FOCUS ON: VOLKSWAGEN
A green revolution is underway at VW as it moves to an EV future
The move to electrification is accelerating at Volkswagen, with the brand having launched the first in a wave of ID-branded EVs late last year in the form of the ID.3 (see Star Car, right). This was followed soon after by the ID.4 crossover in spring 2021 (pictured, above).
Both cars have started strongly, with figures for May 2021 indicating that the ID.3 was beaten only by Tesla’s Model 3 in the European EV sales chart, while the newer ID.4 was fifth behind the Renault Zoe and Skoda Enyaq. The electric Up model is clinging on in the Volkswagen line-up, and also made it into the top 10 European EV sales for May, in ninth place. The brand has declared that it is aiming to hit a figure of 70% EV for its new car sales by 2030.
✪ STAR CAR ✪
WHAT IS IT?
VW’s Golf-sized electric five-door hatch has a choice of eight trims, plus 45kWh, 58kWh and 77kWh batteries, and power outputs of 145hp, 150hp and 204hp.
HOW QUICK IS IT?
The fastest versions will do the 0-62mph dash in 7.3 seconds, while all ID.3 models will manage it in 9.6 seconds or less.
WHATS THE RANGE?
The top-spec Tour Pro is the only one that gets the hefty 77kWh battery, which means it has an official maximum range figure of 340 miles, while the 58kWh battery cars are between 258-264 miles depending on spec, and the entry models with the 45kWh battery offer no more than 216 miles
WHAT ABOUT THE COST?
Following a recent price realignment, all ID.3 models bar the top two trims qualify for the plug-in car grant of £2500 off the list price. The entry Life Pure Performance car starts the range off at £27,120 after the grant.
ANYTHING ELSE I NEED TO KNOW?
July’s price reduction on the higher-spec models also brought a change to the way the range is constructed, with options packs now available rather than models specified by VW to appeal to different types of customers.
Although moves to full electric power are dominating VW’s new model news, there is plenty going on in terms of plug-in hybrids too. The Golf hatchback and Passat saloon and estate models have PHEV versions, and that has recently been joined by the Arteon, in two body shapes, and the high-performance Touareg R eHybrid.
A plug-in hybrid Tiguan SUV is also due this summer.
VW has confirmed it sees PHEV tech as part of the long-term solution for the Golf, Tiguan, Passat and T-Roc models, among others, and is aiming to push the EV-only range out beyond 60 miles.
“We will still need combustion engines for a while, but they should be as efficient as possible, which is why the next generation of our core products – all of which are world models – will also be fitted with the latest generation of plug-in hybrid technology, with an electric range of up to 100 kilometres,” said VW CEO Ralf Brandstatter earlier this year.
Volkswagen is also looking at the wider environmental issues, including a plan to switch all its plants in Europe, North America and South America to renewable energy by 2030, a process that has started with an expansion of wind farm and solar energy in European production.
It is also targeting a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions per vehicle by 2030, compared with 2018 levels, and has stated aims of making the production, including supply chain, and operation of electric vehicles carbon-neutral, and to ensure old EV batteries are recycled.
“Our big electric offensive was just the start,” said Brandstatter. “We’re taking a holistic approach to decarbonisation: from production through service life to recycling. And we’re the first car maker to support the expansion of renewable energies on an industrial scale.”
There is plenty in the pipeline for VW from an electric point of view, with the ID.4 GTX, ID.5 (pictured) and ID.Buzz/Buzz Cargo models all coming in the next couple of years.
The ID.4 GTX is the first in a new line of sportier EVs, while the ID.5 is the third ID model, and is described as an SUV-Coupe. It will be revealed later this year, and come with a range of up to 335 miles. An ID.5 GTX is also planned.
The ID.Buzz Cargo light commercial and retro-designed ID.Buzz MPV models are also due in 2022, while Volkswagen is accelerating plans for a smaller electric car below the ID.3, due in production by 2025.