Volkswagen is set to invest a significantly increased sum into the e-mobility business, including autonomous driving, digitization and new mobility services in China. By 2022, the company plans to invest 15 billion dollars with its joint venture partners SAIC, FAW and JAC.
This was announced by the head of the China division, Jochem Heizmann at the start of the Beijing Motor Show. VW’s new CEO, Herbert Diess, was also present for the press conference and show.
This marks Diess’s first trip outside the country, after being instituted as CEO about two weeks ago. Volkswagen is planning a major EV offensive in China over the next few years, and plans to release ten fully electric vehicles by 2023, and is planning to have 40 alternative energy vehicles present on the Chinese market by 2025, and anticipates sales of 650,000 vehicles. By 2022, production in China is also planned to be taking place in at least six factories.
VW also presented its new electric brand SOL, which is being produced by the joint venture with JAC in China. Originally, the plan was to use Seat as a base, or more specifically the Chinese version Xijate, but the plan has evidently been scrapped.
The first model to be produced by SOL is a compact SUV named the E20X, which has more than a 300 km range. As reported, this is a retooled version of the existing JAC iEV7 model. A total of three vehicle models will be released by the JV in China, which was founded in 2017. Originally, the release date was planned for March. VW’s modular electric kit MEB was also not used for the vehicle. For now, all other partners will benefit from the technology, but not JAC in this instance.
In regards to digitization and mobility services, VW is also planning on moving into ride-sharing services with the Chinese ride-share provider Shouqi. They are also analysing cooperation possibilities with Didi Chuying for mobility, smart city and robot taxi projects.
Many vehicle manufacturers have recently begun moving into the Chinese market. The legislative change regarding vehicle manufacturing requirements in China have certainly helped, as the joint venture requirement was recently struck. For car manufacturers who produce electric cars and plug-in hybrids, the jv requirement will fall this year already.