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VW CEO backs PHEVs as demand for electric cars stagnates

VW CEO backs PHEVs as demand for electric cars stagnates

Volkswagen CEO Thomas Schäfe recently emphasized the continued relevance of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) as the rise of fully electric vehicles (EVs) begins to level off.

Despite the automotive industry’s major push towards electrification, Schäfer suggests that PHEVs will remain essential to the transition to an all-electric future.

PHEVs in Volkswagen’s future

Volkswagen Golf GTE New Zealand

The EV revolution has hit a temporary hiccup as consumer enthusiasm wanes, a trend not predicted by many automakers.

In response to this, Volkswagen, among others, is revising its strategy. “We still need this transition technology,” Schäfer said in a recent interview with Coachnoting that “battery-electric propulsion is plateauing a bit at the moment.”

This observation comes at a time when hybrids, previously considered an entry-level technology that would soon be obsolete, are experiencing a resurgence in demand. “Over the past six months, suddenly everyone wants hybrids,” Schäfer noted, reflecting a significant shift in market dynamics.

VW’s hybrid commitment

Volkswagen GTE New Zealand

Amid changing consumer preferences, Schäfer expressed relief that VW had chosen to maintain production of plug-in hybrid versions of popular models such as the Golf.

While the future of automotive technology is definitely electric, the role of PHEVs is now being seen as more than just transitional as VW moves down this path. It is expected that these vehicles will co-exist alongside fully electric models in the near future.

Schäfer’s comments suggest a strategic two-pronged approach where PHEVs will continue to receive updates, particularly improvements to their electric-only range, ensuring their viability and appeal in the meantime.

Selective electrification

Volkswagen Golf GTE New Zealand

VW’s strategy indicates a pragmatic approach to the rollout of hybrid technology. Schäfer emphasized that there is no need to integrate PHEVs “into every single model and in every single region.”

This targeted strategy suggests that VW will concentrate its PHEV offering on high-volume models and specific markets that are not yet ready to fully transition to battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

This selective strategy also allows VW to allocate resources efficiently while continuing to innovate in hybrid technology, allowing for a seamless transition when a market is ready to fully embrace electric vehicles.

As the industrial landscape continues to evolve, VW’s balanced approach to integrating both PHEVs and EVs into its plans reflects a broader industry trend: the path to electrification is not linear and requires a flexible approach.