New sub-£20k Volkswagen baby electric SUV on the way
Volkswagen has already extensively previewed how it intends to build and structure its eagerly awaited line-up of all-electric I.D. vehicles from later this year, but Auto Express understands that a new, undisclosed member of the I.D. family is being planned by executives in Wolfsburg.
While the production I.D. hatchback will be the starting point for the brand’s upcoming all-electric line-up when it goes on sale in the autumn, it might not be the cheapest for long. A small, T-Cross-sized all-electric SUV is being considered, and it could go on sale with a price tag of less than £20,000 early next decade. Our exclusive images preview how it could look.
With a footprint similar to that of the brand’s newest and smallest SUV, the I.D. mini crossover would be a little over four metres in length. However, the battery-electric powertrain and packaging made possible by the MEB platform under the skin mean that interior space could surpass that of the larger T-Roc.
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Volkswagen has earmarked three factories as production sites for its electric car offensive. It’s understood that the entry-level mini-SUV would be assembled at the group’s facility in Emden, in north-west Germany, taking over the production line currently used to manufacture the Passat family saloon and Estate.
Recently, Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess suggested that the company could be in a position to offer such a vehicle early next decade, and singled out Elon Musk’s Tesla as the benchmark the German brand is aiming to better in the process.
“In 2020, we will have vehicles that can do everything that Tesla can, yet cost half as much,” Diess declared.
To achieve this, VW needs to maximise the 44billion euros it has pledged to invest in future electric vehicle designs, production lines and semi-autonomous technology for its new MEB all-electric platform – money that will be spent by 2023.
VW believes that with MEB, it has created the first true mass-production EV platform. The company is pinning its hopes on being able to build electric models on MEB at a rate and at a cost similar to that of its products on established, combustion engine platforms.
The firm has an ambitious sales target of 100,000 MEB vehicles in 2020, and believes it can be in a position to produce one million units on the platform by 2025.
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Such numbers depend on the continued reduction of battery costs and a steady supply chain. Big production numbers would allow VW to enjoy similar economies of scale with MEB as it currently does with current platforms such as MQB, by developing production processes and parts that can be shared across the entire Volkswagen Group and its brands.
MEB has been designed with three sizes of battery pack in mind. The entry-level mini-SUV will be fitted strictly with the smallest, likely to be 48kWh in size and feeding an electric motor driving the back axle only. Volkswagen claims a 205-mile range for the entry-level MEB products, recorded on the new WLTP standard. The rest of the MEB line-up will be available with a mid-spec battery enabling up to 280 miles on a single charge, while the longest-range version of the platform is rated at 341 miles.
Alongside the proposed mini-SUV and the I.D. hatch that will be revealed later this year, Volkswagen plans to release an all-electric minivan on the platform by 2022, based on the I.D. Buzz concept.
A larger SUV hinted at by the I.D. Crozz concept will also appear, as will a flagship saloon based on the I.D. Vizzion concept from the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. Across the entire group, 27 pure-electric vehicles on MEB are planned for reveal by 2022.
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