VW is prepared to build 50 million electric cars, its CEO says

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FRANKFURT — Volkswagen’s vehicle platform and battery procurement plans are being readied to handle production of vehicles, Chief Executive Herbert Diess told German trade publication Automobilwoche.

The electric vehicle platform has been “booked” for 50 million , Diess said, adding that battery procurement had also been readied to handle this amount.

“We have bought batteries for 50 million vehicles,” Automobilwoche on Monday quoted Diess as saying.

Diess repeated that number in an interview with Crain’s / Automotive News. And he went on to explain that the demand for EVs will meet the ambitious volume he’s planning to supply:

Sales are picking up. It’s not all over the place, but West Coast, if you go to a parking lot, you see already a decent mix of electric cars there. Most of them are probably Teslas, but what’s happening now is that the cars become so much better.

The first car we will be launching next year, early 2020, will be the I.D., the size of a Golf, but because it’s a full-electric platform, it has the interior space of a Passat. It has 400 to 600 kilometers (249 to 373 miles) of range, fast acceleration, fast charging and comes at the price of a diesel.

Many — not all — would consider an electric car because if you are still driving far distances, 20,000 or 30,000 miles [per year], it’s probably not the right car. But there are so many people who are driving longer distances only so often, and it makes a lot of sense, in Europe, in China, and in the United States because the cars are really becoming good.

In the Automotive News interview, Diess also said a second factory for assembling EVs, this one in the U.S., could be a possibility. And he addressed ’s discussions for an alliance with Ford.

Volkswagen Group sold 10.7 million vehicles in 2017. A report by Bloomberg recently said that VW is planning a subcompact crossover EV that will start at about $21,000.

A VW spokesman said the number mentioned by Diess amounted to a theoretical long-term goal for the carmaker’s MEB electric car platform.

The Volkswagen Group’s current vehicle platform, named MQB, has spawned sales of 50 million mainly combustion engined vehicles over multiple brands and multiple years of sales, he said.

Volkswagen has earmarked 50 billion euros ($56 billion) for battery procurement, he reiterated.

($1 = 0.8873 euros)

Reporting by Edward Taylor

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