Volkswagen Group to expand EV production worldwide

Volkswagen Group to expand EV production worldwide

While Tesla's much-anticipated Model 3 sedan has already missed some key production targets, VW plans to expand assembly of zero-emission cars to 16 plants globally through the end of 2022 from three at present.

Adding up investments announced by the world's biggest 16 manufacturers over the past two years, Germany was the biggest destination with some 3.2 billion euros poured into electric cars - far more than China's 990 million euros or the 887 million seen in the United States.

The automaker said it awarded lithium-ion battery contracts worth about 20 billion euros ($24.8 billion) to South Korean and Chinese companies. It plans to decide on North American suppliers soon.

"Over the last few months, we have pulled out all the stops to implement "Roadmap E" with the necessary speed and determination".

Mueller, speaking at the company's annual news conference in Berlin, gave an upbeat view after last year's record sales of 10.7 million vehicles.

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Müller today admitted it had found space for another nine electrically powered cars, including three more pure BEVs.

VOLKSWAGEN Group will launch a new electric auto "virtually every month" in 2019 as it ramps up alternative-energy production in an effort to shake off the legacy of what it labels the "diesel crisis".

Muller also made a point of emphasizing that this did not mean Volkswagen was turning its back on conventional drive systems.

VW reaffirmed its backing for the technology with Mueller calling it "part of the solution". The company is not neglecting current automotive technologies, including diesels, and plans to invest a total of €90 billion in this field over the next five years. One of the main elements of battery pack production is cobalt which has been increasing in price at a rapid pace in the last few years (up 300% 2016 to 2018!) The group's Chief Financial Officer Frank Witter, when asked about rising if this move supplied enough cobalt stated, "For the first wave of products we did. its certainly an issue for everyone". "We are actively guiding the changes in our business", he said.

In an interview with Reuters TV, Mueller denied top management had a pessimistic view on VW's business prospects in 2018, but said potential bottlenecks as vehicle makers rush to get models through new so-called WLTP lab tests for emissions and fuel consumption were causing uncertainty. The manufacturer predicts an operating margin this year of between 6.5 and 7.5% of revenue, compared with 7.4% in 2017.