The rollout of Volkswagen’s (VW) electric vehicles has been delayed in Africa due to the pandemic. The flagship ID.3 is still available in other countries but, for the meantime, the launch will be held off and might diverge from the brand’s plan for electrification. This means that VW is likely to continue production of internal combustion engines for the next 30 years.
VW’s head of sales, Klaus Zellmer, confirmed in an interview with a German publication, Muenchner Merkur, that the brand’s European facilities will stop the manufacturing of combustion engines in the year 2035. Sadly, the reality for South Africa is that this may only come into effect around 2050. Hybrid engines will become a large part of local sales but full electrification may only be finalised at a later stage.
VW South Africa will still produce combustion engines
European divisions and African divisions are on a different timeline. Where VW Europe has set a hard deadline for electrification, Zellmer has indicated a more long term strategy for Africa, which is likely to have combustion engines for another three decades. VW has committed to achieving carbon-zero emissions in Africa by 2050.
By that time, combustion engines will be phased out, but many other vehicle brands in Africa may already offer electric alternatives. VW has confirmed that hybridisation will account for a larger share of its offerings in Africa before 2050, providing consumers with more environmentally-friendly options.
The challenge is keeping combustion engines current so that they can compete with software and technology of global brands that have moved to EVs. This agenda may be affected if there is a sharp increase in sales of EVs in Africa, but at this time, it is a more realistic goal.
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