VW spends billions more on electric cars in search for mass market

Last Updated: Mon, Sep 11, 2017 23:01 hrs
FILE PHOTO: An electric Volkswagen car is plugged into a recharging point in central London

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen is pushing full speed ahead with electric cars and will double investments in zero-emission autos to more than 20 billion euros ($24 billion) by 2030 as it seeks to challenge pioneer Tesla in creating a mass market.

The world's largest automaker by sales said on Monday it will roll out 80 new electric cars across its multi-brand group by 2025, up from a previous goal of 30, and wants to offer an electric version of each of its 300 group models by 2030.

Until Volkswagen (VW) admitted two years ago to cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests, the German group had been slow to embrace electric cars and self-driving technology.

But the "dieselgate" scandal has prompted a strategic shift at VW while major advances in battery technology and a global fight against pollution in the wake of VW's trickery have raised pressure on carmakers to speed up development of zero-emission alternatives.

"A company like Volkswagen must lead, not follow," Chief Executive Matthias Mueller told reporters on the eve of the Frankfurt auto show as he unveiled the group's so-called "roadmap E".

"We are setting the scene for the final breakthrough for e-mobility."

VW's so-called I.D. model will compete with Tesla's least expensive car, the new $35,000 base-price Model 3 sedan, for mass-market buyers.

($1 = 0.8351 euros)

(Reporting by Andreas Cremer)

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