Just weeks after GM announced it would be building electric motors for some of its future hybrids and electric vehicles in-house, Volkswagen has followed suit and announced it too will build its own electric powertrains.
The German automaker’s electric motors will span the entire Volkswagen Group, which means they will likely be used for the upcoming range of Audi e-tron cars as well. A new components organization will be set up to become the system supplier for electric technology.
Volkswagen will use its existing engine plant in Salzgitter, Germany to build the new electric motors, the first of which will appear in an all-electric version minicar previewed by 2009’s E-Up! concept car (pictured). While the regular Up-based minicar range is due for launch next year, the all-electric version isn’t expected to go on sale until 2013. The U.S. is among the list of countries expected to receive the car.
Research and development is currently taking place with Japanese firms Sanyo and Toshiba, as well as China’s BYD, but the first of Volkswagen’s electric vehicles will launch this summer. The vehicle is the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid and this is expected to be followed by an experimental fleet of electric Golf hatchbacks later in the year.
[Automotive News, sub req’d]