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VW betting $50 billion on electrification, autonomy, mobility services

The automaker is still in talks with Ford about joining forces in the light commercial vehicle segment.

VW Moia Concept

If you're going to make a big leap into new automotive technology, it helps to come prepared, and Volkswagen sounds pretty damn prepared.

Volkswagen announced Friday that it intends to spend about $50 billion through 2023 on a variety of new tech, including mobility services, digitalization, autonomous driving and vehicle electrification. VW estimates that this will represent about one third of its total expenditures between 2019 and 2023. The supervisory board approved VW's spending plans on Friday.

"One aim of the Volkswagen Group's strategy is to speed up the pace of innovation. We are focusing our investments on the future fields of mobility and systematically implementing our strategy," Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said in a statement.

VW's first concept from its mobility brand Moia is an electric van that hopes to take 1 million cars off the road through expanded mobility services.


Part of that will involve massive changes at Volkswagen's plants. Reuters reports that VW hopes to boost its factories' productivity by 30 percent by 2025, some of which will come from building multiple VW Group vehicles on the same lines.

Consolidation will allow VW to retool more of its plants for its upcoming EV onslaught. The automaker announced earlier this week that it intends to shift its German plants in Emden and Hanover to build electric VWs on the automaker's dedicated MEB platform. Europe isn't alone in this -- Volkswagen said earlier this year that it hopes to build a new EV factory in North America, too, which should be online by 2022.

A Reuters report from early November gave us a look as just how aspirational Volkswagen's EV plans are. In addition to the EVs it's already announced, VW also apparently wants to build a proper entry-level EV that should carry a price tag below $23,000 with an estimated production of 200,000 vehicles.

And that's just electrification. Volkswagen is also making moves into the mobility-service space, starting with Moia, a new VW Group subsidiary dedicated to providing services for people who want to ditch their cars. Moia's first concept is a fully electric van with space for up to six, and VW hopes that its ride-hailing service could replace 1 million cars around the world by 2025.

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