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Volkswagen Sees Electrification as the Path Forward

VW e-Golf Concept
VW e-Golf Concept

As the price of fuel continues to rise and emissions regulations become more stringent, automakers are scrambling to get their vehicles up to par. In order to reduce emissions, vehicles need to reduce their fuel consumption.

To that end, automakers are making use of lighter materials, improving their internal combustion engine [ICE] efficiency, and exploring electrification. Current electrification efforts have led to the development of hybrid electric vehicles [HEV] and a few electric vehicles [EV], but for now, the most agreeable option seems to be plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [PHEV], which offer some EV range, without the EV limitations.

Volkswagen has come into electrification a little later in the game than some, and in 2010 began offering HEV versions of the VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne S. VW has since added HEV versions of the Audi Q5, Porsche Panamera S, VW Jetta, Audi A6 & A8.

2013 marks the first year VW offering a PHEV, the Porsche 918 Spyder. VW will be introducing two EVs in 2013, the e-up! in the EU and e-Golf here in the US. In a small press conference on Monday, Volkswagen executives laid out the path forward for the German automaker, and it features more electrification.

Doctor Rudolph Krebs, VW Group chief officer for electric traction, says that even though Volkswagen’s ICEs have become much more efficient in recent years, this is insufficient to meet environmental standards. “There will be a gap, and it can only be closed with electrification.” Closing the gap starts in 2014 with the introduction of no less than six new PHEVs, which will be offered in addition to their current line of HEVs.

The planned PHEVs include versions of the Audi A3, A6, A8, & Q7, as well as the VW Passat and Golf. Volkswagen’s goal is for electrified vehicles to make up at least 3% of total sales.

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