VW to phase out combustion vehicles by 2035


The VW brand is planning to phase out internal combustion engines in Europe by 2035 at the latest, thus taking a more moderate course than its sister company Audi, which recently announced its intention to stop selling cars with internal combustion engines by 2033 at the latest.

Klaus Zellmer, board member for sales at the VW Passenger Cars brand, has now made public in an interview that a specific phase-out date has been set for the core brand VW: “In Europe, we will phase out the business with combustion engine vehicles between 2033 and 2035, in the USA and China somewhat later,” the manager told the local German publication Münchner Merkur. In South America and Africa, it will take “a good deal longer” because of the still missing political and infrastructural framework conditions. VW wants to consistently push ahead with its “very ambitious electrification offensive”, but “orientate itself towards the needs of the customers”.

Zellmer also confirmed one of the key targets for tightening up electric targets mentioned in March as part of the new ” ACCELERATE” strategy, namely to increase the share of battery-electric vehicles in total sales in Europe to 70 per cent by 2030. He commented: “There will be markets where only battery-electric vehicles will be allowed earlier, think of Norway. And there will be markets in which battery-electric vehicles would make little sense ecologically, because the electricity will also be generated primarily from coal in the future. That’s why we have to leave ourselves a certain amount of leeway when it comes to combustion engines and battery-electric vehicles. In the end, the freedom of choice always lies with the customer.”

According to Zellmer, VW will “still need a few more years” for combustion technology and will therefore continue to invest in optimising its drive systems. With a view to the possible introduction of an EU7 standard, diesel is certainly a particular challenge, the manager said. “But there are driving profiles where diesel engines are still very much in demand, especially among customers with high mileage.”

Group sister Audi has positioned itself more clearly with regard to the departure of internal combustion engines. Head Markus Duesmann already announced in March that Audi had stopped the development of new combustion engines in view of the EU plans for a stricter Euro 7 emissions standard. This was followed a few days ago by the announcement that from 2026 only electric models would be launched on the market – flanked by the goal that the last combustion engines would roll off the production line in 2033.

Two days ago, another Volkswagen subsidiary, Skoda, announced its intention to achieve a sales share of fully electric models in Europe of 50 to 70 per cent by 2030, depending on market developments. (in German)


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