VW's Dr. Rudolf Krebs went further, saying that the German automaker set a goal of having plug-ins account for three percent of its global sales by 2018. VW's first US plug-in, the E-Golf, will debut stateside next year.
How VW will take a leadership role in electric-drive technology is unclear, as the company didn't reveal much detail beyond launching as many as six plug-in hybrids through its Audi division starting next year. Audi recently cancelled the A2 electric vehicle project. Regardless, Krebs said that VW, whose US efforts to boost fleetwide fuel economy have been almost exclusively through clean-diesel vehicles, would only be able to meet stricter emissions standards via electric-drive technology. In 2011, VW debuted its Think Blue program to push for more environmentally friendly transportation options and last year started testing the E-Golf throughout various US cities.