Volkswagen Group aims for leadership position in electric and hybrid car sales by 2018

The Volkswagen (VW) Group aims to emerge as the leader in electric and hybrid car sales by 2018, with the unveiling of its new VW e-Up and VW e-Golf, both set to go on sale early next year.

VW boss Martin Winterkorn, who spoke on the eve of the Frankfurt motor show, said the company workforce included 70,000 personnel trained in every aspect of electric drivetrain technology, chiefly through VW, Audi, Seat and Skoda. He added, the company would have 14 electric and hybrid models on sale by the end of next year.

According to Winterkorn,  plug-in vehicles currently had the greatest sales potential.

Defending the late entry of the firm in the electric car market, relative to rivals such as Nissan and Renault, he said, VW was starting at exactly the right time.

He added, VW had undertaken electrification of all vehicle classes, and therefore had everything that was needed to make the Volkswagen Group the top automaker in all respects, including electric mobility, by 2018.

VW planned to base all its first generation electric and hybrid cars on existing vehicles, so that it had the flexibility to build them on the same production line as the standard cars.

He said VW had the most comprehensive approach to tomorrow's mobility, from across all categories of vehicles from highly-efficient, eco-friendly diesel, gasoline and natural gas-fuelled engines to classical hybrids, purely battery-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids, and no other automaker could match the broad range the company had to offer.

The production version of the all-electric e-up! and e-Golf were unveiled at the VW Group night, as also the Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid and the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid.

Next year, 14 models from several VW Group brands would be available with electric or hybrid drive with VW monitoring the customer demand closely and the plan would be revised without demand.

If demand existed, according to Winterkorn 40 new models could be fitted with alternative drivetrains, with a focus on all-electric cars.

VW spends the largest slice of its R&D spend of €7 on R&D each year on electric mobility.

This included ensuring that its latest platforms and modular powertrains could be swiftly adapted for electric power usage.

Winterkorn further confirmed that the VW Group's factories in Bratislava, Puebla, Wolfsburg, Leipzig or Ingolstadt were all ready to boost electric vehicle production if sufficient demand existed.