Volkswagen Plans 5 New Electric Models to Kickstart 1 Million EV Target

Volkswagen is planning five new battery-electric models for its VW brand, all of which will have a range of at least 400 km expect to show prototype as soon as next month.

VW’s aggressive electric-car plans

In a new interview with German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche, VW brand chief Herbert Diess confirmed plans to bring five new electric VWs to market. All will be based on the Volkswagen Group’s new modular electric-vehicle architecture — and they’ll be sold in the U.S., Europe, and China.

Diess said the new electric VW is slightly smaller than the compact Golf hatchback on the outside, but its interior room is comparable to that of the midsize Passat. It will be all-electric, battery-powered, with a range of “400 to 600 kilometers,” Diess said.

Diess expects the new electric VWs to sell at prices comparable to those of similarly sized diesel-powered models in VW’s current lineup. But the first one won’t go into production until late in 2018, he said. VW has a lot of work to do first.

A million electric cars a year by 2025

The VW Group includes a slew of automotive brands, most notably Audi and Porsche, in addition to the namesake VW brand. Both Audi and Porsche have shown concept versions of upcoming battery-electric models. Audi’s, an electric SUV set to rival Tesla Motors’ Model X, is expected to begin production in the first quarter of 2018. Porsche’s electric sports sedan will follow somewhat later.

VW’s goal is to be selling a million battery-electric vehicles a year by 2025. Getting to that number will require several mass-market models in addition to the luxury entries, and that’s where Diess’ VW brand comes in.

Will buyers show up for electric VWs?

So far, electric cars have been a hard sell in VW’s home market, Germany. Diess and other VW executives have suggested that the limited range of most current battery-electric vehicles is a limiting factor, and that sales will improve once ranges are comparable with gasoline- and diesel-powered alternatives.

More “ordinary” electric vehicles may be a harder sell to buyers who are unfamiliar with the technology and worry about the difficulty of recharging away from home, at least in the near term. Effort may involve retraining and incentivising its dealers, in addition to the marketing and advertising costs.

In any event, it’s a massive shift by one of the world’s largest automakers. We’ll know more about VW’s plans to draw buyers to electric cars when it takes the wraps off of its concept vehicle in Paris at the end of September. -The Motley Fool


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