VW is ready to offer 40 electric and hybrid models by 2018.

Not content with working towards becoming the world's largest automaker, Volkswagen has announced it intends to earn the distinction of being the world's largest manufacturer of electric and hybrid vehicles by the year 2018.

"We are starting at exactly the right time. We are electrifying all vehicle classes, and therefore have everything we need to make the Volkswagen Group the top automaker in all respects, including electric mobility, by 2018," affirmed Volkswagen CEO Dr. Martin Winterkorn on the sidelines of last week's Frankfurt Motor Show.

Winterkorn promises Volkswagen and sub-divisions like Audi, SEAT and Porsche will offer a total of 14 regular-production electric and hybrid models next year. How fast the group will roll out new vehicles beyond that largely depends on whether new car buyers adopt hybrid and electric technology as a viable alternative to the regular gasoline- and diesel-burning internal combustion engine, and how far governments in key markets around the world push gas mileage and CO2 emissions standards over the coming years.

"It is our customers who decide for themselves just how much e-mobility they want," explained Winterkorn. "The electric vehicle cannot be a compromise on wheels, it must convince customers in every respect."

If public demand picks up, the Volkswagen Group promises it is ready to offer up to 40 electric and hybrid vehicles by 2018.

Photo by Ronan Glon.