That was the loud and clear message at the ongoing 67th edition of the Frankfurt Motor Show: “Electric is the future.” And, that autonomous cars driven by artificial intelligence are closer than ever before.
The Volkswagen Group, Daimler Group and BMW Group have committed investments in excess of ¤50 billion to develop electric cars (EVs). Volkswagen, the world’s largest car maker, has declared its intent of being the largest EV maker by 2025, aiming to overtake rival Renault-Nissan, which already has a head start.
“The Volkswagen Group is launching its largest electrification initiative in the automotive industry – first, we are going to fine tune and step up our production,” Matthias Muller, global CEO of the group, told the media. “The Group is going to electrify its entire model line-up, which means that by 2030, there will be at least one electrified variant for over 300 group models across all brands in all markets.” The company, with brands including Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Lamborghini and Porsche, is committing over ¤20 billion for what it calls Roadmap E.
Given the development cycles in the industry, Muller said 2030 is like “day after tomorrow” and the group is accelerating its EV strategy for the future and also taking on the responsibility of battery making. “Transformation of our industry is unstoppable and we are going to lead this,” Muller proclaimed.
Volkswagen’s Stuttgart-based rival in the premium segment, Mercedes Benz, plans to invest 10 billion euros in electrification.
The maker of the Smart Car said its mid-term vision is to move towards zero emissions and by 2022, Mercedes Benz would have a portfolio ranging from mild hybrids, strong hybrids and fully electric vehicles.
“We are planning to have over 50 electrified model offerings. All these examples show that we are doing our share and we already started years ago,” Daimler Chairman Dieter Zetsche asserted.
However, he said while the vision is zero carbon emissions, there is a bridge towards complete electrification, which means there is still a critical role for diesel. “We need diesel if we are to achieve climate targets through less carbon dioxide emissions caused by world traffic. That is why Daimler has further invested ¤3 billion in development of diesel engines,” Zetsche said.
The BMW Group plans to have 25 electric models with 12 exclusive models by 2025 and Jaguar Land Rover plans to electrify its entire range by 2020. German auto component maker Bosch estimates about 25% of the world’s cars will be electrified by 2030 while a vast chunk of vehicles will still run on conventional internal combustion engines.
Experts said the EV drive is the need of the hour also because car makers in Europe have to meet stringent corporate average fuel economy norms by 2021.
Bert Hellwig, director of e-mobility at auto component maker ZF Friedrichshafen AG, said there is a clear way towards electric vehicles for Europe and legalisation is a key driver.
(The correspondent travelled to the Frankfurt Motor Show at the invitati on of Skoda Auto India)