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Volkswagen reveals China-built EV concept

BEIJING – As one of the first previews of the future Volkswage’s strategy for e-mobility on the Chinese market, the E-Lavida Concept made its debut at Auto China 2010. The concept is the company’s first electric car that was completely designed and built in China. 

Based on a Golf MKIV platform, the Volkswagen E-Lavida is powered by an electric motor installed at the front of the vehicle and lithium batteries. The concept has a peak speed of 130 km/h and a peak torque of 270 Nm, according to a company statement. It can run up to 150 kilometers on one charge. 

Volkswagen says fundamental production preparation for the E-Lavida has been made but the specific launch date has not been set. With the launch of the model, the company expects to introduce other electric vehicle models such as E-Golf and E-Jetta by 2013, according to media reports.

The German automaker is said to have decided to choose China as the place to not only introduce their electric vehicle, but to launch an e-mobility program, among many available markets.

“The Volkswagen Group has its global strategy for the development of e-mobility launched in March this year and will soon begin mass production in e-mobility,” said Martin Winterkorn, chairman of the board of Volkswagen AG, at the auto show. “The heart of the brand will soon also beat electric. Our goal is market leadership in the e-mobility in 2018. China is the world’s most important market for the Volkswagen Group, and the success of e-mobility in China is crucial to the global implementation of e-mobility strategy.”

“The e-mobility strategy for China is perfectly tailored to local needs. Volkswagen will provide its entire BlueMotion technology to the two Chinese joint ventures for local production,” said Winfried Vahland, CEO of Volkswagen Group China.

Volkswagen gathered all its six sub-brands, namely Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti, within a single exhibition hall at the auto show. The Volkswagen Phaeton and Audi A8L made their global premiere, while the locally produced Volkswagen CC and revamped Skoda Octavia made their China debut. Other green vehicle models on display included the new Toureg Hybrid, Audi e-tron and the Audi A8 Hybrid.

In view of the dynamic development of the Chinese automobile market, Volkswagen announced on April 26 that the company had added €1.6 billion to its current investment program for China. Among other things, the additional funds are to be used for facilities at two new locations. Last year, Volkswagen decided to invest €4.4 billion in the Group’s activities in China. With the new total of €6 billion, the Group intends to maintain and reinforce its leading position in one of the key sales markets of the automobile industry, according to a company statement.

In 2010, the Volkswagen Group will be launching a total of seven new or updated models produced locally for the Chinese market. Of these, the new Volkswagen models Golf GTI and Tiguan LWB (long wheelbase) as well as the updated versions of the Jetta A2 and the Skoda Octavia already hit the road in the first quarter.

In the first three months of 2010, the Volkswagen Group delivered a total of 457,259 vehicles, up 60.9 percent year-on-year, to customers in mainland China and Hong Kong, according to a company statement.

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