The two joint ventures of Volkswagen in China intend to begin manufacturing electric automobiles in 2014 and plan to boost mass production by 2018, according to the president and chief executive of Volkswagen's China operations, Karl-Thomas Neuman. Initial EV output at FAW Volkswagen and Shanghai Volkswagen was estimated at a few thousand cars, increasing to 100,000 by 2018, Neumann revealed in an EU-China business convention in Beijing.
So far, electronic vehicles have been limited by the expensive batteries as well as the lack of economies of scale and models that appeal to vehicle buyers.
However, Neumann said they were needed in order to lower China's pollution and dependence on oil. He said he is convinced that e-vehicles will be "a success" in China because he thinks "it is desperately needed." He further stated that Volkswagen, which has partnerships with FAW Group and SAIC Motor Corp in China, would introduce its first plug-in hybrid in the country in 2015.
Each of the joint ventures of Volkswagen would develop its own EV, Neumann disclosed. He did not provide details on whether the 100,000 EV output intended for 2018 was for each partnership or a combined target.
The central government has made the electric vehicle industry its top priority, allocating $1.5 billion annually for the next 10 years to be one of the leading suppliers of clean automobiles.
It has named 25 cities including Hangzhou, Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai to lead the movement to green cars. However, demand for electronic automobiles has been held back by a lack of models, high sticker prices, safety concerns and limited charging facilities. [source: Autonews]