Why Volkswagen Needs to Sell 600,000 More Electric Cars Per Year

Volkswagen estimates it must sell 600,000 more electric vehicles per year to meet the drastic new CO2 emissions goals released by the European Union on Monday.

To align with the targets, carmakers must reduce carbon dioxide emissions in new fleets by 15% by 2025, and 37.5% by 2030. At the same time, light commercial vehicles’ emissions must reduce 31% from 2021 levels by 2030.

Germany was hoping for a maximum reduction of 30%, Handelsblatt reports.

“The plan we have drawn up for transition is not enough to fulfill this transformation,” Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said this week regarding the emissions goals. Automakers have no choice but to get with the program or potentially face billion-euro fines.

Sources familiar with Volkswagen’s plans told Handelsblatt that the company had calculated it must sell 1.2million electric cars in Europe in 2030 to meet the previous emissions targets. To meet the new CO2 targets, however, that would need to increase to 1.8 million electric vehicles — or 45% of its total sales. Currently, VW and all of its related brands sell 4 million passenger vehicles annually in Europe.

Sources in Wolfsburg say Volkswagen would need to offer at least seven more electric car models to meet that target, and at least one more electric-focused factory to produce them.

The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) said the EU targets were unrealistic and would harm domestic competitiveness — not to mention the 436,000 German industrial jobs tied to building traditional vehicles. “The regulation demands too much while promoting too little,” the VDA said in a statement. “Nobody knows today how the agreed limits can be achieved in the time given.”

Volkswagen had said earlier this month it would make its last combustion engine car release in 2026. The company is investing more than €44 billion into electric and autonomous vehicles through 2023.

Volkswagen is on track to hit a new annual sales record this year. The company has sold 9.9 million vehicles through November, up 1.8% from the same time last year. Unfortunately, this is offset by the fact that global carbon dioxide emissions are also due to reach a record high this year.

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