Volkswagen Sets Aside $11.8 billion to Build EVs in China

When we were told the electric revolution was on its way, most of us probably assumed at least some of that vehicular renaissance would take place outside of China. But Asia is where all the hot EV action lives, so that’s where the money goes.

Volkswagen, now promising one of the industry’s most ambitious pushes into electrification, plans to invest $11.8 billion through 2025 to develop and manufacture all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in China, as the nation’s emission mandates become progressively more stringent.

China chief Jochem Heizmann told Reuters Volkswagen and Audi plan to launch 15 “new energy vehicles” over the next two to three years, and an additional 25 after 2025. However, he was less precise on which roads those vehicles would do the majority of their driving. Presumably, they’ll be in China, with whatever models that might be marketable in the West heading in that general direction.

The Chinese mandate that a certain percentage of new car sales must be electric is set to take effect in 2019, resulting in numerous automakers trying ensure they’ll meet the quota by investing in the country and shifting product toward electrification. Viewed as a major growth market in the years to come, no company with a foothold in the region wants to be left behind (or forced to buy government credits because it fell short in EV sales).

“We need high volumes of new energy vehicles,” Heizmann said. “We are working on full speed on that.”

At present, Volkswagen Group only has about a dozen EVs on the Chinese market. But those models are all imported and limited in volume, as China also limits in-country sales for foreign manufacturers without a domestic production partner. VW intends to sell 400,000 new energy vehicles annually in China by 2020 and 1.5 million per year by 2025.

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