Report: VW looking to build battery plant, electric car platform for larger cars

As it tries to dig itself out of the diesel scandal, Volkswagen is paying more attention to electric cars.

The German automaker has already discussed an all-electric version of the next Phaeton, and a dedicated platform for small electric cars called MEB.

Now it seems there are other VW electric-car developments afoot, including a possible new battery plant and a second electric car platform for larger cars. The plant hasn’t been approved yet, but would cost billions of euros if built, according to German business newspaper Handelsblatt. The aim would be to allow VW to operate independent of battery suppliers like Panasonic, Samsung, and LG, and help the company further develop battery technology.

Decision on battery plant coming in June

VW’s non-executive supervisory board will consider the battery-factory plan during the company’s annual meeting June 22. The plan is already approved in principle by the German state of Lower Saxony, VW’s largest shareholder, according to Handelsblatt.

At the same time, VW is also considering a second dedicated platform for electric cars, according to Automotive News (subscription required). This will likely be needed for the all-electric Phaeton the company has said it will build by 2020. However, VW won’t pull the trigger on a second electric car platform just yet, as there is talk of simply using the MEB platform designed for compact cars as the basis of even the next Phaeton.

Some VW officials believe the MEB platform could be stretched to accommodate the Phaeton, or that the new version could be made smaller than the previous-generation model that ended production in March. That model was withdrawn from the U.S. midway through the last decade. The MEB was first shown in VW’s Budd-e concept from earlier this year.

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