Volkswagen EV Strategies In China & Other Markets Are Worlds Apart

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Volkswagen will ramp up its electric car lineup in China in 2019 but will continue its tepid approach to EVs in the rest of the world. There’s a reason for that.

Vokswagen EV

Five EVs For China In 2019

Volkswagen has sold more than 30 million cars in China since 1985. In line with Chinese manufacturing policies, it has forged joint venture alliances with local car makers FAW and SAIC. Last year, about 40% of all the cars Volkswagen manufactured worldwide were for Chinese customers, making China a vital part of the company’s overall business.

On January 1, 2019, car makers in China will be required to sell a certain number of so-called “new energy vehicles” — defined as battery electrics, plug-in hybrids, or fuel cell cars — or buy credits from other companies that do. In extreme cases, the government can order a company that is out of compliance to shut down production.

To comply with the new rules, Volkswagen brand chief for China Stephan Wöllenstein says, “Together with our joint ventures, we…will step up our efforts with our NEV offensive in 2019 — introducing 3 locally produced battery electric versions of well known Volkswagen models. We will also introduce one more locally-produced PHEV and the Touareg PHEV from Volkswagen Import.” That’s according to a report by Inside EVs.

Which “well known Volkswagen models,” exactly? We don’t know for sure but really, how many “well known” models does the company make? What is certain is that none of them will be built on the company’s new MEB platform dedicated to purely battery electric cars. That chassis will not be ready in time for the January 1 deadline.

Volkswagen Creates Dedicated EV Webpage

The Volkswagen website for the UK has been modified recently to include a page dedicated exclusively to electric cars. True, the electric cars featured on that page currently are hardly cutting edge offerings — they are nothing that would cause Elon Musk would lose sleep — but that’s not the reason the change is news.

The reason is that Volkswagen is now doing much more to educate consumers about electric cars — total cost of ownership, how and where to charge them, the difference between a battery electric and a plug-in hybrid — then virtually any other traditional car manufacturer. Is it a huge deal? No, but it’s a start. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

Why The Difference ?

Why is Volkswagen bringing a plug-in hybrid Taureg to China this year and not to other markets, such as the US? Simple — heavy handed, job killing government regulations. China is pushing hard to get electric cars on its roads before all its citizens die of pulmonary disease.

Unlike most western countries — especially the US — it thinks killing its people with the pollutants that pour out of the tailpipes of conventional cars is a bad idea even if it means full employment for those in the auto and fossil fuel industries. Ultimately, it places the health of its citizens above the profit concerns of corporations. What else would you expect from a bunch of godless communists?

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Steve Hanley

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new." You can follow him on Substack and LinkedIn but not on Fakebook or any social media platforms controlled by narcissistic yahoos.

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