Volkswagen just cut two years off its electric car target

Volkswagen is hitting the accelerator on its electric car plans, now aiming to slice two years off its previous goal of hitting one million produced EVs. The German automaker had previously planned to make it to the milestone by the end of 2025.

Now, though, VW says it's confident it can get there by the end of 2023. Come the end of 2025, it's now forecasting that it'll have hit the 1.5 million electric car production goal, with models like the new 2020 VW ID.3 helping drive that growth.

Unveiled in early September, the 2020 ID.3 is the first of the VW Group's electric cars to use the so-called Modular Electric Drive Toolkit (MEB) platform. That's the modular architecture VW developed for use across its brands, with the flexibility to be implemented in front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive form, with varying power and range levels. In the case of the ID.3, for example, it's a Golf-sized hatchback, but the same MEB platform will be used for SUVs, luxury sedans, and more.

Getting to that point has demanded no small amount of investment, and a new production facility. VW began manufacturing the ID.3 in early November of this year, having converted its Zwickau factory from a large car plant into one focused on electrification. The automaker plans to invest over $36 billion in e-mobility by 2024, a third of which will go on the Volkswagen brand alone.

An electric hockey stick

The ID.3 isn't VW's first electric vehicle, of course, even if it may be the first to use the new architecture. Before it there have been all-electric models like the e-Golf, along with electrified hybrid variants of the Passat. While not all models have been sold in every market, that hasn't stopped VW from already getting a quarter of the way to its next big milestone.

Indeed, Volkswagen's 250,000th electric car was delivered in mid-December in Germany, the company says. It took six years to reach that point, from the original VW e-up! being released back in 2013. Of the 250,000, roughly half apparently opted for a pure-electric BEV, while the remainder went for a plug-in hybrid.

Clearly the automaker is expecting a rapid rise in EV demand over the next few years, and the figures even before the ID.3's arrival would suggest that's a fair assumption. Volkswagen brand EV deliveries are at 70,000 so far in 2019, the automaker says, up from 50,000 in 2018.

Beyond ID.3, a platform you can share

VW has big plans for the MEB. Next up will be the production version of the ID. CROZZ concept, an all-electric crossover. That'll be the first of the ID family to make it to the US, too, after Volkswagen of America decide to skip the ID.3 hatchback for the moment. ID. CROZZ manufacturing is expected to begin in 2020.

Not every MEB-based vehicle will have a VW badge, though – or indeed a SEAT, Audi, Porsche, or other VW Group nameplate. The automaker is licensing out the platform to other companies, with Ford among the first to agree to use it for a vehicle of its own. That'll begin in 2023, with a Ford MEB-based vehicle expected to launch in Europe initially. Reports earlier this week suggested that could well be a smaller version of the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover.