Volkswagen plans to be all-electric in Europe by 2035
The auto industry’s long, slow arc into an electric future continues.
Our latest update comes from a board member at German car maker Volkswagen, who laid out some of the company’s pivot-to-electric plans in a Munich-based paper’s Saturday report. The plan is for the company to be out of the gas-guzzling game by the mid-2030s, at least in Europe.
“In Europe, we will exit the business with internal combustion vehicles between 2033 and 2035, in the United States and China somewhat later,” board member Klaus Zellmer said in an interview with Münchner Merkur (via Reuters). “In South America and Africa, it will take a good deal longer due to the fact that the political and infrastructure framework conditions are still missing.”
The plan is for VW to be completely finished with gasoline-powered vehicles by 2050 at the latest. And by 2030, the plan is for electric vehicles to account for 70 percent of all sales. Some of the move is spurred by European Union regulations aimed at cutting down on carbon-producing technology, though the Reuters report notes that VW’s targets exceed those requirements.
The 2050 target may seem like a long way off, but it’s a noteworthy goal to reach for in the context of a 2020 report from the American Lung Association. The “Road to Clean Air” report specifically noted that transitioning to an all-electric society of vehicles by 2050 — which is necessarily a gradual process — will slow the effects of climate change and bring down the number of respiratory illnesses and deaths and their attendant impacts on health care costs.
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Crucially, this needs to go beyond just one car company, or even all personal vehicles. The ALA report’s guidance refers to the entire transportation industry. Everyone needs to embrace EVs by 2050 for the rosy picture of a cleaner, healthier world to have a chance at happening.
Volkswagen’s move, therefore, is a step. An important step no doubt, but one that others will need to follow.