When it comes to the creation of attention-grabbing automotive technologies, today’s headlines usually fall into one of the three categories. First, the continuing partnership between automakers and tech giants to transition humanity into the use of autonomous vehicles. Second (and infinitely more tangible) is the recent resurgence of high-powered cars, trucks and SUVs geared towards the performance-minded driver. Third, and infinitely more relevant, is the continued integration of hybrid and EV offerings across all automaker lineups.
This endeavor, noble in its intent, is geared towards evolving the combustion engine to eliminate (or at least minimize) oil dependency in favor of more sustainable technologies. And, as we approach 2019, there are few automakers who have yet to take the proverbial leap in crafting an aggressive timeline for full or partial integration. As you might already suspect, Volkswagen is no exception, aiming to sell one million electric vehicles per year by 2025.
This five-year strategy will begin with the impressive goal to sell 150,000 EV’s in 2020 with such rapid growth to be sustained by MEB, Volkswagen’s new electric vehicle-only platform.
“MEB” (translated from German as an acronym for “modular electric toolkit”) is the cornerstone of Volkswagen’s strategy. The platform consists of a primarily-steel chassis and the inclusion of an AC induction motor mounted upon the front axle. While rear-wheel drive is currently standard, the long-term strategy includes the incorporation of all-wheel drive propulsion courtesy of synchronized AC induction motors.
The platform also empowers Volkswagen to offer high-performance vehicles, simply by enabling their single-speed transmissions with altered gear ratios, and altering the software to allow a higher energy through-put. According to CNET Volkswagens MEB vehicles are expected to deliver a range of 175-300 miles, depending on the model and that fast-charging stations (a la Tesla) will be made available, delivering up to 6.2 miles of range regeneration for every minute of charge-time. That said, the focal point of initial integration will be Europe, as opposed to the U.S. beginning with 400 stations to be build along major highways.
That said, VW is planning to launch a minimum of three new EVs for the U.S. market within the next five years. This plan includes the 2020 introduction of VW’s ID lineup, beginning with a replacement for the e-Golf. And speaking of buzz, there’s plenty of it surrounding the all-electric ID Buzz, a cleverly monikered throwback to the counter-culture microbus which is expected to arrive around 2022. Around the same time, we are also expecting VW to introduce the I.D. Cross and Vizzioin, a hatchback and sedan (respectively).
According to VW’s Board of Management, there is no confirmation as to whether these assuredly impactful offerings will be manufactured in the U.S. or simply sold there. That said, there seems to be some evidence to support the former, in the form of some positive assurances offered, suggesting Chattanooga TN as a possible manufacturing site.
Regardless, the impressive global strategy laid out by VW is vast, consisting of a total of 27 electric cars built upon the MEB platform by 2022. By 2025 the goal of 1 million units annually seems feasible, especially when a quarter of the automotive group’s vehicles will be electric-powered. The long-term plan also targets 2030 for the incorporation of an EV variant for each of the VW Group’s 300+ models. With $40 billion in initial investment, it’s safe to say the VW is serious about the timeline they’ve laid out.
And it goes without saying, that this positive future-friendly path is a welcome change from the string of bad press VW has endured as a result of their self-damning emissions crisis and subsequent recalls. It certainly paints a happier picture for the American car-buyer, more indicative of a brand that we so often associate with a happier, simpler time. Only time will tell if VW is able to recapture that same sense of boundless optimism, but they’re certainly going about it the right way.
This has been AutoInfluence…thanks for listening.