China is looking at electric vehicles as a key way to lower emissions and improve the country’s general environmental sustainability, and Volkswagen is teaming up with China state-owned car maker Anhui Jianghuai (JAC) to help fill that need.
The two car companies signed a memorandum of understanding today, effectively paving the way for them to create a new joint venture to develop battery-powered EVs to serve the Chinese market. The new company’s activities would include R&D, manufacturing, sales and “mobility services” (which could include EV taxi fleet operation). The end goal is to create zero emission personal transportation options, but there’s no timeline currently for when those might start to make it to actual consumers.
Since this is just an MoU to explore the possibility of a more formal partnership, it makes sense that the two companies wouldn’t be discussing timelines. The new arrangement would also add a new Chinese manufacturing partner to Volkswagen’s existing roster, which includes SAIC and FAW.
Volkswagen could’ve partnered with one of its existing automaker affiliates in the country, but adding a new partner might help it accelerate the pace at which it can expand its EV offerings. The German company has said it wants to create over 30 pure EVs over the course of the next decade, and expanding its partners could help it get to that target.