Volkswagen's electric car offensive is moving faster than expected. The group announced it will sell its millionth battery-powered model in 2023, which is two years earlier than it originally planned.
The numbers are mind-boggling. In the coming years, Volkswagen will invest 33 billion euros (nearly $37 billion) into the development of electric technology, and into the business areas related to battery-powered cars, like the charging infrastructure. An 11 billion-euro (roughly $12.2 billion) chunk of the pie will be allocated to the group's namesake brand, while its other divisions (like Audi, Bentley, Porsche and SEAT) will split up the rest among themselves. Receiving the lion's share will allow Volkswagen to build 1.5 million ID-badged electric cars in 2025 alone, executives predicted, which is absolutely huge considering its passenger car division sold 6,244,900 units globally in 2018, and its commercial vehicles division added 499,700 trucks and vans to the annual total.
It's far too early to predict what the milestone car will be, but there are several candidates in the race. The Golf-sized ID.3 unveiled during the 2019 Frankfurt auto show is due out in Europe in 2020; it's the first mass-produced car built on the MEB platform. It hasn't been earmarked for the American market, though. The production version of the ID Crozz concept tentatively called ID.4 is one of the 34 new models the firm will introduce in 2020, and it's expected to land in showrooms in time for the 2021 model year. Volkswagen will initially manufacture it in Germany, but it's expanding its factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to launch production there in 2022. That's also when the long-awaited production version of the heritage-laced ID Buzz concept (pictured) is scheduled to make its debut.
SEAT and Audi are also planning MEB-based models, plus many other EVs built on other platforms. (Even Ford will use VW's MEB platform in Europe.) Viewed in that light, Volkswagen's ambitious milestones sound stunningly realistic.