VW Says its Next-Generation Gas & Diesel-Powered Vehicles Will Be its Last
Volkswagen is reinforcing its commitment to a future of just electric vehicles. The German automaker announced that its next generation gas powered and diesel engine vehicles will be its last, as the company transitions to building only battery-powered models.
VW expects the era of the combustion car will begin to fade away after it rolls out its next-generation gasoline and diesel cars beginning in 2026. The news was first reported by Bloomberg.
"Our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren't CO2 neutral," Michael Jost, strategy chief for Volkswagen's namesake brand, said Tuesday at an industry conference near the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany attended by Bloomberg. "We're gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum."
Volkswagen was forced to recall millions of cars after the automaker admitted to tampering with emission control software to pass strict pollution requirements. Volkswagen admitted to intentionally installing a "defeat device" on over 11 million Volkswagen and Audi diesel-powered vehicles
The "dieselgate" scandal seriously damaged VW's reputation and cost the company billions in fines, eventually leading to the arrest of Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler in June.
Thousands of recalled VW vehicles stored in a desert graveyard near Victorville, California
Traditional automakers are under increasing pressure from regulators to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions to combat climate change, prompting Volkswagen and other automakers to shift to building electric vehicles.
Volkswagen is the world's largest automaker and the company has already started to introduce its first wave of new electric models, including next year's Porsche Taycan. The fully-electric Taycan sedan is seen as a serious competitor to the Tesla Model S once it's made available.
The electrification of Volkswagen Group's of 12 nameplates, including Audi and Porsche, is forecast to comprise around 15 million vehicles and is already underway. The automaker earmarked up to $50 billion over the next five years to developing self-driving cars and electric models.
Production of the VW new electric I.D. Neo hatchback will begin next year in Germany, followed by other models from the electric I.D. brand. The vehicles will be assembled at two sites in China starting in 2020.
VW said it will continue to modify its combustion engine technology after the new platform is introduced next decade. After 2050, there may still be some gasoline and diesel models in regions where there is insufficient charging infrastructure, according to Jost.
Problems with diesel pollution in cities can be resolved with cleaner engines, but the much bigger threat in the long run is CO2 emissions, which are significantly more harmful and contribute to global warming, the VW executive said.
Volkswagen says it's "fully committed" to the goals outlined in the Paris climate accord, which calls for accelerating the rollout of vehicles that lower or eliminate harmful emissions, he said at an industry conference organized by daily Handelsblatt.
For Volkswagen, the switch to electrification is especially important, as the company looks to put the infamous dieselgate scandal behind it and rebuild its reputation.
"We have a clear responsibility here," Jost said. "We made mistakes."
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