German auto giant Volkswagen has reportedly invested 80 billion euros in mass-producing electric vehicles, which one executive referred to as the future of the company’s brand.
Reuters reports that German auto giant Volkswagen is firmly staking their claim in the electric vehicle market with plans to spend as much as 80 billion euros to mass-produce their own electric vehicles. Previously, electric vehicles have fallen by the wayside for many major auto manufacturers, producing just enough of them to meet clean-air requirements but generating the majority of their income from traditional vehicles. Now, Volkswagen aims to change that.
Senior executives at Volkswagen told Reuters that the company’s biggest strategy shift in 80 years began to take formation during a meeting at the Rothehof guesthouse in Wolfsburg on October 10, 2015. It was here that VW brand chief Herbert Diess and nine of the company’s top managers gathered to discuss the future of the firm following their recent emissions cheating scandal; which cost the firm 27 billion euros in fines.
Juergen Stackmann, VW brand’s board member for sales, commented on the meeting stating: “It was an intense discussion, so was the realization that this could be an opportunity, if we jump far enough. It was an initial planning session to do more than just play with the idea of electric cars,” he told Reuters. “We asked ourselves: what is our vision for the future of the brand? Everything that you see today is connected to this.”
Three days later, the company announced plans to develop an electric vehicle platform; the company behind the infamous “dieselgate” scandal is now set to become the largest producer of electric vehicles in the coming years. Stackmann added: “Decisions to convert the Emden factory (in Lower Saxony) to build electric cars, would never have happened without this Saturday meeting.”
Now, Volkswagen has pledged to spend 80 billion euros to develop electric vehicles and buy batteries; which is likely to be a huge blow to independent electric vehicle manufacturers such as Elon Musk’s Tesla. Musk’s electric vehicle manufacturer announced for the second time this year that they would be cutting the cost of their Model 3 vehicle.
Following the loss of a tax credit which made Tesla vehicles more affordable to consumers, Tesla has scrambled to find ways to lower the price of their vehicles. Despite recently cutting seven percent of the company’s workforce, the company announced a cut of the Model 3 price by $1,100, following a decrease of as much as $2,000 in January.
This brings the starting price of the Model 3 down to $42,900 which is still significantly more expensive than Musk’s previously promised figure of $35,000. Musk stated in a conversation with a Twitter user that the company was “doing everything we can” to bring the Model 3 base price down to $35,000, without tax credits. “It’s a super hard grind,” Musk stated.