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Volkswagen secures batteries for 50 million EVs

by Justin King

CEO Herbert Diess says there is "huge momentum coming" in the EV segment.

Volkswagen has apparently secured supply contracts for enough batteries to power 50 million electric vehicles.

Speaking to Automotive News, CEO Herbert Diess says the German automaker has mostly overcome the diesel emissions scandal and is now focused on becoming the strongest player in the electric vehicle market.

"The platform is already booked for 50 million electric cars,"he said. "We have sourced the batteries for 50 million electric cars, so this is a huge momentum coming, and probably from a volume piece, I think we have the best setup strategy for the electric vehicles to come."

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in 2014 forecast the need for "200 Gigafactories" to supply enough batteries to meet demand in the automotive industry alone. Years before the Model 3 hit the market, the company was already in talks with mining companies to secure enough raw materials for hundreds of thousands of EVs rolling off the assembly line in years to come.

Several unconfirmed reports suggest Volkswagen is attempting to undercut Tesla by offering an electric vehicle for little more than $20,000. Such an offering is unlikely in the near term, however, unless the German automaker is willing to sell cars at a loss or simply plans to sell a shorter-range EV that does not directly compete with the Tesla Model 3.

VW's MEB platform architecture has been designed specifically for electric vehicles. The first MEB-based car will be a Golf-like hatchback slated for 2020, with a range of 249 to 373 miles according to EU test cycles.

The MEB platform may eventually be shared with other automakers, though Diess cautions that such tie-ups are unlikely in the near-term until battery supply volume grows large enough to accommodate more EVs than VW plans to build under its own brands.