VW will not develop new natural gas vehicles as it shifts aggressively to e-cars
Handelsblatt / Der Spiegel
VW has decided not to develop new natural gas vehicles, just two years after predicting that cars fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) could eventually account for up to 10 percent of the European fleet and play a key role in emissions reductions. VW CEO Herbert Diess says the company will no longer develop new CNG models, Stefan Menzel and Martin Murphy report in business daily Handelsblatt. Instead, the company will focus on battery electric vehicles (BEVs). The U-turn is being driven both by a lack of interest from customers and by new EU emission limits, Menzel and Murphy report. VW sold just 110,000 CNG-powered cars worldwide last year, too few to justify its current investment, according to the report. While CNG cars are cleaner than traditional gasoline-powered vehicles, VW is not selling enough to make a dent in their overall fleet emissions, Menzel and Murphy write. VW does not plan to immediately stop production of currently available CNG models but it will not develop new models, they add.
Meanwhile, VW is hoping to revive its American business with a major push into electric vehicles, Simon Hage reports in Der Spiegel. One piece of its strategy is a massive network of charging stations across the US, which Volkswagen is building through its subsidiary Electrify America. The billion-dollar investment is part of the settlement VW reached with U.S. authorities after the Dieselgate scandal. The company is hoping the better charging infrastructure will make battery electric vehicles more attractive to Americans – and facilitate the company’s transformation into an e-car leader in the U.S., Hage writes. Ultimately, Hage reports, VW hopes to challenge Tesla and become a top producer of electric vehicles in the U.S., which is the world’s second-largest e-car market after China.