Our artist's rendering shows how the new Phaeton could look
The company says the new luxury saloon, which is expected to arrive by 2020, will be “the flagship of the brand’s profile over the next decade”. The car will feature “pure electric drive with long-distance capability and next-generation connectivity and assistance systems”.
VW insiders say the electric Phaeton will share its platform architecture, drive system and battery technology with the upcoming Audi Q6 e-tron, as previewed by the e-tron quattro concept at the Frankfurt motor show.
The e-tron quattro concept car is powered by three electric motors, with one sending drive to the front wheels and two rear-mounted motors acting on the rear wheels. Total power output is put at 429bhp, while torque is rated at 590lb ft.
While it was initially thought the new Phaeton would be launched before 2020, Volkswagen Group boss Matthias Müller has since confirmed the project will be delayed as the company looks to cut costs in the wake of the emissions scandal.
Müller has confirmed that any VW Group project that isn't deemed essential will be put on hold or cancelled completely, and the firm's commitment to the electric Phaeton cements its position as an essential product as VW seeks to compete with the Tesla Model S. The Phaeton should also come with the latest in autonomous driving technology.
Another product deemed as essential is the next-generation Volkswagen Golf, which is scheduled to launch next year.
Meanwhile, VW is also known to be developing a next-generation modular electric toolkit, known as MEB. The toolkit will be used for both cars and light commercial vehicles. It will allow all vehicle and body types to be developed with either plug-in hybrid or pure electric powertrains.
VW says the MEB toolkit will allow for “particularly emotional vehicle concepts and will enable an all-electric range of 250-500km [155-310 miles]”.