Volkswagen’s gargantuan engineering might will well and truly by put to the test with arguably the two most pivotal models for the brand set to debut within weeks of each other, a member of the company’s board of management has disclosed.
Jürgen Stackman, board member and head of sales and marketing, revealed to TMR that the company’s top-selling Golf range is set to roll over to a new model generation in 2020 and just one month later, the first of Volkswagen's crucial new family of electric vehicles, the I.D. hatch, will follow.
“There is going to be an extremely strong new Golf 8 coming, it will launch just a month ahead of the I.D. We believe that they both stand on their own feet, in their own rights.” Stackmann said, at last week's Frankfurt Motor Show.
The Volkswagen Group used the Frankfurt event to endorse its commitment to the future of mobility, with a range of electric and autonomous concept cars on display from Volkswagen, Skoda, and Audi.
At an earlier preview event ahead of the show, group CEO Matthias Mueller announced plans for 80 electrified vehicles by 2025 across the Volkswagen Group which includes Audi, Porsche, Bentley, Skoda, Volkswagen, Lamborghini, and Bugatti.
Stackmann clarified the Volkswagen brand’s specific approach, revealing the timing and potential driving range of the first of the I.D. family of electric vehicles as well as giving an indication of the new model’s expected pricing.
“The journey of electric mobility will start 2020, early 2020, with the I.D. which is Golf-size, and basically our ambition is to offer a range between 400 and 600 kilometre gross, so basically that gives you between 300 and 450 kilometres net range.” He said.
“This car is basically positioned at the price of a Golf Diesel, this is our price target for this car in 2020”
That gives Volkswagen some wriggle room, as the tightening of emissions regulations could potentially see diesel-powered vehicles push up in price slightly by 2020, but at current rates that indicates a potential starting point of around $37,000 in Australia, meaning a sub $40,000 base price could still be possible by 2020.
Although the new range of I.D. vehicles (including the I.D. Crozz crossover and I.D. Buzz people mover concepts also on display at Frankfurt) and the MEB electric platform they’re built on will be crucial to Volkswagen’s future vision, internal combustion will remain the driving force behind the majority of the brand’s offerings.
“We think we are probably the most optimistic brand globally in regards to mix of electric car sales. We will have 80 percent of combustion engine sales at the time of electric car sales so that’s where the roots are separating.” Stackmann said of the company’s expectations for the emerging EV vehicles.
The arrival of the MEB platform, specifically tailored for electric vehicles only, also spells an end to Volkswagen’s current e-Golf program, which shares its underpinnings with the regular internal combustion range, a move that’s seen as needlessly complex for the emerging generation of EVs.
“It won’t have an e-Golf because we will stop electrification of next generation Golf at plug-in hybrid, so that’s what it still has essentially,” Stackmann said of the Mark 8 Golf range.
“If you look at the battery pack of the MQB [in the current e-Golf] it is distributed everywhere. It looks fantastic, but it looks not very optimal.”
When questioned about Volkswagen’s engineering capacity in light of creating two separate but equally important new models for the brand, Stackmann was quite open about the company’s limits - taking little issue with development of two vehicle lines simultaneously, but with some reservations about the increased load of engineering future-proof tech into both vehicles.
“If you look at the launch dates they are just a month apart in future, but this is not really our worry because we know how to do cars. I think the true stress-test is our capability to bring together connectivity, autonomous drive, and electric at the same time.”