Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, laid out the company’s e-mobility roadmap for vehicle introductions into the United States in remarks at VW’s Electronic Research Laboratory (ERL) in Palo Alto, California.
The Touareg Hybrid will be launched later this year, followed by the Jetta Hybrid in 2012. In 2013, either the E-Up! or the Golf blue-e-motion will be Volkswagen’s first full-electric vehicle in the United States.
During the afternoon tour at ERL, Volkswagen’s largest research facility outside of the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, Winterkorn emphasized the importance of the electric mobility research and initiatives taking place at the ERL and noted that the facility is a key component of Volkswagen’s efforts to become the global leader in electric mobility by 2018.
Volkswagen invests more than $6.45 billion (€5 billion) annually in research and development, and has more than 23,000 employees worldwide focused on these initiatives, Winterkorn said.
Winterkorn noted that the Group Research division at the company’s headquarters in Wolfsburg is responsible for innovation across all of the Volkswagen’s brands. Research assignments and results are coordinated there.
In addition to electric mobility, the ERL team is working on driver assistance systems, online navigation and social networking/ geo-tagged information, among other things. In addition to the Palo Alto facility, the Group Research division includes the Volkswagen Research Lab China (VRC) and Technical Representative Tokyo (VTT).
Volkswagen is bundling research and advance development activities for electric cars worldwide. In terms of research, e-mobility is a key function for the automobile of tomorrow.—Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn
What’s decisive for Volkswagen is the close, worldwide cooperation and networking of the expert groups, Winterkorn said. Thus, building prototypes and the joint assessment of performance and specification in automobiles takes place across the research alliance.
Within this global alliance for research and advanced development, Volkswagen is examining various energy storage concepts, according to Winterkorn. In the field of lithium-ion technology (li-ion), for example, this means competition between specially developed battery cells and consumer cells known from notebooks and other devices.