Volkswagen outlines entry-level ID car and future EV strategy

Volkswagen’s CEO has reignited discussion on an entry-level compact electric car set to be cheaper than the ID3.

Speaking ahead of the unveiling of the ID 4 electric SUV, Ralf Brandstätter said: “We’re working on these concepts. Of course, we have to take into account that lower segments will in the future be demanding EVs, and we’re preparing concepts.”

Earlier this month, sibling brand Skoda confirmed that its Citigo-e iV electric city car has been discontinued to make way for larger models and new EVs, with its Volkswagen Up sibling expected to meet the same fate.

There’s no word yet on a replacement for the popular but unprofitable city cars, but Brandstätter said: “We’re working on concepts for smaller segments. We will discuss it soon. Cars in smaller segments are important and very interesting for us.”

Group brand Seat will next year begin production of its new Minimo electric quadricycle. It’s not yet confirmed whether that will be sold under a different name by other Volkswagen Group brands, but Volkswagen is considering urban-focused mobility solutions.

“At the moment, we’re focusing on electric vehicles,” said Brandstätter. “Of course we have studied these last-mile proposals, and we have some concepts ready, but at the moment, there’s no decision taken going to the market.”

Volkswagen is keen to emphasise the flexibility of its MEB platform, which underpins the ID 3 and ID 4 and will go on to provide the basis of the ID 5 saloon, ID 6 SUV, ID Buzz van and an as-yet-unnamed model from new development partner Ford.

A small electric sports car remains on the cards. Brandstätter refused to give details but said: “MEB is a very versatile platform. Year by year, we will inform you which kind of cars are possible.”

Volkswagen’s ID R electric performance car range is set to be topped by a Tesla Roadster-rivalling coupé/roadster arriving in 2025.

Volkswagen’s commitment to building 26 million EVs by 2029 remains unchanged in light of the coronavirus pandemic, with planned investment in e-mobility across the Volkswagen Group now totalling €33 billion (AUD$53.36 billion).

The launch of the ID 4 represents the start of a shift to electrification for Volkswagen’s burgeoning SUV line-up. Boss of e-mobility for the brand Thomas Ulbrich said: “In 2015, we decided to push the SUV market and start our SUV offensive. The ID 4 is the next milestone in this transformation to e-mobility as Volkswagen’s first electric SUV.

“The ID 4 stands for carbon-neutral mobility and will mobilise millions, because it’s a real global car. It will quickly become a top model, not in a niche, because the market segment is becoming more and more important.”

The ID 4 will be built in five plants worldwide and sold across three continents, but will receive subtle market-specific tweaks to its styling, interior and technological functions to meet different market tastes.

Ulbrich added: “There are definitely regional preferences, so there will be some country-specific adjustments to the ID 4 depending on the region. But Volkswagen is really experienced doing that, as the Tiguan shows.

“In essence, the customer wants and gets the same great technology: sufficient range, fast charging and, in a nutshell, a dynamic electric car.”

Felix Page

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