Internal combustion engines are being replaced by newer, greener electric powertrains as we speak.
Not everyone is a fan of this, but it can’t be ignored.
A company at the forefront of this wave is Volkswagen, which has released cars such as the e-Golf, e-up!, A3 e-tron, and Passat GTE.
And that is just the start of their e-mobility project “Roadmap E” – which VW claims is “the most comprehensive electrification initiative in the global automotive industry”.
Volkswagen aims to have at least one all-electric or hybrid version of their entire model portfolio before 2030.
Keeping in mind that their global model lineup consists of around 300 vehicles, this would be an incredible feat.
“We are reinventing the car,” said VW CEO, Matthias Müller.
“To achieve this, we are making targeted investments to provide the necessary funds from our own resources.”
These include intensive research and development projects, monetary investments in excess of €50 billion, and the promise of 80 new electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles being on sale by 2025.
Currently, VW is developing a Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) – which is a vehicle architecture that is optimised for e-mobility and that will serve as the base for all future electric vehicles in the volume segment.
Audi and Porsche – as sub-brands in the VW group – is also working together on a Premium Platform Electric (PPE) project, which is an e-mobility platform for the premium vehicles that these brands sell.
In addition, the VW group is researching improved battery technologies, getting production ready for the manufacturing of electric vehicles, and taking responsibility for the customer experience in charging and charging infrastructure.
A joint venture with IONITY was entered into in 2017, which aims to expand important charging stations and networks across the European market.
Below is an outline of the seven milestones that VW have already reached in their e-mobility journey.
1. MOIA ride pooling
Volkswagen mobility company – MOIA – built their first electric vehicle in the form of a fully-electric six-seater minibus.
It is part of a comprehensive ecosystem for ride pooling and was rolled out to the city of Hamburg, Germany in 2018.
Like Uber, the MOIA ride sharing vehicle can be booked via an app – and an algorithm then groups passengers with similar destinations.
VW initiated this project with the goal of making urban transport cleaner and more relaxed.
2. Volkswagen I.D. family
Beginning in 2016, the I.D. family has grown to three siblings.
Starting with the all-electric I.D. compact car, followed by the I.D. Buzz – an electric reimagination of the VW Kombi – and finally the I.D. Crozz, a fully electric SUV.
The trio were designed to have a range of more than 500km, and were showcased as a model family at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2017.
The first model in this family – the I.D. – was scheduled to go into production at the Zwickau plant in Saxony, Germany, at the end of 2019.
3. Porsche Mission E
This all-electric four-door sports sedan offers the same driving pleasure and dynamics that Porsche is known for in their internal combustion cars.
And fans were able to catch a glimpse of one of the first prototypes at the Nürburgring as early as October 2017.
The Mission E was designed for a driving range of over 500 kilometres, and went into production towards the end of 2019.
What came out of this project was the Porsche Taycan, the first all-electric vehicle from this marque that was available to the general public.
The mission of the E was for Porsche to show just how sporty, fast, and luxuriously stylish e-mobility could be.
4. e-smartConnect quick-charging station
A major headache for early EV adopters is the incompatibility – or a lack – of charging stations.
VW’s answer to this was the development of the e-smartConnect automated e-filling station, where the connector and vehicle are connected via a special cable arrangement, and the use of a lightweight robot.
Research on mobile charging robots is also underway, said the group.
This milestone was important for VW as they sought a way to innovatively address the critical issues associated with charging infrastructure.
5. MAN eTGM
MAN also debuted a new truck – the eTGM – which is a fully electric unit which will “revolutionize silent and emission-free logistics”.
Practical trials for this vehicle started in 2018.
This is not the only e-project from the VW Truck & Bus segment, and five other projects which follow the same principles as the eTGM are in the pipeline.
The goal of this milestone is for VW Truck & Bus to provide solutions to the new opportunities that present themselves in the freight transport category.
6. Audi Brussels Plant
The Audi production plant in Brussels, Belgium started a transformation in 2016 in order to produce the Audi e-tron, the brand’s first all-electric SUV, by 2018.
The plant was initially used to produce the entry-level car of the brand, the A1, but production since shifted to Spain to make way for the e-tron.
Audi pursued this in order to invest wisely in production technology, and to stay on top of the e-mobility momentum.
7. ŠKODA VISION E
The VISION E concept car from ŠKODA is a fully electric SUV coupe.
The dramatic first electric model for the brand has an output of 225kW and a range of over 500km, while also meeting the “level 3” requirements for autonomous driving.
Production versions of this vehicle were bound to arrive toward the end of 2020, and came in the form of the ŠKODA Enyaq iV.
The mission for this milestone was for ŠKODA to prove that elegant and efficient electric SUVs are a possibility.