Did EV Plan Release Dull Dieselgate Reaction?
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Did Concept EV Timing Dull Response To VW’s Dieselgate Anniversary?

Whether it was timing or coincidence, the release of VW's plans for a major generation of 30 electric vehicles, to be launched by 2025, may have dulled any response that the anniversary of Dieselgate may have created.

Maybe it was just coincidence or perhaps it was marketing genius – it remains to be seen – but whatever the impetus for the timing, Volkswagen has just released some teaser photos of the new all-electric that it hopes will lead it out of the shadows of Dieselgate and into a better marketplace. The buzz has dulled what might have been a louder response to the anniversary of Dieselgate.

The new electric, which is expected to appear in early 2018 or 2019, will sport a distinctive design. The design is meant to set it apart from the automaker’s non-electrics. It is the first planned model that will use the automaker’s modular electrification kit (MEB), VW said in a statement.

Paris Debut Planned

Volkswagen released a set of teaser photos of the near-production concept vehicle without going into much detail about it. VW said the concept car is as revolutionary “as the Beetle was seven decades ago.” The concept car will debut at the Paris International Auto Show later this month. It is VW’s “entry into a new era.”

The new era to which the company is referring is the automaker’s switch to a lineup that is heavily dependent on electric vehicles. Automotive observers have noted that VW, which has lacked a clear focus in the U.S. market, has struggled to define itself. About 2006, the automaker had decided that diesel would be the key to its successful entry to a leading position in the U.S. market. For a time, it appeared as if that might be the case, until a year ago, when VW startled the world by announcing it was an emissions cheat. The fallout of that announcement keeps on appearing, most recently Friday when Dieselgate, as the emissions cheating scandal has come to be known, when federal prosecutors announced they were probing Robert Bosch’s role in the scandal.

According to the Department of Justice, Bosch seems to have had a central role in the preparation and provision of the software that enabled Dieselgate, in the first place. Also, prosecutors are looking at another VW supplier to see if it had a role in the scandal, as well.

Meantime, the new electric is expected to have a 250-300-mile range per charge. Herbert Diess, chief executive of the automaker, told a German magazine – WirtschaftsWoche – last month that the new electric line will be about the size of a Golf hatchback. While it will be smaller on the outside, it will be sport as much interior space as a Passat midsized. The development team used astute battery packaging in the floor of the car to increase the amount of interior space.

The future electric lineup will include:
• A subcompact SUV
• A coupe
• The BUDD-e minivan
• A successor to the Phaeton sedan

Significant EV Commitment

Volkswagen plans a significant commitment to EVs (electric vehicles). By 2025, the automaker plans to launch more than 30 fully electric cars. Matthias Mueller, Volkswagen Group chief executive, told the shareholders meeting in June that VW expects to be selling 2- to 3-million pure electric vehicles a year, or about one-quarter of all sales as well. The automaker indicated that two of the models will be Tesla competitors, Porsche Mission E EV and the Audi E-Tron Quattro. The E-Tron will be Audi’s first mass-production EV.

Currently, VW offers EV Golf compacts and Up minicars, however, their popularity has been constrained by high price and worries about range. The result has been a noticeable sales dip for both. The e-Golf slumped 38 percent in the first half of the year, while the e-Up sank 19 percent. Putting the drops into hard figures, Golf sales slid to 3,799 units, while e-U sales crashed to 1,343. The numbers were compiled by JATO Dynamics, a data analytics firm.


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