Αρχική | Ειδήσεις | Διεθνή ΜΜΕ (english) | The great electric car race is just beginning

The great electric car race is just beginning

Μέγεθος γραμμάτων: Decrease font Enlarge font
The great electric car race is just beginning

On the southern edge of Brussels, where the city turns to suburbs, the future of Germany’s most successful automaker is taking shape inside a peculiar sort of car factory. Here, there are no exhaust pipes, transmissions or fuel tanks. There are no spark plugs, radiators or manifolds. What the Volkswagen Group factory does have, however, are batteries stacked to the rafters.

Thirty-six shoebox-sized battery modules, each containing a dozen lithium-ion cells, are packed into seven-foot long electric-battery packs and slung under the floor of each sport utility vehicle produced here. The first electric SUV from Volkswagen’s luxury Audi brand, the e-tron, can go 400 kilometers (nearly 250 miles) on a single battery cycle and be recharged in as little as half an hour. The styling is conventional, the interior is luxurious and the ride is nearly silent.

The e-tron SUV has one job for Volkswagen: Prove that a carmaker that has relied almost exclusively on the internal combustion engine since it was founded 82 years ago can produce electric vehicles people want to buy and policymakers will embrace as they cast around for ways to tackle the climate crisis. Success means that Volkswagen will overtake rivals, including Tesla, in electric car sales and fend off new challengers from China and Silicon Valley; failure could signal the beginning of the end for a company with 665,000 employees and annual revenue of $265 billion.

Volkswagen isn’t alone. Established carmakers around the world are ripping up their business models in the hope of adapting to a new world in which electricity replaces gasoline and diesel. Factories are being overhauled to produce electric cars, and automakers are snapping up every battery they can find. The high cost of developing electric cars is forcing some companies to find partners and turning others into acquisition targets. The need to meet strict emissions standards in China and Europe means that executives are paying far more attention to the policies being put in place in Beijing or Brussels, than what rivals are building in Detroit or Wolfsburg, Volkswagen’s hometown.

The German group, which also owns Porsche, Bugatti, Skoda, Lamborghini and SEAT, is rising to the challenge with a radical transformation that is unparalleled since World War II. The company is spending €30 billion ($34 billion) over the next five years to make an electric or hybrid version of every vehicle in its lineup, and it plans to launch 70 new electric models by 2028. By the end of 2030, it wants four of every 10 cars it sells to be electric, a mass market play that hinges on the success of a new line of vehicles called the “ID.”

The overhaul has profound implications for the world’s largest carmaker as it tries to turn the page on its costly diesel emissions scandal. Volkswagen is spending billions of dollars to retrofit factories from Germany to China to produce cars based on its modular electric car production platform, or MEB. The company has also signaled that it will use some of the money it makes from selling fuel-powered cars to produce its own batteries and build charging networks.

The initiatives are expensive. But the level of investment by Volkswagen and its competitors, coupled with the aggressive emissions targets set by regulators, show there’s no turning back. All of this leads to a new question: Can Tesla maintain its lead in the global race to the electric car?

Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια εδώ

Διαβάστε το άρθρο από την πηγή

Εγγραφή RSS για αυτά τα σχόλια Σχόλια (0)

συνολικά: | προβολή:

Σχολιάστε το άρθρο comment

Παρακαλώ εισάγετε τον κωδικό που βλέπετε στην εικόνα:

Eshop
  • email Αποστολή άρθρου
  • print Εμφάνιση εκτύπωσης
  • Plain text Προβολή ώς Plain Text