Volkswagen boss discusses I.D. electric car family

Volkswagen’s I.D. family of various mass-market electric cars - to enter production in 2020 at market-defining prices - will continue to grow, and run parallel to existing nameplates such as Golf, Tiguan and Passat.
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The company has so far previewed three EVs, headlined by the eponymous I.D. hatch concept that’ll enter production within three years, with a circa 600km range and priced the same as the next-generation Mk8 diesel Golf - which itself will premiere around the same time.

Launching concurrently will be an EV crossover SUV previewed by two I.D. Crozz concepts, to be sold as an alternative to the Tiguan Highline and premiering a range of next-generation autonomous technology and interactive in-car connectivity systems.

Pictured: Volkswagen I.D. concept

And from 2022 we will see the reborn Kombi/Bulli electric minivan, previewed by the I.D. Buzz. This body shape is enabled by being electric, because there’s no need for an engine, meaning the design can stay true to the original without compromising modern safety standards.

But the I.D. family will not stop here. We spoke this week with the Volkswagen brand’s board member who oversees global sales and marketing, Jurgen Stackmann, who gave us something of a low-down.

“I can reassure you it’s going to be more than the three you see,” he told us, stating that an electrified Passat equivalent that’d sit within the I.D. framework was all-but-inevitable.

Pictured: Volkswagen I.D. Crozz concept

“The next question is what sizes, up and down?” he added. “There’s no natural limit, though market demand will tell us the logic limit. I think the beauty of that platform is you can sit any car on it.”

However, Stackmann did state that any I.D. product that formed part of the first wave would require mass-market potential - meaning anything wilder or more emotive than the Buzz would have to wait.

“The first wave of cars are cars that are very emotional but mass capable - not niche. We want to have impact. I did [sweat over potential sales], but we’ve done a lot of customer clinics, and if we get the price, range and sex appeal right, there’s not a compromise,” he said.

Pictured: Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept

So, what kind of scale are we really talking? Volkswagen says its MEB-based cars must account for one million sales from the brand — and three-million from the wider VW Group as a whole including Skoda, Seat, Audi and Porsche — each year by 2025.

Ahead of the reveal of the I.D. Crozz this week, the overall boss of the Volkswagen Group globally, Matthias Mueller - who took the reins after the diesel scandal broke and has led the company’s corporate shift - discussed its EV plans, a key driver as it seeks to rebuild its image from the ashes.

“By 2030 there will be an electrified version of all 300 VW Group models sold around the world. By 2025 we will sell three million units [of EVs] annually. We’re sending clear signals to suppliers and politicians. And customers,” he said.

“Volkswagen is going to lead the way to the future. A breakthrough won’t be achieved by self-proclaimed pioneers, but those who put the tech on the road in relevant numbers… a group that sells 10 million cars every year in all segments and all regions.

“2030 is basically the day after tomorrow, which means we are going to pick up the pace. With our road map we are going to redefine our priorities.

“By 2030 we will make more than 20 billion euros available on vehicles that will be based on two newly-engineered EV platforms, in factories, in charging infrastructure, and sales and marketing.

“We have issued an invitation to tender for strategic partnerships in China, the US and Europe. It’s one of the highest procurements in history. The term-of-project investment is 50 billion euros. MEB is the key.

“Then we have the next generation which is the solid-state battery with 1000km ranges.

“Electro-mobility is still in its infancy, there are many unanswered questions about raw materials, infrastructure and battery recycling… for us the former and latter are inseparable, and creating infrastructures will be critical to success. China and California are leading the way.

“In Germany much more needs to be done, and only then will EVs come out of their niche.

“That’s what it’s all about. It’s a joint effort and everyone needs to make their contribution – the energy industry, auto industry and politicians.

“We still need IC (internal combustion) as a bridge toward the zero-emission era. They’re not opponents. By selling vehicles of today were are making the money to afford the vehicles of the future.

“… ask us hard questions. We welcome them.”