In anticipation of the so-called “death” of the internal combustion engine, Volkswagen Group has announced that it will gradually phase out development of platforms that are designed for petrol and diesel cars, Automotive News reports.
Company chief strategist Michael Jost said “our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren’t CO2 neutral. We’re gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum.” The company expects the era of the combustion car to fade away once its next and final petrol/diesel platforms are introduced in 2026.
Traditional automakers are under increasing pressure from regulators to reduce CO2 emissions to combat climate change, prompting Volkswagen to pursue a radical shift to electric vehicles. With that, VW has begun introducing its first wave of electric cars (the I.D. range), including the Porsche Taycan, which is set to debut next year.
The electric push will encompass 12 automotive brands under the group’s umbrella, and is forecast to comprise about 15 million vehicles. Volkswagen Group has allocated US$50 billion (RM207.8 billion) over the next five years to spend on its transformation to self-driving, electric cars.
The first model of the full-electric range to be produced is the I.D. hatchback, with production set to begin in 12 months in Germany. Other I.D. models like the Crozz and Vizzion flagship will follow – it’s unclear where the duo will be assembled, but reports suggest that other I.D. models will be built at the firm’s facilities in China by 2020. VW plans to launch fully or partly electric versions across its line-up of more than 300 cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes by 2030.
The gradual exit of combustion engines marks a big change for Volkswagen, which became the poster child of car pollution after it admitted to cheating on emissions tests in a scandal involving 11 million vehicles worldwide. “Yes, we have a clear responsibility here,” Jost said. “We made mistakes.”
Moving forward, Volkswagen will continue to modify its combustion engine technology after the new platform is introduced in 2026. After 2050, there may still be residual gasoline and diesel models in markets lacking charging infrastructure, said Jost.
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