As it tries to put the ongoing diesel-emissions scandal behind it, VW Group is focusing its future on electric cars.
The Volkswagen brand within the sprawling German company has developed an electric-car specific platform called MEB, and has shown multiple concepts based on it.
Those include the ID hatchback, and the ID Buzz and Budd-e, both homages to the classic VW Microbus.
The concepts are expected to preview an ID family of mass-market electric cars.
Now Volkswagen executives say the first of those cars will have to go into production by 2020.
That's because of impending European and Chinese carbon-dioxide reduction targets, reports Automotive News (subscription required).
Volkswagen I.D. electric car concept, 2016 Paris auto show
"It's a very tight time plan for 2020, but we need the cars then to comply with our fleet targets," Volkswagen brand boss Herbert Diess told analysts during a recent meeting at the automaker's headquarters in Wolfsburg.
He added that China "will be our volume base and scale base for all the electric vehicles we are doing."
VW has committed to selling about 400,000 so-called "New Energy Vehicles" in the country in 2020.
"New Energy Vehicle" is a term created by the Chinese government to encompass battery-electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars.
Volkswagen will sell a mix of battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
The automaker is expected to approve the final design for its first new mass-market electric car—a hatchback based on the ID concept—this August.
Volkswagen Budd-e Concept
That car will launch in 2019, with volume sales to start that year or in 2020.
Following that, an electric SUV will be launched in 2020. A concept debuting at the 2017 Shanghai Motor Show will preview that vehicle.
Finally, the Microbus-like ID Buzz is expected to transition into production by 2022.
CHECK OUT: VW plans to build electric cars somewhere in N America after 2020 (Dec 2016)
Diess said contracts to supply batteries for future electric cars have already been signed, and that VW is currently sourcing suppliers for onboard electronics.
Volkswagen has said it wants to sell 1 million electric cars per year by 2025, and that it will launch 30 different electric models across multiple brands in the coming years.
It's worth noting that the MEB electric-car architecture is one of three within the VW Group.
The other two are the MLB-Evo platform to be used by Audi for its upcoming e-tron electric luxury crossover, and Porsche's J1, which will underpin its striking Mission E electric four-door sedan.