BMW displays its new energy vehicle i8 at the third China International Import Expo in Shanghai. The automaker said that it intends for 50 percent of its sales to be generated by electric vehicles by 2030.

Major manufacturers increasingly shifting to new energy as combustion is on the way out

Volkswagen’s announcement last week that it intends to more than double its electric vehicle sales in 2021, speaks to a wider trend in the auto industry of faster-than-expected electrification, with many major manufacturers’ reducing the time frame for which they intend to achieve their goals.

The German auto group’s electric vehicles sales more than tripled last year to 231,600 units.

The speeding up of electrification in the auto industry is backed with confidence in the stock market. Volkswagen’s shares soared upon its announcement on Tuesday, with the company releasing a statement saying that intends to become the global leader in electric vehicles.

Stephan Woellenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Group China, said on Tuesday that by 2025, its plants in China will be capable of producing 1.1 million electric Volkswagen and Audi vehicles a year.

The carmaker will have also built 17,000 charging pillars in the country by then.

Volkswagen expects to sell 1 million electric vehicles across the globe this year, 150,000 of which will be sold in China.

Audi and luxury car brand Bentley, both owned by Volkswagen Group, have also announced accelerated electrification targets.

Bentley Motors has said that by 2026 it will only produce hybrid or electric models, and Audi has stopped development on all new combustion engines.

A day after Volkswagen’s announcement last week, fellow German automaker BMW Group said that it intends for 50 percent of its sales to be generated by electric vehicles by 2030. Despite the fact that electrification is developing at a higher speed according to BMW Chairman Oliver Zipse, the group has fallen short of completely phasing out combustion engines by a specific date.

According to BMW, it aims to sell 2 million electric vehicles by 2025, and it expects sales to continue to grow at a rate of more than 50 percent per year over the next few years.

The group’s MINI brand will launch its last gasoline model in 2025 and become fully electric by 2030, BMW also announced last week.

In China, electric MINI vehicles will roll off the assembly line at BMW’s joint venture with Great Wall Motors in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, from 2023. The brand is already manufacturing electric vehicles in the United Kingdom.

BMW Group even intends for its luxury Rolls-Royce brand to become fully electric, though it has not specified a date yet.

Earlier this month, Swedish car brand Volvo, which is owned by China’s Geely, announced its plans to become fully electric by 2030.

Volvo said it will phase out any car in its global portfolio with an internal combustion engine, including hybrids, by 2030. It estimates that 50 percent of its global sales will be electric cars by 2025, which is only four short years away.

The ramping up of the electrification push from major manufacturers comes on the back of a stronger demand for electric cars this year, a belief that infrastructure is continually improving, and that the market for combustion engine cars is a shrinking one, according to Volvo.

Late last month, British premium marque Jaguar Land Rover announced that it will become carbon neutral by 2039.

The Land Rover brand lags slightly behind Jaguar in terms of electric roll out and is also pursuing hydrogen fuel cell technology. Its first all-electric model will come in 2024, followed by six pure-electric models in total. By 2030, Land Rover says 60 percent of its sales will be electric.

It’s not just major players in Europe that are leading the electrification charge, with carmakers across the global rapidly pursuing zero-emissions strategies to meet carbon dioxide emission targets.

In the United States, General Motors said it aims to have an all zero-emissions lineup by 2035 and is investing $27 billion to speed up the process. It plans to introduce 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025.

Another US carmaker Ford Motor said its lineup in Europe will be fully electric by 2030. Ford intends to spend $1 billion to revamp a factory in Cologne, Germany. The first production vehicle from the factory is expected by 2023.