Currently reading: Volkswagen: Electric cars will soon become a mainstream choice
Sales boss Jurgen Stackmann said the tipping point for EVs is near; electric GTI models on the cards for the future

The tipping point where electric vehicles become a serious mainstream choice is fast approaching, according to Volkswagen sales boss Jurgen Stackmann.

Speaking at the Detroit motor show, he said a combination of cool, desirable cars and a viable infrastructure would soon propel the technology into the mainstream.

VW wants to sell one million electric vehicles a year by 2025 from a new family of cars, something Stackmann admitted seemed optimistic when looked at today.

"One million looked at today is an optimistic view, but the view I have is very different," he said. "The technology will get acceptance if the whole package is accepted.

"EVs will become fascinating when they become affordable, are cool, sexy cars, and you will want to be seen in one. They'll be cool cars that people will want to have and be seen in.

"When customers see the infrastructure, the interest is generated. It needs work but people want it to happen."

Stackmann said VW has on track to launch the first model in the new family in 2020, and he added he liked the ID name and hinted that it was under consideration for the production family, although this has yet to be decided. He said: "We're getting familiar with the name and it has scale and room for interpretation, the reaction is extremely positive and it's a crisp, cool name. We'll see. Conceptually it's a good idea."

More concepts are planned before 2020, Stackmann hinting at two or three and an SUV likely for the Shanghai motor show in April.

He said the ID Buzz (pictured above) at the Detroit show had more chance than any other Microbus concept of making production and he believed there was a place for a functional, spacious car with an emotional character rather than just a rational MPV.

VW electric vehicles would never be too radical in their execution, Stackmann added, saying that making them too different to today's cars would be "strange" for the customer and a "step too far". He said: "If they are too radical you lose momentum for the next step."

VW would remain a volume brand with its electric vehicles and would not become niche or in exclusive. "We have to offer a fun, usable and meaningful way of transportation. We can't be niche and have to be relevant and generate scale for the technology. It can't be for the few, we need scale."

The electric vehicles would be developed alongside VW's existing range of petrol and diesel vehicles and VW wants the one million sales to be additional ones, not taken from its existing sale of internal combustion engine models.

Stackmann said there would be a place for GTI models in the electric range but the "formula would change" and "not be the same as what took us here. Clearly GTI fits with EVs though."


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Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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Ian French 22 January 2017

Taken with a pich of salt

The ONLY WAY that EV's will be a mainstream choice is if EVERY fuel station in the country, has electric charging points
pauld101 12 January 2017

too many mushrooms for lunch....

He's obviously overlooked the e-Golf's runaway success....
xxxx 10 January 2017

More war war....

...not jaw jaw please