The Volkswagen AG (VW) logo stands as automobiles arrive and depart the automaker’s headquarters ahead of a news conference in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

VW Boosts Electric-Car Target by 50% With Budget, China Models

(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG plans to widen its electric-car offering in coming years with additional models for China and a budget car costing around 20,000 euros ($22,500), as it puts pressure on Tesla Inc. to keep pace.

Rolling out the additional vehicles, the manufacturer now expects to produce 15 million cars in the first wave of its electric-car rollout, raising the goal by 50 percent, Christian Senger, VW’s electric-car chief said at an event Friday in Dresden, Germany.

The VW brand alone will invest about 9 billion euros to roll out 20 electric models by 2025. Since admitting in 2015 to rigging 11 million diesel vehicles to cheat on emissions tests, Volkswagen has pushed aggressively to develop battery models, and plans to have eight production sites for battery-powered cars by 2022. That’s putting pressure on VW to make the spending pay off.

Carbon Neutral

“The electric car is sustainable technology,” and demand is ahead of expectations, Senger said, but noted that curbside charging remains an issue. “Driving in cities must be possible, but it’s impossible “for carmakers to create the necessary infrastructure.”

To address concerns, Volkswagen is broadening beyond offering electric cars to venture into electricity supply, offering customers green power contracts and wallboxes to recharge their vehicles at home and offices. VW is also part of the Ionity consortium that will install fast-charging stations at 400 locations on European highways. Volkswagen expects 50 percent of charging to take place at home.

Volkswagen is extending its new green approach to production. The German automaker plans to save 1 million tons of carbon-dioxide emissions a year by making production of its first electric model carbon neutral.

VW will use green power to assemble the I.D. model at its plant in Zwickau and for the car’s battery cells. Where renewable energy is unavailable, the company will invest in climate projects.

VW Boosts Electric-Car Target by 50% With Budget, China Models

VW’s commitment is welcome news for Germany’s sputtering efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions amid a reliance on coal-fired power and the steady growth in the number of combustion-powered vehicles on its roads. While energy sector emissions have declined since 1990, transport emissions have risen. Chancellor Angela Merkel aims to broker plans this year with car and truck makers to cut CO2 by around 40 percent by 2030.

“Climate change is the greatest challenge of our times,” Thomas Ulbrich, who oversees electric vehicles for the namesake VW brand, said in a statement. “Truly sustainable mobility is feasible if we all want it and we all work on it.”

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