LOS ANGELES, California – The Dieselgate scandal might have left a bad smell at Volkswagen, but it was actually beneficial by accelerating the electrification of the German automaker’s products. Based on what we learned, the transition would have taken a lot more time otherwise. Volkswagen decided to dive head first not into hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, but into fully electric propulsion.
By 2025, the group is aiming to sell no less than one million EVs annually and become the segment leader. What’s particularly interesting is that it has the means to reach its goals. More than 20 billion dollars are invested in the strategy, which includes both technology development and battery production. The deployment will be performed at an accelerated rate within the next few years, and the company is obviously planning to beat Tesla on its own turf. The plan is to introduce 300 electrified models by 2030, spread across all of the Volkswagen Group’s brands (Audi, Porsche, etc.) and to meet its needs, the equivalent of four Tesla Gigafactory plants will be necessary!
A New Fully Electric Family
The manufacturer had three electric vehicle concepts on stage at the Los Angeles Auto Show, all bearing their new EV family nameplate, I.D., and built on the dedicated new MEB (Modular Electrification Toolkit) platform. All these new models should also receive various levels of autonomous driving, another growing trend in the automotive industry.
The I.D. CROZZ utility vehicle will become the brand’s first EV to hit our roads, which will happen by 2020. The SUV is equipped with a pair of electric motors; a 75-kW unit connected to the front wheels and a 150-kW unit powering the rear wheels. As for driving range, VW claims a maximum of 500 km with the help of an 83-kWh battery pack. According to Thomas Tetzlaff of Volkswagen Canada, the company won’t be sporadically adding a new I.D. family model, but we’ll witness an onslaught of electric vehicles during the next few years. The second model will be the I.D. BUZZ, which reminds us of the original Microbus, with dimensions that will be able to accommodate larger families. A compact car and a large sedan will be introduced afterwards.
If you’re concerned about the heritage of the brand’s small sports cars, don’t worry—it won’t wither away with the arrival of EVs at Volkswagen. In fact, the automaker wants to take the opportunity to give a new twist to the word “performance.” We were told that a small, fully electric, two-door sport coupe could eventually be launched. VW could even adopt Tesla’s strategy by offering several levels of performance.
New players are constantly joining the electrification bandwagon, and we’ll see how Tesla will face the more traditional automakers in the coming years.