Volkswagen is apparently aiming to have over 20 different electric vehicle (EV) models on offer in the Chinese market within the “near future,” whatever that means, according to a member of the company’s board of management by the name of Jochem Heizmann.
The comments — which came via an essay published in the company’s most recent “sustainability” report — made it clear that these various models would be spread across various designs/technologies, including: compacts, SUVs, EVs, plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), sedans, etc.
The board member also made note of the fact that the Chinese government has set fairly ambitious targets with regards to the CO2 emissions of the vehicles used in the country, ones that may well be harder to meet than those set in the European Union.
“In China only 1 % of cars have a diesel engine and there is a preference for more spacious vehicles which naturally are heavier. The answer to this challenge can only be a holistic approach. We have to think in terms of all possible technical solutions, including sophisticated vehicle and powertrain measures as well as alternative drive systems,” Dr Jochem Heizmann stated.
“On the subject of plug-in hybrid as a focus of the Volkswagen Group for developing new-energy vehicles in China, I think we should be aware that plug-in hybrid power is the best solution in the short and medium term. Perhaps the development of all-electric vehicles can be realized in the long run. Discussions are ongoing in this respect also with Chinese experts. We need to find solutions to facilitate the development of highly efficient batteries. And at component level we need to consider how to further improve energy conservation in both conventionally powered and electric models.”
According to Heizmann, there’s also a strong need for the creation of a fast-charging standard/network in China.
“Currently, for example, you cannot drive an all-electric vehicle from Beijing to Shanghai and rely on charging along the way. This is because the infrastructure has not been completed yet – and even once it is, the standard may not be universal. To this end, we need dependable, stable technologies. This way, in the future we can channel our development investments in the right direction and contribute towards advancing plug-in hybrid technologies.”
Some interesting comments from the board member, though I certainly don’t agree with all of them. The comments about PHEVs being the best short-term solution and EVs being more of a long-term goal, in particular, I don’t agree with. Perhaps if the PHEVs in question possess decent range (like a Chevy Volt does), but most of the PHEVs out there just don’t offer enough range to be particularly helpful for reducing CO2 emissions.
Image Credit: Volkswagen