In November 2009, Volkswagen announced it has hired Karl-Thomas Neumann as its group chief officer for electric traction. VW's Chief of research, Jürgen Leohold, said in 2010 the company has concluded hydrogen fuel-cell cars are not a viable option.
As of May 2016, the Volkswagen Group offers for retails customers nine plug-in electric cars, of which, three are all-electric cars: the Volkswagen e-Up!, e-Golf and Audi R8 e-tron, and six are plug-in hybrids: the Volkswagen Golf GTE, Passat GTE, Audi A3 Sportback e-tron, Q7 e-tron quattro, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid and Cayenne S E-Hybrid. Also two limited production plug-in hybrids were manufactured beginning in 2013, the Volkswagen XL1 (250 units) and the Porsche 918 Spyder (918 units). Total cumulative sales of all Volkswagen brand electrified cars since the start of their respective production is expected to reach about 103,000 by the end of 2016.
In order to comply with increasingly strict carbon dioxide emission limits in major markets, the VW Group expects to sell about one million all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles a year worldwide by 2025. The Group plans to expand its plug-in range with 20 new pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars, including two cars to compete with Tesla Motors, the Porsche Mission E all-electric car and the Audi e-tron quattro, which is expected to become the brand's first mass-production electric vehicle. According to Thomas Ulbrich, VW brand production chief, the carmaker has the capacity to build as many as 75,000 battery-electric and plug-in hybrids a year if demand rises. Volkswagen announced in October 2015 that "it will develop a modular architecture for battery-electric cars, called the MEB. The standardized system will be designed for all body structures and vehicle types and will allow the company to build emotionally appealing EVs with a range of up to 310 mi (500 km)." In June 2016, VW launched a program to develop 30 all-electric cars in 10 years, and sell 2–3 million electric cars per year by 2025. Due to lower manpower requirements for electric motors than for piston engines, VW expects a gradual workforce reduction as numbers of electric cars increase. VW considers battery factory ownership as too expensive.