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Volkswagen pushing ahead with planned small electric car for the masses

Business

According to plans seen by Reuters Newsagency, Volkswagen is bringing forward the development of a small electric car for the mass market in anticipation of tougher climate regulations, as it seeks to boost sales in a new green era.

Under the project dubbed “Small BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle)”, engineers are racing to develop a purely-battery powered car around the size of a VW Polo which will be available for between €20,000 and €25,000.

This would make it cheaper than Volkswagen’s ID.3 electric car, which went on sale in September.

Volkswagen did not provide details on what the vehicle might look like, when it might be launched or where it might be built.

The carmaker has said the European Union’s more stringent emissions targets will force it to boost the proportion of hybrid and electric vehicles in its European car sales to 60 per cent by 2030, up from a previous target of 40 per cent.

Earlier this month, it raised its planned investment on digital and electric vehicle technologies to €73 billion over the next five years, of which around €35 billion will be invested in e-mobility.

The VW brand currently plans to build 1.5 million electric cars by 2025.

Under the plan presented, Volkswagen said it would allocate nearly half its investment budget of €150 billion on e-mobility, hybrid cars, a seamless, software-based vehicle operating system and self-driving technologies.

In last year’s plan, the German car and truck maker, which owns brands including VW, Audi, Porsche, Seat and Skoda, had earmarked €60 billion for electric and self-driving vehicles out of the €150 billion budget.

A global clampdown on emissions, partly triggered by VW’s diesel pollution scandal in 2015, has forced carmakers to accelerate the development of low-emission technology, even for their low-margin mainstream models.

“The transformation of the company and its brands as well as the strategic focus on the core mobility areas will be consistently implemented,” Volkswagen’s supervisory board Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said.

Pressure to retool factories to build electric cars has also increased after California, which accounts for 11 per cent of United States car sales, said in September that it plans to ban the sale of new petrol/diesel-powered cars and trucks from 2035.

This article was originally published by David Twomey, econews.com.au.

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