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VW Group gets ambitious on electrics, plans to lead world in EVs and hybrids by 2018

It sounds like the Volkswagen Group might have a few surprises in store when it comes to the development of hybrids and electric vehicles. 

During the Frankfurt Motor Show, a top official at the Group reportedly said the company will be the world leader in electric cars and hybrids by the year 2018.

“We are starting at exactly the right time,” said VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn, according to a Green Car Reports story. “We are electrifying all vehicle classes, and therefore have everything we need to make the Volkswagen Group the top automaker in all respects, including electric mobility, by 2018.”

The CEO went on to note that the company will have 14 hybrid and EVs available next year.  In the U.S., the vehicles include the VW Jetta Hybrid and Touareg Hybrid, the Audi Q5 Hybrid, the Panamera S Hybrid and the forthcoming Panamera S E-Hybrid, which will be the company’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle.

It’s quite the contrast to talk at a recent Audi press event in Washington D.C. to promote the roll out of the new Audi A6, A7 and Q5 TDI models, which focused on the viability of the automaker’s clean diesel technology as a more practical solution for conserving fuel, as covered in a previous Digital Trends report.      

According to the Green Car Reports, some U.S. markets like California will also likely get a limited number of the Volkswagen e-Golf introduced at this year’s Frankfurt show.  

The e-Golf, a key component of VW’s electric mobility strategy, has a driving range of 118 miles and features three intuitive driving modes including “Normal,” “Eco” and “Eco+.” The car also has four levels of regenerative braking including “D1,” “D2,” “D3” and “B” that enables drives to get the maximum range out of each charge.

VW reportedly has no plans to release the VW e-UP battery electric mini-car in the states as the hatchback has not been designed to meet U.S. regulations.