Volkswagen after the scandal and new Phaeton
It’s been a few weeks now since the emissions scandal echoed through the halls of Volkswagen — and the effects have now been felt as the group posted its first operating loss in 15 years. But Volkswagen is keen to get back on its feet, outlining a new 2025 group strategy, and the cars that will drive it.
As you would expect, a lot of the strategy is aimed at curing some of the ailments that sprung up from EmissionsGate. It includes investigating how the ‘cheat boxes’ managed to find their way onto so many Volkswagens, and decentralising the management structure so that there is less central control.
Volkswagen will be spending 10 percent of its €10bn research budget to rebuild the eco-bridges that were burnt down, so that it can prove to its customers that the environment remains a top priority.
It has also stopped production of all the engines affected — non-Euro6 diesel motors — and will focus on only building diesel engines that use selective catalytic reduction and AdBlue injection.
More than that, Volkswagen is realigning a lot of its future production and vision towards sustainability and eco-aware motoring. This will start with the new Phaeton, which will now be a full-electric vehicle competing against the likes of Tesla’s Model S.
The Phaeton is seen as the height of engineering inside the Volkswagen camp, and the previous model was one of the first vehicles to feature the now famous W12 engine configuration.
This time the Phaeton will be built on the same platform as the Audi Q6 e-tron and share a lot of that car’s technology and battery layout.
Volkswagen is also looking at adding hybrid technology to the majority of its cars with the help of a modular electric toolkit, named MEB, which it developed internally. The MEB will be able to slot onto any of the Volkswagen Group vehicles and will provide an all-electric range of between 250 and 500 km.
We don’t know if this is a knee-jerk response to a difficult situation for Volkswagen, but it would seem that a lot of the company’s resources will end up being diverted towards electric vehicle research.
Hopefully this will eventually push down the research costs of hybrids in the same way that turbochargers have become commonplace on petrol engines.