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Volkswagen To Spend Over $40 Billion on Electric and Self-Driving Cars (reuters.com) 99

Volkswagen plans to spend more than 34 billion euros ($40 billion) over the next five years on developing electric cars, autonomous driving and other new technologies, it said on Friday. "With the planning round now approved, we are laying the foundation for making Volkswagen the world's number one player in electric mobility by 2025," Chief Executive Matthias Mueller said in a statement.
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Volkswagen To Spend Over $40 Billion on Electric and Self-Driving Cars

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I took a *serious* look at the e-Golf last month. The only problem is that it has a 201 km range and the cottage is 250 km (like, within 10m of that number).There's a CCS on the route, but it's too close to the start point to be really useful, and there's not a lot of places in the middle to add one. So for me, something with 300 km range is pretty much a requirement.

    The deal is pretty spectacular. Here in Ontario you get $14,000 back for buying an EV, and if you put in a Level 2 charger all your night time

    • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @12:19PM (#55570485)

      I have a 2015 eGolf - it has a remote that reports battery status (amongst other things).

      It is indeed an almost perfect car - my lease is about to expire, and I'm seriously considering another one despite its range being roughly half that of the Bolt.

      • The 2018 version is apparently 300km range. How was the range on your eGolf? I'm looking at a 2018 version.
        • My 2015 model has a range of 83 miles using the US tests or 118 miles based of NEDC. My 2015 model has never achieved more than 110 miles on a single charge even with the most careful 35 mph constant speed driving, its usual range, when not deliberately driving very carefully is around 80 miles for my commute (mostly freeway driving).

          Long story short - the NEDC tests are not accurate, the US ones (at least in my experience) are pretty similar to reality. Based off the the US's testing, the 2018 eGolf has

          • I couldn't stand the fit and finish on the Chevy vehicles. My friend also has a Leaf, I felt it was uncomfortable.
    • Just take a *serious* look at Bolt EV. It's a little bit more expensive, but has 238 miles range and 6.5 seconds for 0-60mph. Have it for 4 months and like it a lot!
      • How long does a charge take? Because I'd have to charge it twice on the road to reach my parents' house. And I really wouldn't want a ten hour trip turned into a two day trip....
        • by enjar ( 249223 )
          On fast charging, Chevy claims 90 miles added in 30 minutes. https://www.chevyevlife.com/bo... [chevyevlife.com] FWIW, I have a Volt. The battery covers my general commute needs, and the gas engine is used for occasional longer trips. I filled up recently and my "MPG" was over 300. The "fast charging" on the Volt involves putting about 8 gallons of gas in it, and you can drive in hybrid mode as long as you can find gas stations, about 300 miles between fill-ups, getting 40 MPG on the highway.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Rei ( 128717 )

            I just don't understand why someone would choose a Bolt unless they were either really opposed to waiting, or really hated minimalism. For example, you mention charge time; Model 3 charges 2 1/2 times faster than that. With a global charging network, single network, evenly spaced, well monitored and maintained (unlike CCS which is... well, not). With an onboard capability even faster for when charger powers rise. And on Bolt, even that level of fast charging is an optional extra. The interior is Fisher-

            • First of all model 3 is still practically not in production. I did not want to wait another 2 years or so. You are right about Chevy customer satisfaction in general, but not about the Bolt. It's a different picture. Most of the owners at online forums are enjoying this car. Model 3 price will be realistically more than 50K if you like to add all cool features, plus Tesla may soon reach 200K sales and federal tux break will be questionable... Bolt's performance is more then adequate for me - 0-60 in 6 se
            • The Bolt is a real product. You can buy one now and drive it home the same day. That's an advantage for people who live in the real world.
            • I don't like the look of Teslas. The front is the bit that bothers me, specifically the logo/grill area. It looks like the maitre d in Ferris Butler's Day Off...all snooty-nosed...ugly even.

    • by antek9 ( 305362 )

      The only problem is that it has a 201 km range and the cottage is 250 km (like, within 10m of that number).

      Beware. You should NEVER ever confuse a spec number with real world mileage, especially not from a company like Volkswagen (and I'm from Germany, trust me). You will only get that range out of the car under optimal conditions, in maybe late spring / early summer, with no interior heating or AC running, no headlights drawing power, and so on.

