Recently, VW has given several statements about how they want to be the leader in electric vehicles. Wait, no… wait… stifle that laugh! Let’s hear them out:
VW CEO Martin Winterkorn said that 14 models from several VW Group brands will be offered worldwide as EVs — pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids — or as conventional hybrids by 2014. If there is sufficient demand, as many as 40 new models could be EVs or hybrids. He vowed to be the industry’s electric-vehicle leader by 2018.
Source — The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130911/AUTO04/309100065#ixzz2h2sGukk1
Emphasis mine. Now, this is not just another hat in the ring. VW has been experimenting with EVs since the 1980s. Then again, Mitsubishi produced an EV in the 70s; Nissan produced their first EV in 1947!
Now, let’s look at the EVs that VW is going to produce starting in 2015.
On the left is the VW e-Up. On paper, this vehicle is nearly identical to the Mitsubishi i-MiEV. Same top speed, similar acceleration, similar battery capacity, similar range. The e-Up won’t be sold in the US, leaving it to the market where the i-MiEV is doing its best: Europe. So, why get an e-Up instead of the i-MiEV? It’s gonna have to come down to price — an area where VW doesn’t exactly compete well.
On the right is the VW e-Golf. On paper, this vehicle is nearly identical to the Nissan LEAF. Similar top speed, acceleration, battery, and range. The LEAF is sold everywhere, so I expect the e-Golf to be sold everywhere as well. So, why get an e-Golf instead of a LEAF? Price? Not likely.
Are we seeing a pattern here?
For VW to become a leader in EVs, they need leading-edge vehicles, neither of which the e-Up or e-Golf are. How will they complete? Price? We’ll see if VW can do it.