While each of the four largest global automakers– Volkswagen, Nissan-Renault, Toyota, and General Motors – have a climate saving strategy, for the future. Volkswagen’s strategy is a lot bigger, bolder, and far more detailed. In November 2018, Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board announced that the company would invest USD 44 billion – one-third of the corporation’s planned expenses—over the next five years in an “electric offensive” that will include developing the largest electric vehicle production network in Europe and carbon-neutral manufacturing. The temperature targets of the Paris Agreement are our “yardsticks,” said Herbert Diess, Volkswagen’s Chairman.
This makes it clear that Volkswagen’s strategy is distinguished from other companies by the highest announced electric vehicle sales share (40%) and production targets (4 million per year) by 2030, and much higher investments in electrification and battery technology.
The Electric Offensive
Volkswagen’s electric offensive continues to gather speed with series production of the brand’s first all-electric SUV, the ID.4, beginning in Zwickau. The world premiere of the ID.4 is planned by the end of September. Volkswagen is thus underscoring its ambition to become the world market leader in e-mobility. To this end, the Group is investing close to €33 billion in the period to 2024, €11 billion of which have been earmarked for the Volkswagen brand. The brand expects to produce 1.5 million electric cars to be on roads by 2025 with the VW tag.
“With the ID.4, Volkswagen is adding an all-electric vehicle to its offering in the compact SUV class, the world’s largest growth segment”, Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, said. “Following the ID.3, this is already the second model based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB). Going forward, the car will be built and sold in Europe, in China, and later also in the USA. That is how we are scaling the MEB platform globally and laying the economic foundations for the success of our ID. family.”
Board Member for E-mobility, Thomas Ulbrich, said “We are right on schedule with the Volkswagen brand’s transformation process to e-mobility. The ID.3 is now being followed by the ID.4. Given the major societal challenges of recent months, the successful start of ID.4 series production is an exceptional achievement, so my appreciation and thanks go especially to the Volkswagen team in Saxony and all members of the ID team. The second model in the ID. family is already rolling off the assembly line where, only recently, ICEs were still being built.”
Zwickau plays a key role in the system’s shift towards e-mobility. For the first time, a large car manufacturing plant is being entirely converted to e-mobility, with investments running close to €1.2 billion. All conversion work will be completed as scheduled this year. In 2021, the first full production year as an EV factory, Zwickau plant shall produce around 300,000 electric vehicles based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB). The site will, therefore, become the largest and most efficient Electric Vehicle factory in Europe and a trailblazer in the transformation of Volkswagen’s global production network. Preparations to roll out the electric SUV at an international level are also in full swing, Pre-production of the ID.4 has already started at the Anting plant in China, the Chattanooga site will start the ID.4 production in 2022.
About the car
The ID.4 is based on Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB). This is an all-electric platform that maximizes the opportunities offered by e-mobility. With its low drag coefficient of 0.28 and scalable battery system, the ID.4 can cover over 500 kilometres with a single charge. The vehicle also offers plenty of interior space and the powerful proportions which also lend an ultra-modern look to the exterior.
The SUV will initially be launched with rear-wheel drive, while an electric all-wheel-drive version will be added at a later stage. The high-voltage battery is positioned in the sandwich-design under-body to create an optimum, low centre of gravity in terms of driving dynamics, along with an extremely well-balanced axle load distribution and considerable safety of all passengers. Like all models based on the new modular electric drive matrix (MEB), the ID.4 will be very spacious thanks to its compact electric drive technology. The cockpit of the SUV is clearly structured and consistently digitalized; operation is via touch surfaces and intuitive voice control.
For Volkswagen, the ID.4 and ID.3 are important milestones as the brand sets its course toward complete carbon neutrality by 2050 – aligned with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement. Like the ID.3, its sister model the ID.4 electric SUV sets new benchmarks in sustainability. With its production in Saxony, the company has taken utmost care to make the entire process carbon-neutral and the electric SUV will be handed over to customers with a carbon-neutral footprint too. Green power is exclusively used in energy-intensive battery cell production for the ID.4.