Published on September 18th, 2020 |
by Steve Hanley
September 18th, 2020 by Steve Hanley
The official reveal of the Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV will take place online on September 23. In the company’s plans to become a dominant force in EV sales worldwide, it expects the ID.4 to do the heavy lifting. In an interview this week with Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, and Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen board member responsible for e-mobility, the pair spoke about the importance of the ID.4.
“With the ID.4, we are taking e-mobility out of its niche in our three major key regions. The car will be built and sold in Europe, in China and later also in the USA. The ID.4 is thus gradually becoming the world’s electric car. We are scaling our MEB platform and creating the economic basis for the success of our ID. family. At the same time, the ID.4 brings together two important goals of our existing TRANSFORM 2025+ strategy: The e-offensive and the SUV-offensive of the Volkswagen brand — both combined in one vehicle.”
The world is crazy for SUVs so Volkswagen is following one of the oldest rules of sales — give the customer what the customer wants. “SUVs are in high demand by an ever-increasing number of customers,” says Ulbricht. “They offer an overview, safety and comfort. In the USA and China, SUVs are the most popular vehicle segment. In Europe and Germany, too, market shares are steadily increasing, with compact models in particular booming. The ID.4 is our first electric SUV — and it clearly targets the volume market. It offers the space, flexibility and all the advantages that customers appreciate in SUVs.”
That emphasis on space is important. During a virtual meeting with investors on September 15, Volkswagen presented a slide in a PowerPoint presentation that compares the ID.4 to the Tesla Model Y. The graphic shows the ID.4 has more interior room than the Model Y even though it is shorter overall. The company’s analysis shows the ID.4 being up to $10,000 lower in price as well, at least in the European market. The ID.4 will also have a respectable towing capacity of 4,200 pounds — an important consideration for many European drivers.
Brandstätter went on to emphasize the importance of the ID.4 within Volkswagen’s electric car plans. “Volkswagen wants to become the world market leader in e-mobility — but that won’t happen by itself. The Volkswagen brand is therefore investing around 11 billion euros by 2024. As a compact SUV, the ID.4 has, in our view, the best prerequisites for being successful in a large scale in all important markets. We therefore expect the Volkswagen brand to produce a total of 1.5 million e-cars per year by 2025 and the ID.4 is likely to account for around a third of this. The ID.4 will thus become the driving force behind our reorientation a hundred thousand times over.”
In the September 15 meeting for investors, Volkswagen laid out its plans to bring electric cars to market in coming years.
At the same presentation for investors, the company revealed where it thinks its ID branded cars will sell best. Notice where the US is in this projection. Many have questioned why Volkswagen is not bringing the ID. 3 to America and why the new EV assembly line in Chattanooga is not scheduled to come online more quickly. This chart may offer some clues.
Volkswagen is just as proud of its efforts to slash emissions from its manufacturing process as it is of its dedication to producing world class electric vehicles. Thomas Ubricht says, “Volkswagen has invested around 1.2 billion euros in the Zwickau site and completely restructured its production facilities. We use green electricity there. We operate a highly efficient combined heat and power plant, which in the long term will be operated with CO₂-neutral gas. We have analyzed around 40,000 processes right down to the raw materials. Buildings and plants are continuously being energy optimized. Green electricity is also used for the energy intensive battery cell production by our suppliers. Volkswagen compensates unavoidable emissions through climate protection projects. Our customers have it in their hands: if they consistently charge with green energy after purchasing their ID. they drive completely emission-free.”
Toss all the brickbats you want at Volkswagen for its diesel emissions cheating scandal. That was the old Volkswagen. The new Volkswagen is not just talking the EV talk, it is walking the walk and putting its money where its mouth is. The first ID.4 cars are scheduled to be delivered before the end of this year. How they do in the marketplace will determine whether Volkswagen has gotten its sums right as it strides boldly into the electric car future.
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