With the blowback from the Volkswagen diesel scandal still ongoing, the company has apparently decided to greatly cut capital investments, as well as to invest more into electric vehicles, according to recent reports.
To be more specific here, the board of directors for the German company revealed that plans were being put in place to reduce capital investments by €1 billion (~$1.14 billion) to help weather the aftermath of the scandal. Plans will also reportedly be followed that will result in further investments into electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs).
Worth noting is that the company is apparently planning to persist in selling diesel cars in North America (as well as Europe of course).
“Diesel vehicles will only be equipped with exhaust emissions systems that use the best environmental technology” in North America and Europe. This is a reference to “Selective Catalytic Reduction — also known as urea injection.”
As Green Car Reports notes, though. the rest of the world will apparently have to make do with lesser technologies. Here’s more from them:
Second, the company will further develop its high-volume MQB architecture, the front-wheel-drive toolkit on which the VW Golf and Audi A3 are now built. VW has said in the past it will offer up to two dozen future models on this architecture, totaling up to 4 million vehicles a year globally.
“The focus is on plug-in hybrids with an even greater range (and) high-volume electric vehicles with a radius of up to 300 kilometers,” according to the board statement. There will also be versions with a 48-volt power system, for enhanced start-stop and mild-hybrid applications, along with “ever more efficient diesel, petrol and CNG concepts.”
In other words, electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles with longer electric ranges will have their own dedicated architecture (though likely derived in some aspects from the existing MQB toolkit). That’s a significant advance from a company whose director of diesel programs sneered openly at hybrids just 5 years ago, saying smarter consumers would buy clean diesels instead.
And that certainly turned out well didn’t it? Corruption and fraud rather than adaption and open competition. How respectable.
As somewhere who’s lived in Germany, and has a pretty good handle on German culture, I can’t help but wonder if Volkswagen’s unwillingness to enter the EV market in any serious way (and also the sneering) was simply due to an awareness that the company couldn’t compete directly with companies like Tesla? Many of the leading German automakers seem to have spent the past few years trying to put off the inevitable, and to live in the past rather than to adapt to changing circumstances. BMW has shown itself to be something of an exception in this regard — though until an EV with a longer range (and aimed at mass sales) is released by the company, I’m remaining somewhat skeptical.