Announcing the company's new official strategy today, Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller says that he wants to "rectify shortcomings and establish a corporate culture that is open, value-driven and rooted in integrity." To do that, VW plans to launch some 30 battery-powered electric vehicles over the next ten years, which the automaker says will account for 20 to 25 percent of its sales volume — two to three million units by 2025.
The announcement is not a surprise: for months, Müller has been signaling a swift move toward electrification and so-called mobility solutions — ride-sharing, car-sharing, and so on — in an effort to reverse some of the damage done by the ongoing diesel emissions cheating scandal that threatens to tie the company up in government inquiries and lawsuits for months or years to come. To that end, in recent weeks, Volkswagen has invested some $300 million in Uber rival Gett, showed an electric Microbus revival at CES, and announced plans to explore self-driving cabs.
Volkswagen wants to license its self-driving tech
Speaking of self-driving, Volkswagen says that it wants to develop autonomous tech in-house and license it to other companies by the end of the decade. This doesn't seem like much of a stretch, considering that VW brand Audi has been working on self-driving cars for well over a decade, and there are plenty of automakers in the world who don't yet appear to have a plan for autonomy. Volkswagen also wants to develop its own battery technology — a desire certainly shared by Tesla with its Gigafactory — though it's not clear how much battery manufacturing VW will ultimately do on its own.
Volkswagen seems to warn that it will have to improve efficiency and "optimize" its holdings to finance the extraordinary R&D expenditures it wants to undertake, so the question becomes: which of the conglomerate's many brands and businesses might it sell, streamline, or shutter?