Volkswagen says it will offer its WV EV for under $23,000.  The company says by converting three of its factories to build electric vehicles, it will protect German jobs and rival US upstart Tesla.  VW photo.

VW EV sales must reach 30 per cent of new car sales by 2030 to meet EU regulations

Volkswagen says it intends to compete with rival automaker Tesla by selling its “MEB entry” electric vehicle for just under $23,000.  The company says it will also be saving jobs at its German plants by converting its current facilities to EV building plants.

The German automaker says VW EV development is a top priority for the company and at the beginning of this year, Volkswagen created a separate division for e-mobility under the direction of Thomas Ulbrich.

“The modular electric drive matrix (MEB) is arguably the most important project in the history of Volkswagen, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf,” Thomas Ulbrich, member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Brand responsible for E-Mobility, said in an earlier press release.

Production volume of the MEB entry is expected to hit 200,000 and plans for the VW EV are to be discussed at the company’s supervisory board meeting on Nov. 16, according to a Reuters source.

According to Ulbrich the MEB “will be the foundation for more than 10 million e-cars throughout the Group in the first wave and will blaze our trail to the age of electricity.”

VW unveiled its entirely re-designed EV chassis in in Sept.

“…the I.D. chassis is not a retroactively modified platform for gasoline-powered vehicles. Rather, it was designed from the very start with e-drives in mind.  VW can optimally tap its technological potential as a result,” the company said in a press release at the time.

One source told Reuters that the ID Aero, another electric vehicle from Volkswagen, will be built at a plant currently building the VW Passat.  And the ID Buzz, an electric van, is expected to be built at VW’s plant in Hannover where it currently builds the T6 Van.

The company is also expected to announce alliances with battery cell manufacturer SK Innovation and Ford, according to the new agency’s source.

Another source said that at the Nov. 16 strategy meeting, participants will discuss shifting Volkswagen from Europe’s largest builder of combustion engine vehicles into a mass producer of EVs.   VW says it will debate the merits of converting its combustion-engined car factories in Emden, Zwickau and Hanover to plants that build electric vehicles.

The move comes at a time when European cities are beginning to ban diesel vehicles.  Earlier this year, a top German court ruled that cities can impose diesel driving bans to combat air pollution.

Germany’s automakers say they are working to protect hundreds of thousands of German industrial jobs at car companies and their suppliers.  Of 600,000 German industrial jobs, 436,000 are at car companies and their suppliers.

VW has to work with German labour unions, which hold half of the seats on VW’s board of directors, to move its transporter van production to a Ford plant in Turkey, and free up production space for electric vehicles.

According to Reuters, VW and Ford are currently in “exploratory talks” about an alliance to develop autonomous and EVs in order to complement each other’s global production and sales operations.

Ford has a strong presence in the United States, mostly due to its lucrative pickup trucks segment, while VW dominates the European passenger cars market.

Should Ford and VW agree upon a deal to work together, it may take until the end of the year to be finalized, according to a Reuters source.

EU lawmakers are seeking a 35 per cent cut in vehicle emissions by 2030 following a United Nations report calling for drastic steps to cut global warming.  Volkswagen’s CEO Herbert Diess says to cut average fleet emissions of CO2 in Europe by 2030, his company would need to increase its EV fleet by 30 per cent of new car sales.

Autoworker unions are concerned about job losses as it takes less time to build an EV and a conventional car.  In Europe, there are about 126 plants building vehicles with combustion engines and the facilities employ about 112,000 people.

14,000 jobs could be lost at Volkswagen due to the shift.