• VW e-Golf Touch

VW e-Golf Touch (Photo : Getty )

Volkswagen has announced that it plans to build electric cars in North America by 2020. It is part of the German automaker's steps to recover from its emissions scandal that was discovered last year by university researchers and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States. A few hours after VW's announcement three US states reported they were filing lawsuits against the auto company for breaking environmental laws and trying to cover up the emissions cheating of lab-tested diesel cars.   

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VW told its plans to The Wall Street Journal on July 19, Tuesday. Before the car maker's scandal made world news last September, VW had announced it planned to launch 20 all-electric cars and plug-in hybrids by 2020, according to Tech Crunch

However, VW has not shared many details about its future electric vehicles (EVs).

Last month VW made a $14.7 million US settlement to pay for damages caused by its emissions scandal. That deal was made with US regulators, 44 states, and diesel car buyers.

The company already manufactures its e-Golf hatchback. However, boosting its EV fleet within the next half decade would show that the company is wholeheartedly trying to build green cars.  

Hinrich Woebcken is the head of Volkswagen's US division. He told the WSJ that the US will make a big move from gasoline engines to hybrids and e-cars. That is why it is investing a lot in EVs including ones made in North America.

VW's move would challenge Tesla's Model S and Model 3. It would be interesting because last year Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote an open letter to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) asking that VW speed up its EV development instead of repair diesel cars.   

In related news, Volkswagen's Audi hopes that one-quarter of its auto sales will be AVs by 2025, according to Reuters. It would cause the car brand to compete better with Tesla.

Sources who know Audi's future plans told Reuters the company will spend about one-third of its research and development budget on electric cars, autonomous driving, and digital services.  

The German carmaker sold 1.8 million cars in 2015. Meanwhile, Tesla believes it can sell half a billion EVs by 2020.

Here's VW's e-Golf Touch concept car: