These big gestures on electrification are becoming too ubiquitous now to have quite the same impact as Volvo’s did earlier this year. And in the Volkswagen Group’s case, 2030 doesn’t seem awfully impressive when you think Jaguar Land Rover will achieve the same by 2020. And Volvo - which is different because every single model will be electrified in some way - rather than a variant of a model, will have its plan in play from 2019.
That, I suppose, is the downfall of being such a big group with so many platforms, so many model cycles. It’ll take a lot longer to get to that stage than for Volvo and JLR which, by comparison, are relatively small.
To Volkswagen’s credit, Muller didn’t try to make the electrification story bigger than it was – he clearly stated it would be an electrified variant of each model. The same might not be said about Jaguar Land Rover’s similar announcement last week. That seemed to reek of ambiguity in which endless headlines were so brazenly wrong, there were many a head-in-hands moment in our office. See editor Mark Tisshaw’s blog to read more.
Back to tonight, there were some more impressive numbers shared: 80 electrified models across the VW Group by 2025. 50 will be electric, 30 will be plug-in hybrids. That means all 80 are ‘proper’ electric or hybrids, opposed to the 48V mild hybrid systems which, realistically, will be in most cars within five years.
And there was plenty of talk about solid state batteries replacing lithium-ion, which would mean 1000km of range. That will be really game-changing.
Despite VW Group’s electrification plan being the big news of the night, there wasn’t an awful lot of electric stuff on show in the VW Group hall. The ID Crozz SUV concept, confirmed for production in 2020, reared its ugly head, sitting alongside its ID hatchback sibling. And there was the autonomous Audi Elaine and Aicon concepts, which use electric powertrains. Other than that, there was very little.
Good news for the pure enthusiasts then: there was, for starters, the GT3 Touring Package – essentially a GT3 without a wing, the Seat Leon Cupra R, the new Bentley Continental GT and a limited-edition rear-wheel-drive Audi R8 with some silly racing stripes.
Electrification is waiting in the wings, but for this show at least, exciting, internal combustion-engined cars are where the heart is.