Volkswagen boosts electric vehicle production by 50% with 22 million BEVs by 2029

Likening his company to a “supertanker…picking up speed,” CEO Herbert Diess said Tuesday that the automaker is increasing by 50 percent the number of electric vehicles it plans to produce over the next decade.

The goal is to build 22 million battery electric vehicles, or BEVs, over the next decade, up from a previous target of 15 million, he said. The move is widely expected to put a strain on the German automaker‘s bottom line. Profit margins on electrified vehicles are significantly below conventionally powered products with many all-electric models sold at a loss, according to industry analysts.

The announcement made by Diess during the automaker‘s annual news conference underscores the rapid shift in focus for a company long dependent on diesels. VW has been shifting away from so-called oil burners since acknowledging in 2015 that it rigged emissions tests on vehicles using several of its diesel engines.

The automaker has since paid more than $30 billion in fines and settlements. It has also seen a sharp decline in sales of diesel-powered products, the VW brand itself no longer offering them in the critical U.S. market. Electric vehicles are expected to pick up the slack.