"We want to manufacture the powertrains for hybrid and pure electric cars on our own in order to master the technology and possibly have a competitive advantage," said VW board member Werner Neubauer, reports Auto Motor & Sport. The one thing that VW won't build, however, is the battery cell itself. That level of technology and the infrastructure required to build the batteries properly is apparently simply not feasible for internal production.
Other German companies and most of the U.S. companies delving into the world of hybrids outsource their production of the electrical portions of the drivetrain.
Volkswagen, in order to make its in-house production work globally, will likely have to build in-market facilities for hybrid technology in areas like the U.S. as well as Europe. In addition to the hybrid technology, the next-generation dual-clutch transmissions that they will use will also require local production, and VW is already considering that for North America, according to the report.
"We produce engines and gears ourselves worldwide and that is the case for North America too. We are examining a local production of state of the art dual clutch gears," Neubauer said. Whether that production will come at the company's existing Mexico site, or the planned Chattanooga, Tennessee site, is yet unknown, however. VW does have a planned $800-900 million investment in new production facilities on the table, with up to $4 billion total earmarked, so it could work in any number of ways.
VW announced earlier this year that it would be unveiling three new hybrids and an all-electric car, but recent reports have revealed that production of the Twin Drive plug-in hybrid system isn't expected until 2015 at the earliest, leaving only standard hybrid systems until then. Several concept vehicles, including the Golf TDI Hybrid and several variants of the up! concept car, have previewed what VW hopes to do with the technology, however.