In order to secure battery capacity for the expansion, partnerships have already been agreed with battery manufacturers for Europe and China. For North America, the supplier decision is imminent. Volkswagen is also considering its own production of battery cells, where German manufacturers are currently still heavily dependent on suppliers, especially from Asia. Cell research is already being set up at the Salzgitter plant. However, no decision has yet been made on the possible production of such components.
Last autumn, Volkswagen announced its "Roadmap E" to build up to three million electric cars per year by 2025 and to launch 80 new electrified Group models on the market. In addition to the eight e-vehicles and plug-in hybrids already in the Group's product range, nine new e-vehicles will be added in the current year. Three of them are pure e-vehicles.
The Group currently produces electric vehicles at three locations, and in two years' time, nine more plants will be equipped to do so, says Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen.
Research and development costs in 2017 focused on new models, electrification of the vehicle portfolio, a more efficient engine range and digitization. Investments in property, plant and equipment in the Automotive Division were at the previous year's level of €12.6bn, vs €12.8bn last year. The R&D ratio, the share of total research and development costs in the Automotive Division's sales revenue, fell to 6.7 percent. The ratio of capital expenditure on property, plant and equipment also fell significantly to 6.4 percent from 6.9.