      My imagination fails me when I try to picture the actual range you'll get in wintertime. In Canada? During our mild European winters, the effective range of a Nissan Le

  • VW Auto Group is one of the world's largest automakers, maybe the largest depending on how you count. They were in a unique position to make this happen, but not bothering to do so because they were profiting from business as usual. Now they're going balls-out into EVs in order to try to shake that reputation, which will benefit everyone.

    • by slick7 ( 1703596 )

      VW Auto Group is one of the world's largest automakers, maybe the largest depending on how you count. They were in a unique position to make this happen, but not bothering to do so because they were profiting from business as usual. Now they're going balls-out into EVs in order to try to shake that reputation, which will benefit everyone.

      I believe VW's products are amazing, however, their business ethics, imho, are borderline criminal; unfortunately on the wrong side of that borderline.

  • It is startling how they have been plunging headfirst into electric. While they did cheat with diesel engines, they have huge expertise in that field, and the cheating was for cost and NIH reasons (they didn't want to use MB's SCR tech), not technical. I'd have thought they'd use mild or full hybridization, or even just more advanced actually clean diesels, at least as a transition.

    • I'd have thought they'd use mild or full hybridization, or even just more advanced actually clean diesels, at least as a transition.

      They are. The new A8 is a mild hybrid. The luxury market can pay for the new tech, which will filter into the majority of their vehicles before any of these EVs come out. They're probably waiting until more of the car can affordably be 48V, which in turn reduces the size of the 12V system.

    • I'd have thought they'd use mild or full hybridization, or even just more advanced actually clean diesels, at least as a transition.

      NOBODY will believe VW when they announce they've got a new, clean diesel. In addition, European countries are announcing future, across-the-board bans on diesels, because the soot they produce is so damaging to health and structures. There's no future in diesel cars, and spending any more money on developing a BETTER dead-end technology is foolish. You might as well tell Ko

  • I'd prefer that they spent a few billions on the people they defrauded and also spend lots of years in jail.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'd prefer that they spent a few billions on the people they defrauded and also spend lots of years in jail.

      Yeah let's close a few factories and throw a few thousand workers off their jobs so you can feel some vengeance

    • by enjar ( 249223 )
      Did you miss the part where the costs of the recall / remediation were more than $30B or more? http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/2... [cnn.com]
    • by slick7 ( 1703596 )

      I'd prefer that they spent a few billions on the people they defrauded and also spend lots of years in jail.

      ...spend lots of decades in jail. FTFY.
      They should return all the money they cheated people of, plus 20% for the aggravation caused.

  • Cars of the future (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Arzaboa ( 2804779 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @12:33PM (#55570609)

    Electric cars are quick, efficient and quiet. Imagine NYC if the sound of engines were taken away. Imagine a small 40,000 person community. Imagine the tangible differences; less smog, less noise. This is a great solution for people that live in urban areas. I think people will find the ease of use, the different feel of being so quiet, and how little maintenance has to be done so appealing that it is going to become irresistible to almost anyone buying a new car, relatively soon.

    --
    "Life is a journey. When we stop, things don't go right." - Pope Francis

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      Don't worry, humanity is working hard to screw it up yet.

      New laws require all electric vehicles to include noisemakers which could potentially make them LOUDER than modern internal combustion vehicles (I wish I was joking!)
      And most announced "electric" vehicles by all manufacturers (including VW) aren't actually electric anyway and are only hybrids.

      • New laws require all electric vehicles to include noisemakers which could potentially make them LOUDER than modern internal combustion vehicles (I wish I was joking!)

        My first thought was "he's joking, right?"

        My second was "better verify this".

        My third was "Jaysus, he's not joking". Though it's not quite correct. Only electrics built after 2019 will require the noisemakers....

        • by green1 ( 322787 )

          google "red flag laws" while you're at it. It's exactly the same motivation. This has zero to do with safety, and everything to do with resistance to change.

        • It's not required until 2019, but most of the EVs (and hybrids operating in electric-only mode) already have it. That electric whine with a high pitched overtone you hear from them at low speeds? It's not from the motor. It's just sound played through a speaker.

