We thought we’d kick off the new year by considering what we can expect soon from our favourite car manufacturing giant. Over the last year or so, VW Group hasn’t been shy in making announcements, sharing its vision, unveiling new concepts and generally shaking things up. Here’s our post-Christmas selection box of what VW is up to.
Coming soon: electric everything!
Over the last year or so, VW Group has made it clear that they’re embracing an electric future. In fact, their EV plans are bolder and more ambitious than any other major motor manufacturer (apart from Tesla, obviously). Back in November 2017, the group announced that over the next five years, it would be committing over £30 billion in developing EVs and autonomous driving systems. They also committed to offering an electric version of every vehicle in its range by 2030.
For anyone doubting their commitment, in March 2018, the group secured $25 billion of battery supply — which soon swelled to $48 billion. And if that wasn’t enough to convince, in December, the group’s head of strategy Michael Jost told the press:
Our colleagues are working on the last platform for vehicles that aren’t CO2 neutral. We’re gradually fading out combustion engines to the absolute minimum…In the year 2026, the last product based on a combustion platform will be started.
This was widely interpreted as meaning that VW wouldn’t be producing any internal combustion engine (ICE) cars after that date, though this was quickly refuted by head of development Frank Welsch. What we can say at the least is that VW Group have an aggressive timetable for bringing its electric vehicles to market.
And it seems that we won’t have long before we see the fruits of all those plans. Of course, we already have the Audi e-tron and the e-Golf (among others), but we mean a high-volume EV that’s been designed from the ground up to accommodate new technology. We’re talking about the Volkswagen ID, due to start production in November 2019.
As we can see below, the prototype certainly looks like it’s been parachuted in from the future:
All the indications are that the production vehicle won’t be a million miles away from the concept. But what about the two all-important numbers: price and range? According to the boss himself, Herbert Diess, the ID will retail at a price “comparable to a diesel model.” Range for the ID is estimated at 249-373 miles. And the good news doesn’t stop there: with an appropriate charging system, VW estimate that the ID can achieve 80% charge in 30 minutes. Oh, and it should be good for 0-60 in less than 8 seconds.
So: a long-range, fast-charging, high-tech, cheap-to-run, fairly sprightly, zero-emission hatchback — for the price of a diesel? If VW can get anywhere near to achieving their projected numbers, that sounds like a game-changer to us. We commented a while back on the threat Tesla posed to VW, but as we noted back then, Tesla doesn’t yet make a hatchback. Also, though prices have yet to be announced, even the cheapest of Tesla’s acclaimed Model 3s is likely to be a considerably more expensive proposition than the ID.
The ID is one of the major pieces in VW’s plans to sell a million EVs by 2025. It should hit UK streets in early 2020, and we’re looking forward to see how it measures up.
Meanwhile, petrol and diesel
Whilst there’s a lot of buzz surrounding VW’s electric vehicles (see what we did there?), let’s not forget that VW makes plenty of fantastic petrol and diesel cars. 2019 will see some sprucing-up of the group’s perennial people-pleasers. In particular, the Golf will benefit from a major makeover – not necessarily in its looks, but in connectivity, economy and and autonomy. The range is likely to be pared down, and less popular models such as the Golf Estate might be discontinued. The Jetta gets a minor revamp too.
VW have some brand new models as well. Our pick is the T-Cross, a small SUV aiming firmly at the likes of the Citroen’s C4 Cactus and Kia Stonic. It’s like a taller, roomier Polo and should be priced from about £17,000.
VW is teaming up with everyone
Although it’s already the sixth largest company in the world (2017 figures), Volkswagen is always looking to form new partnerships. In China, for example, this year should see the results of its collaboration with First Automobile Works – an ultra-cheap medium-size SUV. And the German giant 2019 is working with Hyundai on fuel cell and EV technology.
But the collaboration that’s raised some eyebrows is the one that’s thought to be going ahead with Ford. According to driving.co.uk:
“A core chunk of this new partnership will be dedicated to the joint development of a range of commercial vehicles. Additional information on these new models was not disclosed, though it’s expected the result will be a line-up of Ford and Volkswagen vans that will share platforms and powertrain (engines/ motors and transmissions) technologies.”
If the ‘strategic alliance’ goes ahead, VW could be onto a winning deal, tapping into Ford’s massive expertise in the sector.
And that’s just for starters…
We’ve only scratched the surface of what the VW Group has in the pipeline — we only mentioned Audi’s fabulous e-tron in passing, let alone Skoda and SEAT’s plans. All in all, it seems that VW Group are heading into 2019 with a whole lot of plans and a renewed confidence. Hold on to your hats!
Whatever VW Group has in store for us, Welsh VW Specialists will be here to provide MOTs, servicing and repairs of their vehicles. We’re the premier independent VW specialist serving Cardiff and South Wales, offering main dealer levels of service at down-to-earth prices. For all enquiries, or to book your vehicle in, please get in touch.