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Volkswagen will look to reduce its portfolio of internal combustion engine vehicles, while speeding up the development of a compact electric vehicle that could cost less than $36,000 and could be launched as early as 2023, Bloomberg reported on Friday, quoting sources with knowledge of the German carmaker’s plans.
Like all auto manufacturers, Volkswagen is looking to catch up with Tesla and other EV makers amid expectations that electric car sales everywhere in the world will continue to rise, also aided by the net-zero emissions targets of many governments.
Two years ago, Volkswagen said that it would invest US$52.5 billion (44 billion euro) on e-mobility, autonomous driving, new mobility services, and digitalization in vehicles and at plants through 2023. This investment would represent around one-third of all expenditures for the 2019-2023 period that Volkswagen planned. The announcement from Volkswagen in November 2018 came three years after the diesel emissions scandal.
According to Bloomberg’s sources, Volkswagen is now working on a VW-branded compact car that could be introduced in three years.
Earlier this year, VW launched sales of its ID.3 electric vehicle in Germany and many other European countries, where electric vehicles enjoy generous subsidies.
“I am convinced that e-mobility will now make its breakthrough,” Jürgen Stackmann, Volkswagen Brand Board Member for Sales, said in July, adding that “We are realizing our vision of enabling emission-free mobility for all.”
Volkswagen also plans to start selling its new purely electric SUV, ID.4, beginning next year. The ID.4 1st Edition, which has a preliminary manufacturer estimate range of 250 miles, is sold out on VW’s website.
Earlier this month, Volkswagen launched production of electric drives at the Tianjin site in China—a move that VW sees as bolstering its electrification campaign in the world’s most important automotive market.
While VW is betting more and more on EVs, it plans to discontinue the mid-sized Passat sedan in the U.S. and sell only the station-wagon version in Europe, Bloomberg’s sources said.
By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com
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Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com,