Volkswagen shifts R&D focus to digitisation, more electromobility
The company’s supervisory board has redefined the capital expenditure and development costs for e-mobility, hybridisation and digitisation for the next five years. The share of future investments in the planned total expenditure of around 150 billion euros will increase to around 50 percent, compared with around 40 percent in the pre-planning period.
“We set the course for a battery electric future in the Volkswagen Group at an early stage. In the next few years, it will be important to also take a leading position in the field of software in the vehicle. Only as a digital mobility group will we be able to meet people’s needs for individual, sustainable and fully networked mobility in the future,” explained CEO Herbert Diess.
At around 27 billion euros, investment in digitisation was doubled compared to the previous planning round due to its outstanding importance for the future viability of the Group. This includes expenditure for Volkswagen’s Car.Software organisation, which was successfully launched this year and is developing, among other things, a standardised operating system for the vehicles of the Group brands. Initially, its use in the Audi project Artemis is planned for 2024. The company’s own contribution to the software is to increase from 10 to 60 percent. In addition, a large part of the funds in the area of digitisation will flow into the success-critical topics of artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and the digitisation of essential corporate processes.
The planning round is based on the expectation that the global economy will grow moderately over the next five years. Moderate growth with regional differences is also assumed for the individual markets. The company also expects a 30 per cent increase in productivity; moreover, management intends to make cuts in administration in order to financially secure the transformation. Not included in the plans are Volkswagen’s joint venture companies in China, as they are not part of the scope of consolidation and finance investments in plants and products from their own resources.
The company is committed to the Paris Climate Change Convention and aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. In its long-term planning for the next ten years, the group plans to launch around 70 pure e-models on the market by 2030. About 20 of these have already been launched, 50 more will follow. In addition, a total of around 60 hybrid vehicles are planned by the end of the decade, of which just over half are already in production.
The number of purely electric vehicles projected by 2030 is around 26 million units as part of the planning round. Around 19 million of these vehicles are based on the Modular Electric Drive System (MEB), while the majority of the other seven million vehicles are based on the high-performance PPE platform. In the case of hybrid vehicles, the group expects to produce around seven million units in the same period.