Volkswagen Will Launch Its Electric “People’s Car” in Late 2019

By · September 26, 2018

Volkswagen I.D. Crozz

News emerged this week that VW is getting closer to introducing an affordable, mainstream electric car—as it has promised for years. The company presented a few more details about its modular electric platform, giving credence to reports that a model that’s slightly larger and roomier than the Golf will go on sale in some global markets by the end of next year.

The platform is named MEB, which roughly translates to Modular Electric Drive Matrix. It is said to accommodate different battery pack sizes, starting with about 200 miles and growing to more than 300 miles. The platform will allow Volkswagen to produce EVs in multiple segments—from compacts and sedans to crossovers and wagons. The first one available to American buyers is likely to be a crossover sport utility, based on the I.D. Crozz. It debuted at last year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, with a target launch date of 2020.

The I.D. Crozz concept is an all-wheel drive vehicle. The default powertrain configuration for the MEB platform will be rear-wheel drive with the option of offering all-wheel drive models. VW electric cars will likely ride higher than conventional models, raised a few inches to make room for a large battery pack under the cabin.

Of course, the key to mainstream acceptance will be pricing. Thomas Ulbrich, who is responsible for Volkswagen’s electric mobility division, said this week that the company’s future electric cars should be no more expensive than a diesel vehicle today. Other reports indicated a starting price of about $30,000. "We will build electric vehicles for millions and not just millionaires,” said Ulbrich.

In another sign of VW’s interest in EV acceptance, its new electric cars could utilize public fast-charging initially capable of 125 kilowatts. That would give battery-powered VW automobiles about the same public charging rate as a Tesla plugged into a Supercharger. In other words, you might expect to add about 170 miles of range in 30 minutes, depending on the battery size for the specific model. Level 2 charging will be offered with 7.2 kW and 11 kW onboard chargers. Either one is capable of fully replenishing an EV's battery overnight at home.

Volkswagen wants to sell 150,000 electric cars globally by 2020 and a million EVs every year by 2025. Ulbrich suggested that VW could use its electric platform to sell more than two dozen different battery-powered models.

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