The initiative is expected boost Volkswagen's ability to churn out more electric vehicle. The 16 yet-to-be-named manufacturing sites will all be online by 2022, with the current three sites seeing a significant bump up to nine facilities in just two years. 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.
The production plan is an update on the original plan called "Roadmap E" announced past year.
"A change of course for the Volkswagen supertanker - full speed ahead to the future!" said CEO Matthias Müller at the Group's Annual Media Conference in Berlin.
When "Roadmap E" was launched last fall, Volkswagen announced plans to build up to three million electric vehicles annually by 2025 and market 80 new electric Group models. "This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world, across all brands and regions, in just a few years".
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The company announced partnerships with battery manufacturers in Europe and China to be able to push out electric vehicle batteries effectively and efficiently, totaling approximately 20 billion euros.
A decision will be made on the battery production supplier for North America, "shortly".
Experts see VW's repeated emphasis on this front as a means of getting rid of the stigma of "dieselgate" of 2015 that has continually haunted the firm.
The company still reiterated its commitment to "conventional vehicles", which we assume means diesel and gasoline vehicles. About 500,000 diesel vehicles with "defeat" devices were sold between 2009 and 2015 in the United States and another 11 million worldwide.
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"Things are moving. And we have plans for much more".
Although grappling with billions of euros in costs and fines for dieselgate, VW has pledged to spend 34 billion euros on EVs, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022, one of the most ambitious plans in the industry.
In 2018, Volkswagen will invest 20 billion euros in developing better diesel and gasoline engines, a sum which would be supplemented by 90 billion euros ($111 billion) over the next five years.
The Volkswagen Group says that it has the financial resources for the transformation. "Operating profit before and after special items was also better than ever, amounting to Euro 17.0 billion before special items and to Euro 13.8 billion after special items". According to previous reports, North America's first I.D. -badged vehicle will likely be a crossover SUV.
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