Volkswagen puts pressure on Tesla with $25-billion investment in battery supplies

Volkswagen puts pressure on Tesla with $25-billion investment in battery supplies

"Roadmap E" was launched by Volkswagen last September, with the aim of bringing 80 new EVs to the market by 2025 and the promise of a €20bn investment for the industrialisation of e-mobility.

While Volkswagen is still investing a lot more in gas and diesel-powered vehicles than all-electric vehicles, it's still a big enough investment to move the needle, especially when it comes to battery production. Many of them will be the electric variants of the existing models.

As of next year, the 12-brand group will roll out a new battery-powered model "virtually every month", Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said at the company's annual press conference.

Volkswagen plans to launch the first full MEB auto, the I.D. hatch, in 2020 as the leader for an entire I.D.

LG Chem, Samsung and Chinese battery maker Contemporary Amperex Technology will deliver batteries to VW, which has no plans to start producing power packs by itself, Mr Mueller said. This rapid expansion in EV production will require a reliable supply of batteries, which is why the Group has already formed partnerships with battery manufacturers in Europe and China.

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"Over the last few months, we have pulled out all the stops to implement "Roadmap E" with the necessary speed and determination". It plans to decide on North American suppliers soon. The contracts already awarded have a total volume of around Euro 20 billion, says VW. The company, which has struggled to secure sources of cobalt, a critical component for modern batteries, said that it's working on ways to reduce the amount of the element needed for its electric cars, suggesting ongoing concerns even after setting up supplies for its initial electric-car rollout. Recently in Geneva, the company showcased the Audi e-tron, Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo and VW ID Vizzion.

"We are putting nearly 20 billion Euro into our conventional vehicle and drive portfolio in 2018, with a total of more than 90 billion Euro scheduled over the next five years", he says.

The Volkswagen Group says that it has the financial resources for the transformation. Its development spend dropped 3.9 percent in 2017, down to €13.1 billion, or about 6.7 percent of its sales turnover, and it plans to lower that to six percent by 2020.

VW's namesake brand expects its operating profit margin to climb to between 4 and 5 percent this year, a range it is also targeting for 2020, the carmaker said on Wednesday.

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