The development underscores VW’s near-long term strategy post 2020.
Volkswagen’s Chief Executive Herbert Diess told Automotive News, the carmaker is likely to build up to 50 million electric cars on its new electric vehicle platform. VW is also looking to expand its manufacturing footprint in the United States.
“We set up the plant in Chattanooga always with the idea to be able to grow it, to mirror it,” said Diess. “The plant is still too small, and we are considering different options – it might be electric cars, it might be a different derivative of the Atlas (SUV) – it’s still open.”
He went on VW and Ford are looking to expand cooperation focused on commercial vehicles.
“What we’re talking about is sharing a few platforms and manufacturing sites there, which makes sense. And within the dialogue, we are also touching other options, but this will be the main focus if we come to a conclusion,” said Diess.
Ford could help VW develop a global successor to the Amarok pickup, or a unibody pickup, said Diess while adding that the carmaker is open to licensing its MEB electric car platform to third party manufacturers.
“Today, we have hundreds of different drivetrains in our industry, and there’s a lot of differentiation in the drivetrain. I think this will become less, because the battery cells will become very similar on the basis of the same chemistry inside,” said Diess.
From 2020, VW plans on building 50 million electric vehicles globally across its brands and already has battery sourcing agreements in place. Further, licensing MEB to other automakers is likely to lead to further efficiency gains.
“It will be more about the economies of scale. Still, the battery pack, for the foreseeable future, will be more expensive than a combustion powertrain, so I think it makes a lot of sense to make more volume,” said Diess.
VW’s spokesman stated, the figures mentioned by Diess was a theoretical long-term goal for the MEB electric car platform. The Volkswagen Group’s current vehicle platform, MQB, has spawned around 50 million mainly combustion engine vehicles over several brands and many years.
In 2017, the group had sold 10.7 million vehicles.