Volkswagen’s BIG Plans For Electric Vehicles Could Make It The World’s Largest Automaker

5 03 2010

Think of it as a race to the starting line. Volkswagen, Europe’s largest European automaker, has big plans to dominate the nascent world of electric cars.

As Treehugger reported, Volkswagen plans to sell 300,000 electric vehicles a year by 2018, which would translate to 3% of all sales. VW’s hybrid ambitions could lead it to overtake Toyota as the world’s largest automaker within eight years.

Key details of Volkswagen’s strategy include introducing the company’s first hybrid electric vehicle the Toureg 2010, and in 2013 three EVs, likely to be versions of the Jetta, Golf, and the Up. Here’s Treehugger:

“A notable aspect of VW’s approach is that it’s banking on offering the EV as an option on already available and recognizable models as it has done with TDI diesel options. Instead of developing all new models to channel new tech into, as with, say, the Prius or Volt, VW seems intent on phasing new tech into an already familiar cars…”

But some bigger questions remain, namely in VW’s ambitious growth projections. Even though sales of hybrids have been rising and governments are beginning to offer incentives in their production and purchase, the New York Times reports that billions are needed by automakers to invest in what is still an uncertain future and technology. Ironic but maybe true, the NYT suggests:

“The best thing that could happen to electric-car development might be a recovery in the market for conventional gasoline and diesel autos. That would give the big car makers more money to invest in research.”

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