It was only a matter of time.
One of the world's biggest and most famous automakers has confirmed it will cease combustion-engined passenger vehicle sales by 2035. Volkswagen board member for sales, Klaus Zellmer, told German newspaper Muenchner Merkur, via Reuters, the automaker will shift entirely to electric vehicles in Europe in 14 years' time.
"In Europe, we will exit the business with internal combustion vehicles between 2033 and 2035, in the United States and China somewhat later," he stated. "In South America and Africa, it will take a good deal longer due to the fact that the political and infrastructure framework conditions are still missing."
Although Zellmer didn't provide an exact date for the latter markets, VW intends to be fully carbon neutral by 2050, at the latest.
The battery-electric push in Europe is currently the main focus as VW hopes to for EVs to account for at least 70 percent of new vehicle sales by 2030. That's a pretty tall order considering the namesake VW brand currently only sells two EVs, the Volkswagen ID.4 and ID.4. Fellow VW Group brands Audi and Porsche also sell EVs, such as the e-tron SUV and Taycan, but those come with a high price tag. VW has been charged (no pun intended) with building affordable EVs for the masses.
But why is VW's EV push happening in Europe before the US? Because EU officials are imposing strict new emissions standards at a faster rate than other global governments and VW cannot afford not to comply.
It'd take a terrible publicity hit (remember Dieselgate?) along with getting slammed with numerous financial penalties for not meeting C02 limits. Ford acknowledged the same reality a few months ago when it announced it'll only sell EVs in Europe by 2030. It will soon begin a $1 billion plan to convert its Cologne, Germany factory into an EV-only facility.
General Motors aims to drop combustion-engined vehicles entirely by 2035 as well while Honda declared in April its own plans to drop gas-powered vehicles by 2040. Norway, meanwhile, aims to beat all countries, as well as California, to the EV-only punch by 2025.