Volkswagen has moved to advance the automotive company's push in the self-driving and electric cars segment by agreeing to invest 34 billion euro, or approximately $40 billion, in the research and development of those vehicles through 2022, according to a report from Reuters. As part of the investment plan, the giant auto maker has vowed to produce by 2030 an electric variant of each car model the company has built through the years, meaning that all 300 Volkswagen models will be seeing their electric versions in the future.
Matthias Mueller, Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen, said in a press conference that the Wolfsburg, Germany-based car manufacturer aims for the investment to push Volkswagen to the top of the electric mobility market by 2025. However, it remains to be seen what strategy the company plans to take in order to address several issues with electric vehicles such as insufficient charging infrastructure, limitations on the distance these cars can cover, and the hefty costs associated with their batteries, among others. These and more challenges are facing the existing companies that have already jumped on the bandwagon of the electric vehicle segment, as these factors are top on the list of customers' requirements for electric cars. In terms of the infrastructure for producing electric cars, Volkswagen said it plans to spend more than 1 billion euros on a manufacturing plant located in Zwickau, Germany where production of electric vehicles is set to take place.
Volkswagen announced its investment plan in electric and self-driving cars a few days after the automaker partnered with Google to jointly initiate research on the use of quantum computers in a number of applications that include the development of artificial intelligence (AI) systems upon which self-driving cars will rely. Google first held talks with Volkswagen and other automakers early in 2015 for a project that aims to bring self-driving cars to market by 2020, and that plan seems to be taking shape right now. On top of its partnership with Google, Volkswagen also teamed up with NVIDIA last June to boost its machine learning capabilities and improve the development of AI solutions that it wants to incorporate into a wide variety of functions across Volkswagen's full suite of group models.