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VW delays Australian EV launch to 2022

Volkswagen blames Australian policy inertia for ID.3 EV launch blow-out

Volkswagen logo8 May 2019

THE Australian roll-out of Volkswagen’s game-changing electric vehicle range has blown out to 2022, with the German company blaming Australian government inertia on eco-friendly vehicles.
 
Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) had hoped to launch VW’s first all-electric vehicle, the ID.3, in local showrooms in 2021 – a year after Europe and the United Kingdom.
 
European order books for the Golf-sized hatchback open today, five months ahead of the formal public launch at the Frankfurt motor show.
 
Production is scheduled to start shortly after, with sales beginning in Europe and the UK in the first half of 2020.
 
Priority is being given to markets that have pro-EV policies, with China and the United States to follow the European roll-out. These markets offer incentives for buyers to shift to EVs.
 
With no such policies in place in Australia, VGA has been pushed down the list.
 
VGA managing director Michael Bartsch said he envisaged that Australia’s EV roll out will begin in 2022 after Europe, the US and China.
 
“Unfortunately Australia is in danger of losing its place in the queue for EVs because this country’s regulations lag behind those of most developed nations,” he said.
 
Mr Bartsch – a board member of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries – has been critical of the federal government’s record on automotive environmental policies, including a decision to postpone the introduction of low-sulphur petrol until 2027.
 
He said this meant Australia was already missing out on the latest and most efficient petrol engines.
 
“Official inertia has resulted in Australia remaining mired in Euro 5 and the outmoded NEDC testing cycle while much of the world has moved onto Euro 6 and WLTP testing,” he said.
 
“The consequence of inaction over conventional vehicles is that such backward markets may not be prioritised for new technology of all types, including EVs.”
 
While the Coalition has been running a scare campaign on EVs, saying the rival Labor Party wants to “take your HiLux away”, Labor has gone into the election with a target of 50 per cent EVs in new vehicle sales by 2030.
 
In Europe, the ID.3 is expected to be a sell-out success before the final production version is even shown in public, with pre-orders for the ID.3 First Edition exceeding production capacity.
 
The company expects to sell 100,000 electric vehicles in 2020, rising to one million a year by 2030.
 
Images of a camouflaged ID.3 First Edition were leaked on YouTube in Holland this week, seemingly confirming it is a Golf-sized five-door hatch capable of travelling up to 550km on a full charge.
 
The car appears to have a stubbier bonnet than the Golf, along with a stretched wheelbase, meaning it should be more spacious than VW’s long-time sales champion.
 
The ID.3 is the first VW vehicle to be based on its modular MEB platform that will spawn 27 new EVs across the VW Group by 2025.
 
European pundits believe the ID.3 will have its motor in the back, drawing comparisons with the iconic VW Beetle.
 
Although the MEB platform is said to be capable of delivering a driving range of more than 600km, VW appears to have opted for a maximum of 550km for the ID.3, at least initially.
 
Up to four battery sizes are expected, starting with an entry level 48kWh unit capable of 330km of driving range. Mid-range variants will get 55kWh and 62kWh batteries, with the flagship getting the top 82kWh pack for the maximum 550km range.
 
The 400-volt system will be capable of being charged to 80 per cent in 30 to 40 minutes on a 125kW DC fast charger.
 
The opening of the ID.3 order book is being promoted with a massive marketing blitz in Europe under the ID Volkswagen Just Electric banner.

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