Der neue Volkswagen e-Golf

It appears that in a push to produce more electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids – an effort to repair a public image battered by its diesel emissions cheating scandal – Volkswagen is mulling the construction of a new battery plant, according to a Reuters report.

The news agency quoted German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, in which Volkswagen CEO Matthias Müller said that such a move would help support plans to build more zero-emissions vehicles. Currently, Volkswagen, like many other EV manufacturers, relies on external suppliers to build its batteries.

“If more than a quarter of our cars are to be electronic vehicles in the foreseeable future then we are going to need approximately 3 million batteries a year,” Müller said. “Then it makes sense to build our own factory.”

The company’s management promised to create 9,000 new jobs in the field of battery production and mobility services at its German plants, as it works to shift its focus towards electric and autonomous vehicles. This comes after the main VW brand announced on Friday to cut 30,000 jobs globally as part of an agreement with its labour unions, in exchange for a commitment to avoid forced redundencies in Germany until 2025.

matthias muller 1

Also in the FAS report, Müller said that Volkswagen has been in discussions with ride-hailing service Uber regarding a potential collaboration. He added, however, that the company would not be content with being just a supplier, saying that it would want to take the reigns of the operation.

“They [Uber] saw us more in the role of a supplier. But we said: ‘Okay guys, this is a contest which we are happy to take on. We will remain in command,'” Müller said.

The company’s possible tie-up with Uber is part of a greater movement on the part of automakers, which are building EVs and are moving beyond the business of just selling cars, and into the world of alternative transportation such as ride-hailing or car sharing.

Lastly, Müller confirmed that Volkswagen has put aside €18 billion (RM84.3 billion) in an effort to cope with the fallout of ‘dieselgate.’ Meanwhile, a company spokesperson said that it does not expect the German government to make tax demands in order to cover any revenue losses stemming from the scandal.