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Volkswagen to spend $50 billion on electric car 'offensive'

German automaker Volkswagen said Friday it will spend tens of billions of dollars refocusing the company on the making of electric cars, autonomous vehicles and new mobility services.

The Wolfsburg-based manufacturer, which plans to have some of the new offering in the market by 2023, said the 44-billion euros ($50 billion) investment in what CEO Herbert Diess describes as an "electric offensive," includes an imminent partnership with US carmaker Ford Motor.

Both companies are fine-tuning details on a deal to jointly make a range of light commercial vehicles, and Dess hopes the agreement will be ready before the end of the year.

Collaboration between the two firms is viewed as a path to significant savings on research and development while at the same time delivering big revenue.

Ford makes about 40% of all full-size pickups sold in the US, while VW sells almost 15% of the vehicles purchased in China, the world’s largest auto market.

"Volkswagen must become more efficient, more productive and more profitable in order to finance the high expenditure in the future and in order to stay competitive," Diess said during the press conference.

He noted that Volkswagen was also "seriously considering involvement in battery production."

One million e-cars

VW has been actively promoting electric push by creating global production capacities for the construction of 1 million electric cars. On Wednesday, it announced it was converting three of its plants in Germany to build electric cars, ramping up production of zero-local emission cars ahead of tougher European emissions standards.

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