Volkswagen R to become performance EV brand

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The Volkswagen R range will be “gradually” converted to a pure-electric line-up with concept models already in the works.

Volkswagen’s R performance sub-brand will go fully electric by 2030, it has confirmed, with several EVs already in the pipeline as it looks to “gradually” convert its current range to an EV-only one.

The sub-brand has aligned itself with Volkswagen’s wider Way to Zero pledge, with the wider brand targeting a full-electric line-up five years after R in 2035 – when sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be outlawed across Europe.

Volkswagen said it’s “gradually converting its portfolio, with several electric R models in the planning stages”, adding: “We’re currently assessing various concepts and possibilities but will only offer R models that meet our requirements. One thing is certain: the future of R is electric.”

This means current electric-only ID models could be the first in line to get hot variants, with an ID 4 R previously hinted at by R&D chief Thomas Ulbrich last year. Any future all-electric models would likely also be in line for R treatment, such as a production version of the ID Aero and Project Trinity.

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Electric variants of the current R range such as the VW Golf R, VW Tiguan R and VW T-Roc R would likely only come if the models get electric replacements in the future.

Volkswagen added that any electric R models will, like their ICE-powered predecessors, get technology trickled down from prototype concepts, such as from the super-fast 500kW ID R, which has held the Pikes Peak record since 2018. The electric R models will also continue to be developed on track.

“In order to become a fully electric brand by the end of the decade, we’re already taking the necessary steps today for the forthcoming transformation,” confirmed R head ​​Reinhold Ivenz.

“The globally successful products from Volkswagen R are part of this exciting change process and will stand in [the] future for sustainable electric mobility.”

Future R models would therefore adopt the Volkswagen Group’s upcoming electric-only Scalable Systems Platform (SSP), which will be the only EV chassis used across the group from 2026, albeit with performance-oriented tweaks.

However, this effectively shuts the door on any models getting an electric R variant while they’re still sold primarily as ICE cars, given the huge costs it would mean for cars on different platforms to be built.

Elsewhere, Volkswagen confirmed that the new-look R sub-brand will also focus on “quick and convenient” charging for its EVs, which given the future models’ range-topping position would mean peak charging rates of more than the ID 5 GTX’s 150kW – which charges it from 10-80 per cent in around 25 minutes – will likely be seen.

R EV owners will also get access to “exclusive charging options”. These are expected to come in the form of either exclusive charger access or subsidised prices.

No timeframe has been put on the launch of any electric R cars, but with many still in the planning stages, releases in the second half of the decade currently seem the most likely.

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