A day before the opening of the Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn has announced a plan for electrifying the brand's model lineup. While the absurdly expensive new Touareg hybrid probably won't make much of a dent in the market, VW plans to move forward quickly with more mass market vehicles. First up will be a test fleet of 500 battery-powered Golfs coming next year.
The Golfs will be followed in 2012 by a production hybrid version of the next-generation Jetta for the U.S. market. It makes sense for VW to launch the Jetta hybrid in the U.S. since this is the largest market for both hybrids and Jettas. The Jetta will be followed by hybrid versions of the Golf and Passat in 2013.
2013 will be a busy year for battery-powered cars at VW. The E-Up! (pictured), which was shown as a concept last fall in Frankfurt, will go into full production in 2013 as VW's first mass produced electric vehicle. That will be followed later the same year by full electric drive versions of the Golf and Jetta. Volkswagen is aiming to be the market leader in electric drive by 2018. Nissan, watch out.