VWG invests billions in future tech

The Volkswagen Group will invest more than €34bn in future technologies by 2022.

The company cites e-mobility, autonomous driving, digital networking of all road users and new mobility services as key levers for making mobility in cities more efficient, cleaner and more liveable.

‘We want to redefine urban mobility, and to that end we are systematically focusing on people and their needs, and not primarily on technology,’ the Volkswagen Group CEO, Matthias Müller.

According to UNO forecasts, almost 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050. More than 80% of global GDP is generated in cities. Mobility is a key enabling factor. On the other hand, air quality, congested streets, traffic jams, and partly outdated infrastructure are some of the challenges that must be solved.

‘The future of mobility lies first and foremost in cities and metropolitan areas. That is where the most pressing problems are to be found – and where both the need and the potential for change are at their greatest,’ Müller said. ‘If we want to preserve the freedom of individual mobility, then we have to say goodbye to many things we associate with driving today. We must rethink and redefine mobility. And we will be stepping up our efforts in this regard even further.’

The mobility partnership with the Hanseatic City of Hamburg illustrates how diverse these activities are. Just a few days ago, 50 e-Golf1 were handed over to members of the public, entrepreneurs and authorities there. MAN is trialing the use of autonomous trucks in the Port of Hamburg and on selected highway sections. The VW brand will be launching its “WeDeliver” service in Hamburg, too. MOIA will begin testing its ride pooling service in the city this year, using an all-electric six-seater shuttle developed in-house. Initially, the fleet in Hamburg will comprise 200 vans. Looking to the future, up to 1,000 MOIA shuttles could take to the roads in Hamburg. Plans for other cities are in the pipeline.

Together with the automation specialist Kuka, the Volkswagen Group has also presented the first mobile charging robot for automobiles. Such fully automated service robots for use both in public spaces and at home will make a key contribution to boosting the acceptance of e-mobility.

‘People will only accept this technology if they can charge their vehicles quickly, easily and conveniently. I am convinced that the future belongs to service robots like ‘CarLa’. And I am delighted that Kuka and the Volkswagen Group are the trailblazers’, Müller said.

The Volkswagen Group wants to help e-mobility achieve the breakthrough in all segments. The company already has eight electric cars and plug-in hybrids in its programme. They will be joined this year by the Audi e-tron, the brand’s first electric SUV with a range of 500km. The Porsche Mission E and the first VW I.D. will follow in 2019.