BERLIN -- The Volkswagen Group plans to offer plug-in hybrid powertrains on most of its models before longer-range batteries become a reality.
Audi will offer plug-in hybrid versions of the Q7 SUV, A7 and A8 sedans while the VW brand will launch a plug-in Touareg SUV and Phaeton flagship sedan in global markets, VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn said at the automaker’s annual media conference today.
Volkswagen also will launch the Golf GTE plug-in hybrid in the United States next year, VW brand r&d boss Hans-Jakob Neusser said on the sidelines of a VW event here Wednesday night.
VW is aiming to become an electrified vehicle leader in the coming years as global emissions rules grow more stringent.
Winterkorn said VW can electrify up to 40 models with “no major additional effort” and little extra cost with its “toolkit” platform strategy. Vehicles based on the toolkit architectures can accommodate any powertrain type, including fuel cell, compressed natural gas, battery-electric or conventional internal combustion engines, and be built on the same assembly lines.
“This saves a lot of money and above all means that we are extremely flexible,” Winterkorn said in prepared remarks.
Plug-in hybrids are the best medium-term technology to reduce emissions without sacrificing range, Winterkorn said. Meanwhile, VW is working on electric vehicle systems with a range of more than 300 miles. That would be about 30 miles greater than the Audi R8 e-tron EV launching later this year.
Winterkorn also said during the conference that VW plans to invest 85 billion euros ($90 billion) in vehicles, plants and technology through 2020.