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Volkswagen expands e-mobility engagement in China

Volkswagen will establish an R&D centre alongside SEAT and JAC

Volkswagen Group China has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Corp. (JAC) and SEAT in Berlin, in the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

The three groups will together establish a new R&D centre with a focus on developing electric vehicles, connectivity and autonomous driving technologies, as well as a competitive platform for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), specifically tailored to the Chinese market, including relevant parts and components and core technologies, with completion planned for 2021.

Under the MoU, SEAT will become a shareholder in JAC Volkswagen, through either a capital increase of JAC Volkswagen or a share transfer from Volkswagen Group China. The SEAT brand will be introduced to China by 2020/2021.

The move is a significant step in reinforcing Sino-German cooperation, as well as supporting Volkswagen Group China’s drive to be a leader in e-mobility.

“Electrified cars are the future of mobility and China is at the forefront of developing sustainable e-mobility solutions,” said Dr. Jochem Heizmann, member of the board of management of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft as well as president and CEO of Volkswagen Group China.

“We are proud to have the opportunity to further collaborate with a trusted partner in developing e-mobility technologies. It represents another major step in Volkswagen Group’s overall China strategy.”

The meeting between the German president and Chinese premier has seen a number of deals signed related to e-mobility. BMW signed a deal with Chinese battery maker CATL to buy 4 billion euros of batteries, with plans to sign a contract to build a battery factory in Germany during the meeting between the heads of state.

BMW will also sign a joint venture agreement with Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor to produce MINIs in China.

The MoU signed with JAC and SEAT will play a key role in Volkswagen Group’s e-mobility plans for China, in order to meet the demands of Chinese customers.

In addition, the joint venture will launch a competitive BEV platform based on the technological resources of the three parties, so as to provide customers with an even wider choice of vehicles across all segments, both in China and globally.

Through the comprehensive electrification initiative ‘Roadmap E’, together with the strong efforts and contributions from JAC Volkswagen, FAW-Volkswagen, SAIC Volkswagen and Volkswagen Group China will lead the way in the development of e-mobility, with the introduction of 40 locally-produced models to the market within the next seven to eight years.

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