Volkswagen assigns $24 billion in battery orders to speed EV push


As we reported last September, the company is now committed to electrifying all of its brands by 2030, with 30 new plug-in hybrids and 50 new battery electric vehicles due by that date.

The production plan is an update on the original plan called "Roadmap E" announced previous year. Volkswagen is targeting annual production of 3 million electric vehicles by 2025.

In an earnings call, VW chief executive Matthias Mueller said: "We have pulled out all the stops over the past months to implement the Roadmap E swiftly and resolutely".

In order to ensure that the company has access to an adequate battery capacity for this expansion, the company has already entered into partnerships with battery manufacturers for Europe and China. A decision on the supplier for North America will be taken shortly.

Currently, electric vehicles are produced by just three VW factories with a further nine scheduled to be equipped for this objective within two years, it added.

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"This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world, across all brands and regions, in just a few years", Müller insisted.

Until its "dieselgate" emissions scandal was revealed two and a half years ago, Europe's largest automaker had been slow to embrace electric cars. The company has already repaid billions in costs and fines for dodging emission level tests. Yet, Muller said electrification does not mean the firm is moving away completely from conventional technologies. As part of this initiative, VW will invest almost €20 ($24.8) billion into their "conventional vehicle and drive portfolio" in 2018. "We are making massive investments in the mobility of tomorrow, but without neglecting current technologies and vehicles that will continue to play an important role for decades to come", said Müller.

Unlike some of its competitors, Volkswagen isn't going entirely in on electric vehicles - for now. Its development spend dropped 3.9 percent in 2017, down to €13.1 billion, or about 6.7 percent of its sales turnover, and it plans to lower that to six percent by 2020. "Operating profit before and after special items was also better than ever, amounting to Euro 17.0 billion before special items and to Euro 13.8 billion after special items".

The manufacturer predicts an operating margin this year of between 6.5 percent and 7.5 percent of revenue, compared with 7.4 percent in 2017.