          The noise is added so blind and inattentive pedestrians are aware that there's a moving car nearby. NHTSA noticed an uptick in low-speed accidents between hybrids/EVs and pedestrians, so jumped on a way to stop it before it became epidemic.
          • by green1 ( 322787 )

            There was actually no up-tick, and modern internal combustion cars are actually quieter than these vehicles, so the concept of it being for "safety" is easily disproven.

          • I used to be a bike commuter in SoCal. Too many Prius roll up on you to cut in front for a right turn (while you are in bike lane legally); you can't hear them coming so as to evade or protect yourself. I had so many close call - one reason I quit biking from the train station. I always thought those things should have some kind of engine-noise required for safety reasons.
        • In many languages-other-than-English, the "J" is actually a "Y" sound, that is how we got from Yahshuah to Jesus and from YWYH to Jehovah -- see http://www.bing.com/videos/sea... [bing.com]

      • New laws require all electric vehicles to include noisemakers which could potentially make them LOUDER than modern internal combustion vehicles (I wish I was joking!)

        Only at low speed, where the sound might actually be a useful warning to pedestrians. Once the speed gets over 20 mph or so, the vehicle is moving fast enough that it would have to be really loud for a pedestrian to hear it at a useful distance.

        The Nissan LEAF has always had such a noisemaker. It shuts off at about 20 mph.

    • Imagine NYC if the sound of engines were taken away.

      Engines only contribute about 1/3rd of the noise of a vehicle. Air being pushed out from between the wheels and pavement counts for most of the rest. EVs will help a bit, but wont fix the problem.

    • Imagine NYC if the sound of engines were taken away.

      Horns and angry shouting over the sound of a background drone will just be replaced with horns and angry shouting?

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Electric cars are quick, efficient and quiet. Imagine NYC if the sound of engines were taken away.

      Are traffic problems not bad enough in NYC already? All it takes is for a few of those cars to run out of power per day.

      The other week I was stuck on the A327 because an electric car (a Tesla no less) had run out of power. The A327 is mostly single lane each way so at peak hour there are practically no chances to overtake (and the Tesla driver refused to push his precious car off the road whilst waiting for recovery) I was relatively close but delayed by almost an hour. Not sure how many carbons my 3L tu

  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @12:33PM (#55570615) Homepage Journal

    In software development, it's called vaporware if you're announcing how great the shit is that you're going to develop. VW is behind the pack at the moment, that's why they're blabbering about this, in my opinion.

    Right now, I'm driving a Renault Zoe. This is an extremely practical car. The NEDC range is 400 km (250 miles), which realistically is 275 km (170 miles). VW is getting closer, but AFAIK right now does not have anything like that.

    • by green1 ( 322787 )

      VW isn't "behind the pack" they're behind a couple of early technology leaders. VW is actually at the front of the "pack" of major manufacturers who are still WAY behind the curve on electrification.

      That said, it's absolutely pathetic that nearly 10 years after Tesla announced the Model S that there still isn't a single competitor to that vehicle. (And how I wish there was, I'm sick of Tesla's slimy unethical behaviour!)

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        VW isn't "behind the pack" they're behind a couple of early technology leaders. VW is actually at the front of the "pack" of major manufacturers who are still WAY behind the curve on electrification.

        That said, it's absolutely pathetic that nearly 10 years after Tesla announced the Model S that there still isn't a single competitor to that vehicle. (And how I wish there was, I'm sick of Tesla's slimy unethical behaviour!)

        Not really, VW is about average at best, probably a bit worse than Renault or GM.

        BMW is ostensibly at the head of the pack because they've been selling dedicated electric cars (i3 and i8) as well as hybrid versions of their existing cars (I.E. a 330e plug in hybrid) in good numbers. After that you've got Toyota and probably Mitsubishi with their PHEV range.

        The problem VW has is that when Toyota was developing petrol hybrids, VW sank all of its money into Diesels which seemed like a good idea given the

        • by green1 ( 322787 )

          The i8 isn't a "dedicated electric car" it's a hybrid. You can't buy one without a gasoline engine, or with a battery pack big enough to do anything at all. The i3 is a different matter of course, but I would bet the majority of those are hybrid as well (they sell both hybrid and ev versions)
          As for Toyota, their ev efforts have been the epitome of "compliance". And while Mitsubishi technically has the imiev, it's hardly been a blockbuster hit. Meanwhile Volkswagen's egolf actually gets really good reviews.

