You’d think that Volkswagen would’ve been one of the brands at the front of the queue when it came to announcing a phase-out of internal combustion engines — especially given the still-lingering effects of the Dieselgate saga.
The brand has flirted with the idea a few times this year and last. Now, it’s given something of a deadline — Sales Chief Klaus Zellmer saying that the brand will phase out the sale of internal combustion vehicles in Europe between 2033 and 2035.
Zellmer made the statements in an interview with German newspaper Muenchner Merkur. He specifically named the United States, China, South America, and Africa as markets that will continue to see traditional petrol and diesel Volkswagens. New Zealand is likely to be in that group, too.
There’s no signs of how long Volkswagen plans to sell internal combustion engines in markets outside of Europe. Zellmer said these options will be available for a “good deal longer” in places where EVs aren’t gaining as much traction or aren’t as well supported.
The news comes after Audi, a member of the Volkswagen Group, confirmed its plans to cull petrol and diesel from line-up by 2033. The curious announcement conceded that one market, China, would continue to sell internal combustion products beyond 2033.
Back in March, Volkswagen said that it expected its European sales to be 70 per cent fully electric by 2030, up from a previous estimate of 35 per cent. It’s already launched the fully electric ID.3 and ID.4 in the region. An ID.5, ID.6, and ID.Buzz are already confirmed to be in the works.
As it stands, the only electric Volkswagen confirmed for New Zealand to date is the ID.4. It’s arrival date isn’t certain thanks to demand for the nameplate in other markets, but a spokesperson recently told NZ Autocar it could arrive in late 2022.
“The automotive industry is changing fast. We will fundamentally change Volkswagen in the coming years. We intend to defend our market leadership on a clear position: Volkswagen will be the most attractive brand for sustainable mobility,” Volkswagen boss Ralf Brandstätter said back in March.
“If you believe with electric cars alone we’ve arrived in the future, already you’re wrong. The key is digitalisation. The car is now a software-driven product, like an internet device. Cars will become more intelligent and safer. Electrification was just the beginning, the real disruption is coming.”