Volkswagen starts its electric car countdown
The Volkswagn I.D. electric car family will go from concept to production reality starting 2020. (Volkswagen Group)
Published Monday, December 4, 2017 2:44PM EST
In 100 weeks' time, Volkswagen will officially launch its first I.D. car and with it, an all-out assault on the electric car market.
Volkswagen already offers a proper plug-in electric car in the shape of the e-Golf, based on its best-selling hatchback car. However, with a range of just 126 miles (202.8 kilometres) between charges, the car, though impressive to drive, is simply a place holder while VW readies an entire fleet of EV cars based on next-generation battery technology, that it is confident will cement its place at the vanguard of electric personal mobility.
"Our preparations for entry to the new era of affordable e-mobility are well underway," said Volkswagen brand CEO, Dr. Herbert Diess. "In this unique industrial project, we intend to work together to ensure that Europe is ahead in the global race to the lead in e-mobility."
Indeed, the company, which also owns Audi, Bentley, Skoda, Seat, Bugatti and Lamborghini, has huge electric ambitions. "We are determined to take the lead. The Volkswagen brand alone will be offering more than 20 all-electric models by 2022 and will be investing about €6 billion in e-mobility over the next five years," said Diess.
The company's medium-term goal is to hit sales figures of 1 million electric VW cars a year by 2025, while making significant headway in the market with plug-in cars sold by its other brands, such as Audi.
In the U.S., the first step towards this sales target will be a production version of the I.D. CROZZ SUV concept, making its North American debut at this week's LA Auto Show. Even in concept form it's already capable of covering 300 miles (482.8 kilometres) on a single charge, but that range is expected to improve significantly in the launch version, due in 2020.
"The I.D. CROZZ-based electric vehicle will be an affordable and stylish electric SUV-and there is more to come!" said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America at the LA Auto Show.
The crossover will be followed by an electrified reimagining of the company's iconic Bulli microbus, the I.D. BUZZ in 2022. "[Both cars] will help Volkswagen to kick off an EV revolution in the United States. All of our I.D. concept cars demonstrate the inherent flexibility, driving range and smart design that can serve the needs of 21st century drivers," said Woebcken.
As well as the U.S., those two models will also be launched in Europe and China, but, in keeping with different territorial tastes, VW plans to lead its electric offensive in Europe with a compact hatchback model that pays homage to the original Beetle.
Because all of the cars are built on a very clever vehicle platform, there is a huge scope for offering very different types of car very quickly. Therefore, the company plans sedans and a host of other body styles as demand for electrification increases. The platform will also be underpinning electric Audis, Skodas and potentially even Porsches, and this economy of scale will help the company keep production costs low and therefore the cars' sale prices very competitive.
"Cars stand for freedom and individuality", said Jürgen Stackmann, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for Sales, Marketing and After-Sales. "The mistakes of the past have speeded up many things at Volkswagen and a real opportunity arises from the crisis. We believe in electric mobility and in a great future for the automobile."