          V

  • Sadly, most of the VW models sold in North America are made in Mexico. For obvious reasons, VW doesn't publicize that fact.
    • Why is this sad?
    • by enjar ( 249223 )
      So, like every other large automaker, they have a worldwide collection of production facilities? In other news, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes, BMW, GM, Ford, Chrysler/Fiat, Mazda, Subaru, etc. have been making cars outside their "home country" for decades. They even sometimes use each other's suppliers for parts, and sometimes they assemble major components in one place and do final assembly elsewhere. Shocking, I know. But look under the hood and at the names on electrical components and OEM parts, you m
      • Well if you were given the choice of a German vehicle made in Germany or one made in Alabama or Mexico which would you take? None of them makes their top models in Mexico, only the cheaper ones. Mexico=Crap.
    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      Sadly, most of the VW models sold in North America are made in Mexico. For obvious reasons, VW doesn't publicize that fact.

      Dont worry, the ones made in Germany are just as crappy.

      Besides, the whole "made in" is a misnomer these days, parts come in from all over the world and are just assembled in the final location. In fact the "Golf" is made in several locations, Spain as the Seat Leon, Czech Republic as the Skoda Octavia, all the same parts, just a different final assembly location.

      Very few cars are made woe to go in the same country, most of these are hyper expensive (think McLaren expensive). I've had Japanese cars wi

      • Perhaps you're right, since most cars are made by robots and automated machinery anyways these days what difference is it what country they come from. It's nothing new, even Harley-Davidson motorcycles have had Japanese electronics going back to the 70s. But Mexico?
        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          Perhaps you're right, since most cars are made by robots and automated machinery anyways these days what difference is it what country they come from. It's nothing new, even Harley-Davidson motorcycles have had Japanese electronics going back to the 70s. But Mexico?

          I think it matters a little, but not as much as it used to. Although manufacturing is largely automated, process is still human designed and controlled. Things like QA/QC, although the Japanese have successfully run factories in Thailand for years now without a huge problem. As long as VW, GM, et al. are running the Mexico plants right, there shouldn't be an appreciable drop in quality. IIRC, dont VW make the Golf in Mexico because of tariffs on German cars? Same with VM assembling Korean cars in CKD form (

          • These days the game seems to be what can you do with your Siemens NX or Solidworks software. Between that and over regulation is why cars now all have a similar appearance. Quality in general seems to be better but there are no new cars that wow me. They all seem way overly complex. The first car I bought as a teenager to fix up was a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge for $1000. in 1980. The world certainly has changed a lot since then.
  • Good! It will get that diesel stench off the road!
    • I have a VW Touareg TDI subject to the recall. I'm extremely sensitive to the diesel stench. When I'm on the freeway, I can usually tell when there's an old diesel Mercedes a quarter mile ahead simply by the smell. And I cannot ride on most diesel boats because the smell gives me a headache. I have never gotten that smell from the Touareg. In fact except for the 'D' in TDI, almost nobody has even noticed that it's a diesel.

      I bought it for towing, and was surprised at how fuel efficient it is. This
      • Actually NOx emissions form, due to high air compression ratios with high temps. And diesel engines must have high air compression ratios to ignite the diesel vapor... In cars, smog is why they lowered the compression ratios after the early 1970's, They did this in gas powered vehicles, to reduce smog levels in the air from Nitrous Oxide emissions. And they lost horsepower.., It's very true that they now discovered diesel fumes can even effect the minds and mood.. And the soot is very carcinogenic. (Gasol
        • To condense your comment. NOx is generated any time you have a high pressure, high temperature environment in air. It actually doesn't have anything to do with the fuel being burned as it's a natural reaction at those conditions between the nitrogen and oxygen in the air. But diesel engines by their very nature need higher pressures and higher temperatures to ignite the diesel. This means any air passing through the engine is going to generate NOx at much higher rates than gasoline.

          You can scrub NOx in a ca

  • Electric and self driving cars are definitely a good area to be in. My guess is silicon valley will pave the way and the automobile industry will just buy them out at some point and market into their existing vehicles.
  • Will these cars be rated to run 1,000 miles on a single standard D-Cell battery based on Volkswagon engineer testing?

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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