The Race is On: Volkswagen Aims for Decarbonization by 2050


Four years ago, Volkswagen ("VW") was caught up in an emissions emissions scandal. In what has since then become known as the "diesel dupe", some 482,000 diesel engine VW cars in the U.S., and some 11 million cars worldwide, were found to be equipped with software that could detect when they were being tested for emissions standards, changing the performance accordingly to improve results. Affected vehicle models included the VW-manufactured Audi A3, Jetta, Beetle, Golf, and Passat. In March 2019, under the direction of new VW CEO Dr. Herbert Diess, VW is taking on its responsibility with respect to climate protection, using targets under the newly negotiated Paris Agreement as the company's yardstick. 

Volkswagen has set an ambitious decarbonization target of its vehicle fleet by 2050.  A key part in achieving VW's climate offensive will involve electrifying its vehicle portfolio. Between 2019 and 2023, projected investments for the electrifying of its vehicle portfolio are USD33.91 billion (30). Other milestones include: • a 30% decrease, as compared to 2015, in CO2 emissions across their lifecycle by 2025; • a 40% increase in its share of electric vehicles in the Group fleet by 2030; a 50% decrease in CO2 VW plant emissions by 2025 as compared to 2010 levels; the conversion of the power station in Wolfsburg from coal to gas that is currently underway will reduce CO2 emissions by 1.5 million tonnes annually from 2023 onwards. Audi's Brussels plan has already achieve complete CO2 - neutrality. The Zwichau plant will be the VW's lead factory for its "Modular Electric Drive Toolkit" (MEB) as well as for the ID. line of VWs that will be delivered there. 

Aside from the vehicles themselves, VW's electric offensive also includes important partnerships with battery cell suppliers LG Chem, SKI, CATL, QuantumScape and Samsung. With the projected increase in demand for electric vehicles and electric batteries, VW is also looking at undertaking its own industrial-scale battery cell and solid battery manufacturing operations and facilities in Europe. 

VW has already stated that the Audi e-tron (1), followed by the Porsche Taycan (2) are set to go into production this years (2019). Other mainstream electric vehicles that are set to enter the global consumer market include the Volkswagen ID. CROZZ (3), SEAT el-born (4), ┼áKODA Vision E (5), ID BUZZ (6), and ID VIZZION. With and aside from the appearance of these and other new electric cars on the market, VW will also be installing 400 fast-charging stations along the EU's major roads and highways by 2020. Alongside its new subsidiary Elli (Electric Life), VW will also be offering "wallboxes" to allow EV owners to charge at home using "green" energy sources. An additional 3,500 charging points will be available to employee car parks at all VW plants with further charging opportunities at VW dealerships. 

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