The Volkswagen Group will invest an additional 100 million Euros (£70 million) in alternative drive technologies in 2016. Group CEO Matthias Müller announced the plans today (Friday 20th November) at the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg.
The move comes as the VW Group is planning on limiting its spending on capital expenditure to 12 billion Euros, down from the previously planned 13 billion Euros. These cuts will impact projects such as the proposed new design centre in Wolfsburg, which will save around 100 million Euros. The all-electric Phaeton which was announced in mid-October has been put on hold too, but remains in the pipeline rather than being cancelled indefinitely.
Most of the projects that will not be affected by cuts involve new products and modular toolkits. Money will continue to be spent on the next-generation VW Golf, the Audi Q5 and the new Crafter van plant in Poland. Crucially, the modular electric toolkit (MEB), announced at the same time as the all-electric Phaeton, will still be developed.
The MEB will work in a similar fashion to the current MQB, which is the architecture that underpins a large number of models in the VW Group, including those in the VW, Seat, Skoda and Audi ranges. This common platform keeps costs low and allows the group to offer a variety of models without encountering huge engineering costs for each.
The plan is that the MEB will do the same thing for the VW Group as the MQB did, namely dramatically increase the number of models available – with the difference being that MEB models will all feature plug-in drivetrains of one sort or another. This will help bring the VW Group’s plans to have 20 electric and plug-in hybrid models on sale by 2020 to fruition.
Read more: Next Green Car