It’s electric! VW announced its goals for 20 electric cars from the VW, Audi, and Porsche divisions by 2020 during an annual earnings announcement, as reported in Autocar. This news came at the same time the company apologized for the delay in fixing the hundreds of thousands of emissions-compromised diesel cars. The news about zero-emissions electric vehicles is welcome, but the timing feels a bit like an attempt to shift focus away from a huge, costly corporate embarrassment.
Promising that the owners of the diesel cars will be offered a solution that, “doesn’t affect performance in any way,” by the end of this year, VW CEO Matthias Müller admitted the company is behind schedule with the fixes.
Also in the air about the diesel scandal is a report this week in the New York Times that belies former VW statements that execs knew nothing about the diesel cheating until 2012. Investigators discovered a Powerpoint presentation given in 2006 by an unnamed top VW technology executive that explained how to cheat on emissions tests.
To cap off the bad-news-about-diesels, the company revealed the former VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn, who resigned because of the diesel scandal, received a 7 million pound ($10.1 million) severance payment.
The plans for electric cars are bold. Müller said, “We plan to make electric cars one of Volkswagen’s new hallmarks.” Promising the company’s first all-electric car will on the road by 2020, he also said the field of VW group electrics will be led by the all-electric VW, the Porsche Mission E, and Audi’s e-tron quattro concept car. The e-tron was first shown in 2015 at the Frankfort Motor Show and in January Audi announced that it would go into production for 2018 as the Q6. The Audi Q6 electric will have a range of more than more than 310 miles (500km). Overall VW group plans 20 models across its brands by 2020.
Further commenting on electric cars, as well as driverless and connected cars, Müller deepened the commitment, “The automotive industry is on the cusp on the next innovative leap. The car of the future is more efficient, more intelligent, more comfortable and also safer than ever before. It will be powered by electricity, and in a few years will drive itself. It will be connected via next-generation wireless technology and will always be up to the latest technological standards thanks to continuous software updates.”
Now if they can just fix all those diesels and get on with electric propulsion.