Volkswagen to Only Sell EVs by 2035 in Europe

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【Summary】Internal combustion engines will be phased out as early as 2033, while a U.S. plan will follow shortly after.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Aug 10, 2021 7:00 AM PT
Volkswagen to Only Sell EVs by 2035 in Europe

As soon as the U.S. government issued its ruling on Volkswagen's Dieselgate scandal, the German automaker's days selling vehicles with an internal combustion engine were numbered. The ruling jumpstarted VW's push to electrify its lineup and help consumers make the switch to an electric vehicle. With Volkswagen moving toward introducing a large number of electrified vehicles, we knew that the result was moving to be an electric-only brand, but we didn't have an available timeline for when the switch would happen. Now, we have a better idea of when VW will phase internal combustion engines out.

The EVs Are Coming

Volkswagen's head of sales Klaus Zellmer provided the German newspaper Muenchner Merkur with a timeline for when the automaker will become electric only. In the interview, Merkur claimed that the automaker's vehicles would only be offered with battery-electric powertrain by as late as 2035 in Europe. A similar plan will be put in place for China and the United States shortly after.

The German automaker confirmed the news in a statement to CNET's Roadshow, stating: "We will make our fleet and the entire company carbon neutral by 2050 at the latest. The company has set clear milestones to achieving this in its Accelerate strategy and the Way to Zero program it incorporates. This sees us pursuing what is currently the most ambitious electrification strategy in the volume segment. The goal is for 70% of all new Volkswagen cars in Europe to be fully electric by 2030. This means that Volkswagen will probably produce the last vehicles with internal combustion engines for the European market between 2033 and 2035."

Volkswagen also shed some light on why its electric push will arrive in Europe first and the U.S. at a later date. The automaker claims that the "different pace of transformation and the ongoing lack of clarity" regarding the political and infrastructure climate behind EVs makes some areas better prepared for EVs than others. Some areas, like South America, don't make sense for an electric vehicle push because of the country's "political and infrastructure environment."

Why Europe First?

Unlike the U.S., European emissions regulations are forcing automakers to focus on electric vehicles. The emissions regulations, which call for a 100 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions, will make it incredibly difficult for automakers to sell a vehicle with an internal combustion engine in a few countries by 2035.

In the U.S., the federal government has left the door open for certain states to introduce their own bans on new vehicles with an internal combustion engine. California is more in line with Europe, as it plans to ban the sale of new vehicles with an internal combustion engine by 2035.

Volkswagen's pivot toward electric vehicles isn't surprising. The automaker announced that it was developing its last generation of gasoline- and diesel-powered engines in 2018. VW plans to launch 27 new electric vehicles globally by 2022. So far in the U.S., Volkswagen only has one all-electric vehicle on sale, which is the ID.4 crossover.

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