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.