German car industry turns off towards electromobility

German car industry turns off towards electromobility

Feature articles |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The main malefactor in the diesel affair was probably Volkswagen. With an electric offensive, the company now presents itself as environmentally aware. Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller announced a campaign for the industrialization of electric mobility. The company intends to spend real money on this: more than 20 billion euros in Volkswagen’s “Radmap E” for the development of new vehicles and production processes as well as for installation of the charging infrastructure. In this context, the company plans to develop two new purely electric vehicle platforms. Of all the approximately 300 different models of the Volkswagen Group (including subsidiaries Audi, Skoda, Seat and Porsche), there will be an electrified variant available by 2030 at the latest. Already until 2025, 50 pure electric models should be available. In addition, Volkswagen plans to invest 50 billion euros in the construction of a Gigafactory to produce batteries. The production capacity should be more than 150 GWh per year.

BMW plans to launch 25 electrified vehicle models by 2025, twelve of them with a purely electric drive. To this end, the company plans to change its existing model strategy: Instead of bundling all electrical models in the “i” product family, even the existing conventional mainstream models will be equipped with an electric drive. At the same time, the Bavarian carmaker wants to hold on to his i brand as well. At the exhibition, BMW showcases the study of a four-door Gran Coupe with purely electric drive. The “iVision Dynamics” is intended to appeal to customers who value sportiness and luxury: the car should accelerate to 100 kmph  in four seconds and be faster than 200 kmph in the top; its batteries are designed to allow a range of more than 600 km (370 miles). With this feature set, experts are already talking of the vehicle as BMW’s “Tesla Killer”.

Daimler plans to offer an electrified variant for its entire vehicle range, a total of more than 50 Mercedes Benz models. This is even to be achieved even faster than the competitors – by 2022 this action is to be completed. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche is one step further than his competitors: The Smart brand, known for its two and four-door subcompact cars, is to be completely converted to electric drive over the next two years, at least in Europe and North America. Thus, according to Zetsche, Smart would be the first brand with a combustion engine, which would completely switch to electric drive. At the IAA the company showed how the future of the smart could look like: the concept car smart vision EQ fortwo runs electrically and fully automatically – i.e. level 5 of the autonomy scale and without steering wheel or brake pedal.

And the fuel cell drive? In the run-up to the fair, Daimler had already given an indication that the introduction of a vehicle would be expected soon. At the fair, the company has now made public plans for the GLC F-Cell to launch a hydrogen-powered small-series electric model later this year.


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