Volkswagen looks to “make a statement” with a new electric model which will be capable of travelling more than 300 miles on a single, 15-minute charge
24 August 2016

Volkswagen's first pure-electric model will be revealed at the Paris motor show next month, VW chairman Herbert Diess has revealed.

Speaking to German magazine WirtschaftWoche (Industry and Economy Week), Diess said the car will have the exterior dimensions of a Golf but the same interior space as a Passat. Following the car's debut as a prototype at the Paris motor show, it should be launched officially in late 2018 or early 2019. 

A Volkswagen spokesman couldn't further comment and is waiting on official confirmation of the model's presence at the show. No further details of the car have been revealed by Diess. 

VW Group CEO Matthias Müller has confirmed that Volkswagen’s leading engineers have been challenged to create an electric car that can be as iconic as the Golf and offer a 500km (310-mile) range while having a charge time of 15 minutes and costing less than a conventionally engined car.

Müller first revealed the plan on the eve of the Geneva motor show, but despite reports suggesting the car could be launched by 2019, he only confirmed a 2025 target. "Nobody can say when it will be a reality, but we are working on it," said Müller. Asked whether it would be enough to take leadership in electric cars, he said: "We have to do our homework. I will not comment on rivals but after that homework we will see who is first, second and third in the race to build the best.'

The secret plan, uncovered by Autocar earlier this year, has been hatched by VW brand boss Herbert Diess as a crucial pillar in the firm’s attempts to rebuild its reputation in the wake of the emissions scandal and is described as a watershed project similar in depth to the multi-billion-pound engineering undertaking that spawned the i3 at BMW, his former employer.

Diess has told Volkswagen’s engineering bosses to create “the Volkswagen for the digital age”, and the top engineering talent at the firm’s Braunschweig R&D centre is already working on the new car.

Diess has challenged his team to set new benchmarks for electric performance as well as developing cutting-edge connectivity and infotainment systems and style the car so it stands out as a statement of VW’s technical capabilities.

The hand-picked team of engineers is currently defining the packaging of the new zero-emissions model, which is understood to be around 4400mm in length. That compares with the Golf’s 4255mm and suggests that it will fight for sales in the same segment while offering a unique powertrain, interior environment and look.

“It will make a huge statement,” a senior engineer with knowledge of VW’s research and development plans revealed. “It’s planned to use cutting-edge technology but at a price that makes it attainable for the average motorist."

Autocar has been told the dedicated electric car will be the first to use the Volkswagen Group’s new MEB architecture, which has been developed specifically for electric cars.

The platform was showcased on the Budd-e MPV concept at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, with VW claiming the architecture “heralds a fundamental change in electric cars, and thus for the car in general, because the MEB throws all fossil fuel ballast of the present overboard, having been designed specifically for electric cars”.

As a result, Volkswagen says the body design, interior design, interior packaging and drive characteristics of electrically powered cars will change dramatically. 

Changes compared with current car design are said to focus on the opportunity to have a far more spacious interior in a car with a much smaller footprint, greater agility and greater connectivity opportunities. In addition, Volkswagen has targeted a significant growth in electric range through the use of compact electric motors and high-performance batteries.

Plans for the all-electric model were confirmed by Matthias Müller, who added hat the vehicle would be cheaper than equivalent models with combustion engines.

“This is the future - nobody can say when it is a reality but we are working on it,” he said.

To date, with the exception of the ultra-high-tech XL1, Volkswagen has concentrated its electric car developments on existing models such as the Up and Golf. Prior to the emissions scandal, it had been taking a cautious approach to electric car sales.

While Volkswagen is banking on a range of up to 300km (186 miles) for the next-generation e-Golf due in 2018, the engineering parameters for the new electric call for the 310-mile-plus range range - the same distance claimed by Porsche for the production version of its Mission-E saloon.  

Despite the apparent parallels between the Budd-e concept and the stand-alone electric car, a key source at Volkswagen’s R&D centre said they were being developed separately, albeit off the same MEB platform.

Müller has previously confirmed that there will be 20 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles in the VW Group’s range by 2020.

“We are using the current crisis to fundamentally realign the group,” he said. “I feel we now have the chance to build a new and better Volkswagen.”

Our Verdict

Volkswagen e-Golf
The e-Golf is the second of three alternatively fuelled Golfs from Volkswagen

The Golf turns pure electric in characteristically understated style

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Comments
33

9 February 2016

Will oil prices ever recover? With this the new Tesla 3 and other manufactures in the same race who wouldn't buy EV with a 300 mile range? It makes you wonder if Saudi Arabia hasn't cut oil production because they know demand is going to go through the floor by the end of the decade. In just a year of lower oil prices some of the oil nations are already on their knees. Interesting political times. I'm glad I got those solar panels on top tariff a few years back.

