW (Audi, Porsche) is not a niche player. I think VW and others have started their EV programs with high end vehicles because they have high margins. Technology from the Audi and Porsche will end up in the VW very quickly. The Audi Q5, Porsche Cayenne and one of the VW SUVs are all on the same platform.

I think EV sales will come from the ICE vehicle segment. EVs have very nice driving characteristics - quiet, smooth and quick. If you can put a power connection where you park overnight then you don't need inconvenient trips to the gas station. More fast DC charging infrastructure means you can travel intercity without worrying about range. No more concern about the price of oil going up. If you are concerned about climate change and urban pollution then you are doing the right thing buying an EV. Carbon dioxide emissions from electricity production will keep declining.

The next generation of electric vehicles will be present in the next two years with some high end cars and SUVs in 2019. Ford, GM and FCA will need some exciting electric vehicles to compete.

rxlawdude | November 18, 2018

@Roger, so TODAY can I take an etron from Madrid to Amsterdam with only 40 minute fast charges?

Roger1 | November 18, 2018

Not yet, based on their service map. They just got started with 23 stations online and 40 under construction with 400 planned for 2020. If you want more, try

You might want to read 'About' which tells you who is behind the network and who is providing sites. | November 18, 2018

Most of us are happy that others are finally seeing the light and getting into EVs. Tesla's shipping it's 4 generation product, while most others are still designing their 1st generation product. Some of these new EVs are likely to be good products, while others may be crap. Hard to tell until these automakers shift from showing concepts to actually delivering cars people want, with a charging network that works, and through dealers that actually want to sell them. There are a lot of risks and potential problems that have not been solved yet for these automakers. Can they be solved - sure, but we don't know if they can or will solve them.

It doesn't help that so many outrageous statements have been made by some of these companies and outright lies. Maybe VW will spend $50 billion on EVs over the next 500 years - who knows? Perhaps VW dealers will want to sell EVs, even though it dramatically reduces service revenue. Perhaps the culture of outright fabrications (dieselgate) will change. I'm not picking so much on VW, but the industry has a lot of catching up to do, and Tesla is still accelerating with new products and delivering real products people want today. Those that try to duplicate 30% of what Tesla did 8 years ago, are unlikely to be all that successful against Tesla.

Roger1 | November 18, 2018

I am amazed by the disbelief in the existence of non-Tesla, production EVs. You can buy a Jaguar iPace EV in the UK today. You can buy an Audi etron SUV in Europe, today. You can certainly order a Golf EV (200 km range) today but you will have to wait for delivery because they are so popular for city dwellers. You can put down your deposit for an Audi etron SUV in North America, now.

We are talking about major manufacturers who produce huge numbers of automobiles every year in dozens of models. The only thing different with an electric is the power train. All the other stuff, body, steering, suspension, brakes, interior, creature comforts, lighting, entertainment system, etc is pretty much common with an ICE.

Don't underestimate what the big auto manufacturers can achieve. They can and will spend big money on producing and advertising their EVs. Tesla will have to up its game.

joemar10 | November 18, 2018

What timeframe are 50 million cars going to be built? It's like winning a million dollar lottery, with the payoff being $1.00 a year for a million years. Everything is relative.

Madatgascar | November 19, 2018

@Roger1, I don’t underestimate what the major automakers can do, but EVs we have seen so far have been underwhelming to say the least. There is no doubt in my mind that all automakers have been nerfing their EVs with ugly designs, throttled performance, and half hearted (if any) advertising to delay the transition as much as possible.

Only Tesla could force a change here. Now the same automakers need to make EVs compelling, and in large numbers, to catch up. By so doing they will necessarily undercut their own profitable ICE flagships and dealers’ profit centers. It’s an eat-your-children decision, but the Model 3’s success is making it for them.

jordanrichard | November 19, 2018

Audi is getting it's batteries from LG. I read an article about how thee-tron was delayed one month because they were ack to negotiating with LG for batteries. LG had decided to increaser the prices of their batteries due to the increased demand.

Roger, I would not believe any self produced video by a company. Audi and others have been boasting about their Tesla killers for the last 3 years. Tesla went from a sketch of the MS to having them on the road in 3 years and it was their first car. What is Audi's excuse for taking so long? After all they and the others have decades of manufacturing expertise. | November 19, 2018

@Roger1 - Part of our disbelief is the endless announcements without real product. Often when the product is finally delivered years late, it is more expensive, has less range, and doesn't come close to competing with Tesla. Then it is rolled out in very low numbers - just enough to get the ZEV credits to allow them to continue to sell high-pollution gas hogs here in the USA. These are not vehicles people want to buy in volume.

There is so much more than removing an ICE engine and sticking in a motor and battery. Every manufacturer that has done that has failed in the marketplace. A real EV needs to be designed from the bottom up as an EV as Tesla and a few others finally realized. The iPace and eTron has potential, but neither are available yet in the USA. They are coming and that's good, but without any useful long-distance charging networks, these are going to be oddities for years.

What manufactures failed to realize is how important software is to the design. Vehicle manufacturers have done a tiny amount of software for the ICE engine controls, and bought all the other software outside. This sort of worked, but adds years to product design and is very difficult to move quickly. Tesla is one of the few companies that does most of the software in-house. This is far from trivial, and way outside the expertise of other car companies. Tesla is far ahead of everyone else in this regard, and it allows them to add features in months rather than years. I'm not saying others can't get there, but for the most part they are far, far behind and it's not something that having 100 years of experience making cars helps.

jordanrichard | November 19, 2018

I just went to Audis website and they won't say how far the car will go on a single charge. They want you to reserve one and yet won't event tell you how far it will go.

They compare the charging speed to a Tesla MX and Jag I-Pace, and show that the E-Tron is faster at charging, but that is only when using a 150kw charging, which is not yet available.

They also give the impression that if you want to charge any faster than what a standard 120v outlet will provide, you have to speak with Amazon which they have partnered with to install a 14-50 outlet.

I once spoke with a Benz representative about the B-Class EV they had and it came with a cord that was meant to plug into a 120v outlet. I asked about an adapter for 14-50 and he said I would have to buy for $750 a whole new cable that had a 14-50 plug on it.

Basically the traditional car companies are following the standard play book and that is deception and make everything extra.

Roger1 | November 19, 2018

Tesla is undoubtedly at the front of the pack now. I have an S100D and I love driving it. It is a really fun car. The Supercharger network is a compelling reason to buy a Tesla now, perhaps more so in the USA than in Canada where I live.

If you go back to the start of the thread, most of the commentary was simply negative or cynical. But more important, it also included the element of disbelief that anyone other than Tesla could produce a viable electric vehicle. There is also a sort of denial based on previous experience with traditional manufacturers and the hype about electric vehicles. There has certainly been hype, but the time comes when real happens.

Tesla's leader has been able to get people to invest with enthusiasm and showmanship. Tesla makes early announcements - Semi, Model Y, Roadster and possibly a pick-up truck. Musk has also been able to make decisions that are not based on the same hard economics as established auto companies. He doesn't have to deliver dividends. If you want to make real, big step progress then you need guys like Musk.

The economics of electric cars are close to affordable and pressure from the European Union has forced automakers into designing and producing real electric cars. We will be seeing and people will be buying them in North America next year.

The Supercharger network is well ahead of anything else, but the first stations on the Electrify America network are operating. I don't know if they have any150 kW stations in operation but there is no technological reason preventing it. Check out their website for a map. Most of the proposed locations are in grey, meaning not in operation, but the grey ones I checked have addresses for the location. Getting the location is a major hurdle. Speed of station activation will depend on the willingness of the owners to spend capital quickly and duration of the local licensing process. I have experience with large scale infrastructure build-outs and it can be done. The owners have to get comfortable with spending over a million dollars per day. The auto companies are ready to sell battery electrics and need the charger networks. I think they will be ready to spend.

jordanrichard, the etron has a 95 kW battery and Audi has talked about a 400 km (250 mile) range. My S100D has a larger range of 460 km with a practical charge of 510 km and a minimum charge of 50 km. I could probably charge the battery higher but the charge rate had really dropped so I stopped charging. The etron is an SUV so it won't have the same aerodynamic as the model S.

rxlawdude | November 19, 2018

Electrify America: " Electrify America charging will include the following elements: $1.00 session fee + per minute charging cost + idle fee of $0.40/minute (if applicable). Our introductory charging cost pricing is $0.30 to $0.35 per minute of charging."

Note it says INTRODUCTORY. And for giggles, try to do an L.A. to Phoenix road trip in an etron or other nontesla. I hear Blythe is a really nice place for an overnight stop. :-)

NoMoPetrol | November 19, 2018

A point was brought up about in-house software development. That, it turns out, is extremely handy when one is traveling and wants to locate the next charging station. Tesla's in-house team makes sure that every Supercharger in the Western hemisphere will show up on the center screen if you make the map small enough.

My wife's Bolt - not so much. On a recent trip to San Diego (which requires a 25 minute charge on the return trip) she stopped at her usual DCFastCharger. Two potential stations, both unexplainably unavailable. It became a scramble to PlugShare (with a separate device, not the onboard display screen) accompanied by a fair amount of panic.

When will GM (or any other legacy automaker) finally consider their customers' convenience when designing what goes into the display? The collective intuition of Tesla owners says, "Not anytime soon."

greg | November 19, 2018

"The etron has a 95 kW battery and Audi has talked about a 400 km (250 mile) range. "

Ahh, would that 400 km be measured by the NEDC, WLTP, or EPA standards for EV range?

Do you know? And do you know the difference?

If not, this story has a good primer on the various options car makers like Audi have to misquote their actual numbers:

Last time I checked Audi was using the (old, very generous and so totally outdated and now redundant) NEDC to get such range figures but didn't actually qualify thats what they were doing in their numbers. NEDC range figures in North America are about as useful as ashtrays are on motorcycles.

Of course any ICE maker could choose to make decent EVs with good range, charging capability and not look totally fugly as well as the other features buyers expect as of right. But to date, none have. Especially in the US and Canada. Although they've collectively and individually made a lot of noise about doing so "real soon now".

When even the range numbers quoted are suspect you've got to assume the rest of the story is similarly bogus or at best has been lost in translation from German to English.

Hence the degree of scepticism you see displayed here.

The easiest way for European ICE makers to fix that is to put up, until then they should simply shut up.

Even today one of German Government ministers asked pointedly when the German car industry will make an EV thats looks even half as sexy as a Tesla. When even these guys own government shows such open disbelief - you have to think that the oft predicted "day of reckoning" for Tesla, from the like of the German's is a long way off still.

Roger1 | November 19, 2018

Perhaps we should start a thread in November 2019 to see what has happened in the course of a year with traditional automaker electric vehicles and Electrify America.

greg | November 19, 2018

Go Ahead, do that post.

But I predict the story will be that VW is now planning on make 49.999 million electric cars, sometime after 2022, VW having released 1000 compliance cars to the US market in 2019 which is all they ever planned to do.

And Electrify America still has a heap of "Grey" charger locations on their map announcing "coming soon".

Those that are not "Grey" will have 1 or maybe 2 charger stalls you can use. If they are operational that is.

But as with all the other 3rd party charging stations, using them will not be a painless or seamless experience for the average EV driver. You will spend more time waiting for a stall to come free or trying to activate the one you're plugged into than actually charging. Pretty much how most people experience such charging today.

Meanwhile, Tesla owners will continue to be well provided for, even if they have to pay to use the Supercharger, they simply get charged up, then billed after the fact without any delays. And most will pay no more than Electrify America's "introductory rates" to do so.

Sleepydoc1 | November 19, 2018

So Rxlaw, a 20 min charge at introductory rates is $1 + ($0.30 x 20) = $7. How many miles? I routinely get about 100 miles if I start below 50miles SOC in my X in 20 min. Cost $0 for me at Supercharger. $0.07 a mile if you can match Tesla's charging rate. Still better than $0.20 for each gas mile in my old Volvo. At home for $7 it costs me $0.023/mile, which works out to 300 miles.

El Mirio | November 20, 2018

Just to put the 50 mio into context, they plan to produce 150k by 2020, 1 Mio by 2025. This is not ambitious at all, likely is even meant to cover all the various brands under the VW's umbrella.

greg | November 20, 2018

@El Mirio
Lacklustre. Indeed.

So VW currently it seems make 100,000 ELECTRIFIED [their term for any Plugin be it PHEV or BEV ] a year, so 150,000 by END of 2020 is not a big stretch, especially if when they say "electrics" they mean electrified i.e. PHEV OR BEV.

So really then thats not any real useful goal at all. Barely up from compliance car status.

Sleepydoc1 | November 20, 2018

The picture of their modular electric vehicle (El Miro) still has a radiator and a whole lotta of other stuff up front. This is not a BEV.

El Mirio | November 20, 2018

No clue why they still have a radiator, it is not clear whether platform is exclusive to BEV or is intended to accommodate PHEV's too.

jordanrichard | November 20, 2018

Roger1, go to the Audi E-Tron website and one, see how "easy" it is to find the range number and then tell me what it says........

I will save you the time, because as I said I went to the site. Unlike Tesla's site, the actual range is not upfront. They just keep putting in your face the speed of charging based on a as of yet available 150 kw charging system. you have to go to specifications and then you find that for Range they put "TBD".

It doesn't matter what Audi publicly announced because obviously what they announced in San Francisco is not true or rather validated by the EPA because if it was, they wouldn't be listing "TBD" for range.

rxlawdude | November 20, 2018

@sleepydoc, assuming the charge rate from these mythical DCFCs for VWs is 150kW, my calculation is that works out to about $.15/kWh, which is not bad. However, that's assuming the car can take that rate without tapering.

No indication that when tapering is reached, a lower per-minute rate would ensue. Tesla, in those locales with per-minute charges, differentiates tapered vs full speed charging in their rate structure.

Sleepydoc1 | November 20, 2018

Hopefully VW can provide an honest answer before they sucker people into their version of cheap electricity. | November 20, 2018

@Sleepydoc1 & @El Mirio - A radiator (i.e. heat exchanger) in a EV is a good thing. You need it for HVAC and battery cooling. Any EV that doesn't do battery cooling is asking for very short battery life in higher temperature regions. Ask any Leaf owner. Every Tesla has at least one radiator.

Now it's often hard to tell on a given car by looking at the front if it is a Hybrid or EV. The tip off is at the rear - look for the pollution delivery systems (i.e. exhaust pipes) on the hybrids.

jordanrichard | November 20, 2018

Teslas have radiators. The Model S and X have 3. One in the center of the nose and 2 in the lower corners of the bumper.

Sleepydoc1 | November 20, 2018

@Tesla - True. If you look at the picture, there seems to be a lot more stuff behind that radiator that I haven't seen in the Tesla store display of the actual inner workings. There are brake fluids and window washer fluid containers, but some other items as well.

Mel. | November 21, 2018

VW has been good at dirty diesels. Not great with monkeys. The amount of electric cars so far, not so good

Xerogas | November 23, 2018

@mycomics007: flagged as spam