Volkswagen has announced a major push towards a clean energy future unveiling plans to produce electric versions of all 300 of its cars by 2030, as it tries to regain public trust after last year’s dieselgate scandal. Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller said the company will spend €20 billion on building the new cars with another €50 billion going into the production of the batteries to power them. The investment will be spread across all 12 of the group’s brands including Audi, Seat, Skoda and Porsche. By 2025, Volkswagen expects to have 50 all-electric vehicles and 30 hybrids on the road, with the first Audi electric SUV due to hit markets in 2018.
The German car giant made the commitment on the eve of the Frankfurt auto show, which was opened by Angela Merkel on Thursday. Referring to the last year’s scandal in which Volkswagen was found to have cheated on its emissions tests, Merkel said: “A lot of trust has been destroyed. That is why the industry must do everything to win back confidence, in its own interest and that of employees and German industry.” Besides the need to win back public trust, Volkswagen also wants to win back market share and compete with Tesla, whose Model 3 went on sale in the US this year. The scale of Volkswagen’s investment and the range of cars it will rollout over the coming decade will make it the world’s largest producer of electric vehicles. The production schedule coincides with plans from several countries to stop the sale of petrol and diesel cars. The UK and France have both vowed to end the sale of fossil fuel-powered cars by 2040, Scotland by 2032, India by 2030 and Norway by 2025. In what has been described as a tipping point for the oil industry, China, the world’s largest car market, has also indicated that it will follow suit but has yet to spell out a timetable.