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VW ramps up EV offensive, aims to be fully carbon-neutral by 2050

Instead of introducing 50 new electric models by 2028, now it's 70.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Much like Dutch Van der Linde, Volkswagen Group has a plan. A plan that requires a lot of money, yes, but instead of going toward mango farming in Tahiti, it'll go toward a whole boatload of EVs and clean energy.

Volkswagen Group had its annual conference this week, and during the course of it, the automaker promised to ramp up its already optimistic EV offensive. Now, instead of introducing 50 new EVs by 2028, VW Group will launch 70. That changed another projection, too -- whereas it originally envisioned having some 15 million Group-branded EVs on the road in a decade, it's now estimating 22 million.

The MEB platform lies at the heart of its strategy. This scalable electric-vehicle platform can underpin vehicles both large and small, allowing the automaker to save some scratch that would otherwise be wasted developing multiple platforms. VW will help recoup development costs by sharing MEB with other automakers, too. Earlier in March, VW announced that e.Go Mobile will be the first outside company to utilize VW's platform. Ford has been on the shortlist for automakers that could be given access, but nothing has been confirmed yet.

VW I.D. Buzz Cargo

VW isn't just putting EVs in service as passenger vehicles. One of its more recent concepts was an electric cargo van, the I.D. Buzz Cargo.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Before you start wondering how it could be possible for VW to launch 70 electric models in a decade's time, remember that Volkswagen Group is huge. There are a dozen brands under this single umbrella: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, MAN, Porsche, Scania, Seat, Skoda, Volkswagen and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. Not every team will use MEB, but even if half of them do, 70 vehicles seems feasible given how many segments each company operates in.

That many EVs will require a whole bunch of batteries. To that end, Volkswagen has already selected CATL, LG Chem, Samsung and SKI as battery suppliers. The company is also looking at "possible participation in battery cell manufacturing facilities," according to its press release. VW Group is also investing in solid-state battery tech, which is still in its larval stage but offers promising benefits over batteries with liquid electrolytes.

That's not all VW wants to do in the future. The Group is also targeting complete carbon neutrality by 2050. In the shorter term, by 2025, it wants to reduce its fleet's carbon-dioxide footprint by 30 percent compared to 2015. In that same period, it wants to cut carbon emissions by 50 percent at its plants. While fleet output will benefit from the influx of EVs, greening the plants will require shifts away from coal and toward renewable energies. In fact, the Audi E-Tron will soon enter production at a carbon-neutral facility in Brussels, with 95 percent of its processes covered by renewables -- that last 5 percent will be offset with environmental projects.