9 February 2016

Radical new electric VW (like an XL1) ... capable of over 300mpg (like an XL1) ... That probably explains why I saw a pre-registered XL1 in a VW showroom the other week (shifting old stock). I wonder how many of the 30 XL1s VW sold at their list price of £98,500??

9 February 2016

Jeremy, you must have just skimmed over the article. At no point did it mention 300 mpg, which the HYBRID XL1 is capable of; it was over 300 miles in range, which is the goal for the new ELECTRIC vehicle! Also, the article clearly states that the new vehicle will be "at a price that makes it attainable for the average motorist," so I hardly think that the £98,500 XL1 falls into that category.

9 February 2016

I mentioned this before as I find it no coincidence that as the Plug-in gains a foothold Petrol prices plummet, despite all the turmoil in the middle east. The FT and others have written articles on this subject by the way. Anyhow it's just a thought and I don't need certain people with no experience, unless they work for OPEC, to tell me I'm wrong and they know for definite. Polite comments and thoughts still welcome though.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

9 February 2016

There's a decent Peter Day program, Global Business: Oil – How low will it go? on Radio 4 about the price of oil that's worth listening to.

9 February 2016

and diesels the result of Saudi Arabia NOT cutting production, Iran coming on line after the sanctions were lifted and, most of all, by the US fracking revolution.We will probably have cheap oil for the next 30 years (according to experts, I am not one)so the best bet for the future will be a diesel Golf for a very long time. Do think the electric revolution is fascinating though. Like war, legislation has the power to get engineers to up their games and dare to dream of stuff that they never would have done. Still prefer a V8 though......

9 February 2016
johnfaganwilliams wrote:

the result of Saudi Arabia NOT cutting production,.....We will probably have cheap oil for the next 30 years (according to experts, ......

Agree but why are Saudi Arabia who pretty much control OPEC not cutting Oil production, like they used to, to control Oil and therefore petrol and diesel prices. It's not just fracking to blame for low Oil prices, that's to small a commodity in global terms. 30 years is long time in Oil, just over 30 years ago Oil was $11 a barrel, 2 years ago it was $110. So I'd take any experts view with a pinch of salt.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

9 February 2016
xxxx wrote:
johnfaganwilliams wrote:

the result of Saudi Arabia NOT cutting production,.....We will probably have cheap oil for the next 30 years (according to experts, ......

Agree but why are Saudi Arabia who pretty much control OPEC not cutting Oil production, like they used to, to control Oil and therefore petrol and diesel prices. It's not just fracking to blame for low Oil prices, that's to small a commodity in global terms. 30 years is long time in Oil, just over 30 years ago Oil was $11 a barrel, 2 years ago it was $110. So I'd take any experts view with a pinch of salt.

I believe you are wrong regarding low oil prices.
As the USA is approaching self sufficiency in oil production and has indeed recently changed their laws to allow the export of crude oil it is having a big effect on oil prices.
The Saudis by not reducing production are attempting to make oil so cheap it forces expensively produced oil producers out of business.
Experts reckon Saudi oil costs between $2 and $3 per barrel to produce and fracking, tar sands and North Sea oil are far more expensive to produce. Of course as the price drops they are finding ways of reducing the extraction costs further.

9 February 2016
xxxx wrote:

I mentioned this before as I find it no coincidence that as the Plug-in gains a foothold Petrol prices plummet, despite all the turmoil in the middle east. The FT and others have written articles on this subject by the way. Anyhow it's just a thought and I don't need certain people with no experience, unless they work for OPEC, to tell me I'm wrong and they know for definite. Polite comments and thoughts still welcome though.

I don't work for OPEC, you are wrong, I know for definite.

9 February 2016
winniethewoo wrote:
xxxx wrote:

I mentioned this before as I find it no coincidence that as the Plug-in gains a foothold Petrol prices plummet, despite all the turmoil in the middle east. The FT and others have written articles on this subject by the way. Anyhow it's just a thought and I don't need certain people with no experience, unless they work for OPEC, to tell me I'm wrong and they know for definite. Polite comments and thoughts still welcome though.

I don't work for OPEC, you are wrong, I know for definite.

firstly I was agreeing with someone else who thought the same, and from my point of view it was only that, a thought. As you don't work for OPEC you can't be sure either. But may I suggest you watch who killed the electric car, the oil industry is one of the culprits. Just a thought but I bet GM wish they had kept on developing plug-ins as they'd have a pretty good product by now as opposed to Nissan

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

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