Volkswagen has given its clearest time-frame yet on its plans to switch to pure-electric vehicles by announcing that it will introduce its final generation of combustion engine platform in 2026.

The German brand’s chief of strategy, Michael Jost, told an industry conference at VW’s headquarters, “In the year 2026 will be the last product start on a combustion engine platform.” That year would tally with the rough launch date of the Mk9 Golf, based upon the Mk8’s likely arrival in 2019 and the usual seven-year model cycle.

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If VW were to introduce its last combustion engine-based platform in 2026, it could conceivably produce cars on it for at least a further decade. But it would be unlikely to last until 2040 – beyond which point VW’s cars would be all electrically driven.

Following the diesel-emissions cheating scandal in 2015, for which Volkswagen was fined 27 billion Euros, the German car manufacturer made a shift towards battery-driven powertrains. Volkswagen now offers electric versions of its Golf and Up!, and it has bold plans to release a range of pure-electric models, spun off a series of I.D.-badged concepts. The first of these cars, a Golf-sized hatchback, is likely to make its public debut before the end of 2019.

Volkswagen will continue to adapt its current petrol and diesel engined cars to meet environmental standards until the new platform arrives in 2026, by adding hybrid systems to lower emissions and increase fuel economy. Both the current Passat and Golf can be specced with plug-in hybrid systems, both with claimed emissions ratings of around 40g/km of C02 and economy figures of 156.9mpg.

Jost said Volkswagen is now committed to radical steps to stop global warming. Jost added that the company will change its car development methods to also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the production of its cars.

What are your thoughts on Volkswagen’s decision to eventually phase out its fossil-fuel powertrains? Let us know in the comments below…

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