Adolf Hitler’s favourite car company Volkswagen has decided that the only way to avoid being caught out fudging emission readings is to make more cars that are electric.
Volkswagen wants to make 30 electric plug-in models by 2025 as part of a cunning plan to overhaul its global strategy which has been limping along since it was caught lying about how environmentally friendly is cars were.
Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller on Thursday articulated a new vision for the automaker up to 2025, describing electric cars, ride-hailing services and cost cutting as critical to the company’s future.
Volkswagen, which also owns Audi and Porsche, will “significantly” reduce the number of models it makes and will slash almost $9 billion in spending.
This will go some way to help pay the $18 billion it will need to cover the costs of its emissions scandal.
The bet on fully electric vehicles will be paired with an investment in battery technology, though Mueller provided few details of what that would entail. Among the electric vehicles already in the works are the Porsche Mission E sports car, billed as a Tesla fighter, and the Audi e-tron quattro luxury electric crossover concept.
It is a brave move. The electric market is not really established yet, and although some countries like Holland are talking about banning petrol cars, electric cars are still too pricy for the great unwashed to afford.
If VW pull it off, it will be in the vanguard of the electric revolution and go a long way to removing the stain left by the emissions scandal.
This year’s certain winner of the international staff trampolining competition, Foxconn is expanding its electric car rental business in ten more Chinese cities.
The company has been partnered with Chinese automaker BAIC in the electric-car rental business in Beijing since last year. Now they have 200 charging stations offering more than 150 electric vehicles for rent in the city.
Since the beginning of this year, Hon Hai has launched similar services in Hangzhou and Changzhou in the eastern provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu respectively. Guiyang in southwest Guizhou province will start operations with 100 electric vehicles in July.
The goal is to set up more than ten operation sites around the country before the end of this year. Candidate cities include the megacities of Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as Wuzhou in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
The electric-car rental service is activated through the company’s smartphone app, website and the WeChat platform. Customers can use the car with a QR code sent to their smartphones after orders are confirmed. The company works with Alipay for online payment.
The electric vehicles are equipped with internet connectivity which warns drivers of low battery and shows the nearest charging station beforehand. The first priority is to solve charging problems for users, the company said.
So far electric-car rental business has yet to contribute much revenue for the company as the market is still in early-development in China. Hon Hai is aiming for the bigger contract manufacturing market behind it, one unnamed market analyst said.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in Japan will work alongside a host of big names in the manufacturing industry to develop a power chip which will allow a 10 percent increase in the distance that an electric car can travel, as well as reducing weight.
The ministry will work alongside Toyota Motor, Mitsubishi Electric and Nippon Steel to develop a prototype by 2014 ahead of the target for bringing the car to market in 2018, according to sources close to Nikkei (subscription needed).
It is hoped that the joint public and private scheme will boost the competitiveness of the Japanese auto industry by upgrading its environmental technology.
It is planning, for starts, a power chip – used to deliver power at uniform speeds – by first developing a silicon carbide material as a chip substrate.
Nippon Steel and Denso will develop the chip, which Toshiba, Fuji Electric Holdings and Mitsubishi Electric will use to make inverters before installing them in electric cars manufactured by Toyota, Honda, Nissan and others. It’s believed that mid range models of the cars could retail at around $35,000-40,000.
By developing an inverter equipped with a power chip it is claimed that power loss could be reduced by two-thirds which would mean the car could travel further. The technology would also be highly resistant to both heat and high voltage meaning that the usual water-cooling method would not be necessary, as a small fan could be used instead, helping to reduce weight.
It is thought that the reason so many high profile firms are involved is that the price for development would be too risky for just one company to take on. With this in mind the Ministry will provide assistance to the tune of $42.6 million to develop the chip in its fiscal 2011 budget request, having already approved $31 million in 2010.