VW will develop its last internal combustion engines in 2026, report says
Automakers usually try to hedge their public statements about powertrains in the distant future, not so much for reasons of letting their competitors know what their plans are, but due to the difficulty of forecasting technologies, fuel prices and consumer tastes, among other things. Ten years ago automakers thought that the cars of 2018 would be small, wind-cheating hybrids; the reality turned out to be quite the opposite, with a boom in large SUVs and a turn away from sedans of all sizes.
This makes comments by Volkswagen strategy chief Michael Jost all the more surprising: The automaker plans to develop its last generation of internal combustion engines a mere eight years from now, Handelsblatt reports.
"In the year 2026 the last product launch of a combustion engine platform will begin," Jost told attendees during the Handelsblatt automotive summit in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The automaker's plan is tied not only to its own electrification strategy, but to the climate goals of 2050, which Jost indicated could only be achieved if not a single internal combustion car is on the road in that year. This means that the last internal combustion vehicle will be sold around the year 2040. Volkswagen's long term strategy, Jost indicated, is closely tied to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement -- a year which coincided with the group's diesel crisis, which greatly hastened the beginning of the end of diesel for Volkswagen, Handelsblatt notes.
Jost pointed to recent strategic decisions by Volkswagen as being fully in line with the plans to migrate to electric vehicles. Just a few weeks prior, in November of this year, the VW supervisory board decided to convert two more gasoline vehicle plants -- in Hanover and Emden -- to produce EVs, most of which will start rolling off the assembly line in 2021 and 2022.
The Emden plant currently produces the Passat sedan for the global market, while the Hanover plant has been producing small vans like the Crafter. It is expected that the Emden plant will shift to producing ID-branded sedans, previewed by the ID Vizzion concept, while the Hanover factory could switch to producing electric panel vans based on the ID Buzz and other vehicles. The latter was previewed days ago at the LA Auto Show.