Volkswagen AG is modifying its plan for smaller models – previously packed with diesel powertrains – saying it will move toward more electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The strategy was developed in a special meeting with the newly-formed Volkswagen Brand Board of Management, and announced this week by CEO Dr. Herbert Diess.

“The Volkswagen brand is repositioning itself for the future,” Diess said. “We are becoming more efficient, we are giving our product range and our core technologies a new focus, and we are creating room for forward-looking technologies by speeding up the efficiency program.”

Included in Volkswagen’s new direction is a distinct approach for each of its diesel, electric and plug-in powertrains.


For European and North American markets, Volkswagen said it is reorienting “the diesel strategy with the most advanced technologies.” This means every diesel drivetrain will include a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) catalytic converter and the urea-based AdBlue (both explained in the video below).

“Diesel vehicles will only be equipped with exhaust emissions systems that use the best environmental technology,” added Volkswagen.

Battery Electric:

The new strategy will also include “the development of a standardized electric architecture for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles,” Volkswagen said. For its electric vehicles, the company is targeting a range between 155 and 310 miles.

“This will be a multi-brand toolkit suitable for both passenger cars and light commercial vehicles and will thus leverage synergies from other electric vehicle projects in the Group,” detailed the company. “The standardized system will be designed for all body structures and vehicle types, thus allowing particularly emotional vehicle concepts, and will enable an all-electric range of 250 to 500 kilometers.”

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The Volkswagen Phaeton – a luxury sedan previously powered by a W12 gasoline engine – is currently marked to receive this new electric setup.

“The future generation of the Phaeton will once again be the flagship for the brand’s profile over the next decade,” Volkswagen said. It will feature “a pure electric drive with long-distance capability, connectivity and next-generation assistance systems as well as an emotional design.”

Plug-In Hybrid:

The restructured plan also looks to improve upon Volkswagen’s plug-in hybrids.

“The focus is on plug-in hybrids with an even greater range, high-volume electric vehicles with a radius of up to 300 kilometers [186 miles], a 48-volt power supply system (mild hybrid) as well as ever more efficient diesel, petrol and CNG concepts,” outlined Volkswagen.

Volkswagen said it is “accelerating” this new plan, but didn’t offer firm dates on when the changes would be implemented or when the battery-electric Phaeton might emerge.