Volkswagen has announced a new product strategy in the wake of the dieselgate scandal, including cutting €1bn in annual investments and a focus on alternative fuel vehicles.
Perhaps most crucial as VW looks to move on from the emissions cheating scandal is that all diesel-engined cars will only use selective catalytic reduction and AdBlue injection in Europe and North America. VW describes the systems as “the best environmental technology.” An exact timetable for the change hasn’t been given, VW only saying it will happen “as soon as possible.”
Development of the MQB transverse-engined modular platform, which underpins everything from the Skoda Fabia up to the new VW Tiguan, will switch focus to plug-in hybrids, pure-electrics with a range of up to 186 miles, 48-volt mild hybrid systems and yet more efficient CNG, petrol and diesel engines.
VW has also devised a new, standardised electric ‘toolkit’ for use in “compact segment” vehicles, both cars and commercials, across all Group brands. The system, called MEB, will be compatible with any type of bodyshell, allowing “emotional vehicle concepts.” VW says it will have a range of 250km to 500km (155-310 miles).
Meanwhile, the next-generation Phaeton luxury car, due by 2020, will become a pure-electric rival to the Tesla Model S. According to VW it will have “long-range capability, connectivity and next-generation assistance systems as well as an emotional design.” The Phaeton could well use the same electric drivetrain as the upcoming Audi Q6 SUV.
Connectivity and assistance systems will be a major element of future VW product development, the company saying “a new standard is to be defined.” That likely means an acceleration of development of autonomous driving capability.
These projects will take priority as VW looks to cut €1bn from its annual investment costs. It currently spends around €10bn on research and development every year. It isn’t known where those cuts will come from, but motorsport programmes and the Bugatti Veyron successor are thought to be likely victims.
VW CEO Herbert Diess said: “The Volkswagen brand is repositioning itself for the future. We are becoming more efficient, we are giving our product range and our core technologies a new focus, and we are creating room for forward-looking technologies by speeding up the efficiency program.”
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By Only Motors