Volkswagen Will Invest Billions in Gasoline Engines

The funds will be allocated to “maintain competitiveness of our internal combustion vehicles.”

The shift to electric vehicles (EVs) hasn’t unfolded as some automakers originally envisioned. Several manufacturers are pushing back their ambitious plans to achieve complete electrification in the near future. Out of the €180 billion ($196 billion) designated for research and development in 2023, Volkswagen plans to allocate over two-thirds to “electrification and digitalization.”

Arno Antlitz, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Volkswagen Group, has provided further details on how the remaining third will be utilized. Approximately €60 billion ($65 billion) will be invested to ensure competitiveness of their combustion engine vehicles.

Speaking at a Reuters event in Munich, the CFO and COO stated, “The future is electric, but the past is not over. It is a third, and it will stay a third.” This reiterates Volkswagen’s earlier announcement from late 2022 that the company aims to go fully electric in Europe by 2033.

Last year, VW brand boss Thomas Schäfer described internal combustion engines (ICE) as “old technology” in the context of e-fuels. He characterized the discussions about synthetic fuels as merely “unnecessary noise.” This stands in contrast to the efforts of fellow VW Group brand Porsche, which is actively producing synthetic fuel at a factory in Chile.

Other high-end brands within the VW Group are also closely monitoring the development of sustainable fuels. Bugatti is even considering designing fuel stations that owners can install at home and fill with synthetic fuel. Lamborghini believes that the combustion engine could be preserved by running it on alternatives to fossil fuels. Bentley is also investigating nearly carbon-neutral fuels.

Bentley, the Crewe-based marque, has postponed its goal to become EV-only by 2030, pushing it back by three years. Similarly, Ford no longer believes it can fully transition to electric vehicles in Europe by 2030. Aston Martin has also reversed its stance and will continue producing cars with combustion engines into the next decade.

It’s evident that more automakers are reassessing their EV strategies as consumers remain reluctant to abandon internal combustion engines (ICE). This puts car companies in a difficult position, as they must invest in making gas engines cleaner due to increasingly stringent emissions regulations.

Concurrently, the aggressive electric vehicle push from China poses a significant challenge for global manufacturers.

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  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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