5.12.2018VW to launch last generation of petrol and diesel models in 2026
Volkswagen will develop its last generation of vehicles using petrol or diesel engines in 2026, and phase out internal combustion models before then, as it commits to electric vehicle production.
Reports from the Handelsblatt Automotive Summit in Wolfsburg quote VW's Head of Strategy Michael Jost as saying: "Our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren't CO2 neutral. In the year 2026 will be the last product start on a combustion engine platform."
The news means that there could be no new Volkswagen models on sale with an internal combustion engine (ICE) from around 2034 onwards, working on the assumption of a product life of around 7-8 years - though it could be a little longer depending on the final ICE models available.
We can expect there to be no new ICE cars in Europe from 2040 as a minimum though - which would be a highly unlikely 14 year product cycle - and ICE models are likely to have run their course before that.
Jost did comment that there could be some petrol and diesel models available beyond 2050 for markets where electric vehicle infrastructure is poor, but it seems unlikely that this scenario will come into effect, and they will be using older ICE technology by that stage.
Considering the VW Group's practice of wide-spread component sharing, the news affects the likes of Skoda, Seat, and Audi at the very least. Porsche and Bentley will likely be covered by the statement too, and the performance benefits of electric vehicles, combined with ever increasing driving ranges, mean that even specialist models such as those from Bugatti, will be all electric by then too.
The announcement is a significant one, and the first to commit a manufacturer to place a deadline on the development of all internal combustion units. It brings the group into line with a small collection of manufacturers that have committed to similar operations though, and arguably places them ahead of the curve with the new deadline for the final petrol or diesel model to start development.
Previously only Volvo has stated that it will stop developing an ICE unit before, but that was diesel only - though it has already stopped working on new diesels. Volvo expects half of its sales to be made up of pure-electric models by 2025, and Jaguar Land Rover for example will offer electrified versions of all of its models by 2025.
Other manufacturers, including the likes of Toyota, have stated that they will cease sales of diesel models in certain markets by certain dates - but nothing as far reaching for ICE development as the new announcement.
VW is continuing to try and make reparations for its part in the diesel scandal, with billions of pounds spent in both fines and EV development. A new electric brand - I.D. - has at least three confirmed models to launch in the next few years, built on a new electric platform.
Audi has also has three confirmed new EVs, Porsche will launch its first pure-EV next year, and the likes of Skoda and Seat will benefit from access to the MEB electric platform too.