Car maker says the short, frenetic racing of rallycross is a perfect arena to demonstrate advances in electric powertrain technology
16 March 2016

Volkswagen is pushing for World and Global Rallycross Championship regulations to be developed for all-electric supercars, as a way to show off the advancing capability of the technology.

The company currently competes in rallycross with factory-developed Beetles powered by four-cylinder, 1.6-litre engines producing around 550bhp.

However, the firm’s head of technology, Franck Welsch, revealed that he was keen to see race organisers adopt an all-electric format, either alongside the top category or in place of it.

Extreme 560bhp Volkswagen Beetle Rallycross car

“I can certainly imagine a championship done with all-electric cars,” he said. “The races are around six minutes long, which allows for short, intense bursts of competition and then charging.

“Today these cars are super-powerful, have torque from hell and use all-wheel drive. Electric drivetrains could deliver that.

“If the championship moved that way it would be perfect for us. We are already in discussions with organisers to that effect.”

Welsch also confirmed that VW will continue in the World Rally Championship for at least the next “two to three years”, with an all-new Polo launching to meet the new regulations in 2017. “We like being three-time champions very much, and hope to add to that even when the competition intensifies in the coming years [with the arrival of Toyota and a newly-developed Citroen].”

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Beetle
The Beetle will so often be bought on the basis of its looks. It is certainly more attractive than the old 'new Beetle'

The Volkswagen Beetle is only the third all-new model since the original launched in 1938. It is based on the Mk6 Golf, but the base car is far better

Join the debate



16 March 2016

Other motorsports, conducted over relatively short courses, such as hill climbs, would be perfect for electric propulsion. A combination of instant torque and short straights perfectly suiting the characteristics of the vehicles.

16 March 2016

Much better than having races which are split up by recharging needs. I expect that the races would be just as spectacular and entertaining, if a bit quieter. So why not?


16 March 2016

....does this current infatuation with EV's have to infect everything?
Just watch the spectator numbers crash if the top category is replaced with EV's (quick or not). It will be like watching a silent disco, great for those dancing but pathetic for spectators!
Motorsport is nothing without the spectacle of noise....can you imagine Drag racing (which would lend itself to recharging) with electric motors instead of Nitro Methane 8000 hp fire breathing monsters? No more watching the engineers rebuild the engines every run....just plugging in the generator. The fans would leave en masse.

16 March 2016

The sound of a 3.5 litre f1 car from the 90's or a screaming V10 from the early 2000's sounds incredible and would definitely be missed. But everyone said the same thing about Formula E, and the spectator numbers have been very strong.


16 March 2016

For some reason VW decided the Golf GTE ought to sound like a diesel (albeit from the inside). There's no reason that they shouldn't make an exciting sound - you could have them puffing out blue smoke too like in aerobatics. ;-)

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-tron UK review
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    First UK drive finds the facelifted A3 Sportback e-tron remains a first-rate plug-in hybrid that is packed with tech if a little short on driver appeal
  • Citroen C11.2 Puretech 82 Furio
    First Drive
    29 September 2016
    Citroën's city car gets a new sporty-looking trim level, adding visual adornments, but no premium for the 1.2-litre Puretech triple we're driving
  • Mercedes C350e Sport
    First Drive
    28 September 2016
    Petrol-electric C-Class is a surprisingly well-priced alternative to a diesel but not the greatest example of the new ‘PHEV’ breed
  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka