News - Volkswagen
VW EVs not before 2020 in Australia
ID family to spearhead battery powered Volkswagen range locally
27 Jun 2018
VOLKSWAGEN Group Australia (VGA) managing director Michael Bartsch has confirmed that an electric vehicle will not be offered locally until after 2020, despite the belief that Australians have a speedy take-up rate of new technology.
As previously reported by GoAuto, VGA has abandoned plans to offer the eGolf and sporty Golf GTE in the current Mk7.5 generation and it will not introduce the hybrid version of the next Golf Mk8.
However, the car-maker has now ruled out any EV before the arrival of the ID family of dedicated battery equipped models set to be built on a new, modular MEB platform from 2020.
“Europe will certainly be ahead of us in terms of the launch of the vehicles, simply because that’s where the mothership is, but it will cascade down” Mr Bartsch told GoAuto at a media event in Sydney last week.
“Will it be within six weeks or six months of them all coming out in Germany? I don’t know, that’s too far away to say. But what I can tell you is that all the (EV) volume planning premises include Australia.
Left: Volkswagen Group Australia managing director Michael Bartsch
“We’re an active part of the volume modelling, it has been made very clear by Volkswagen management that this is a global brand strategy, it’s not a European brand strategy. We will get these cars, we will get the Buzz, the Golf E, the ID, this will all come. But like everything, the pipeline on supply needs to be incrementally filled and rolled out.”
He clarified that “the next-generation of vehicles that relates to electric” will arrive “from 2020 onwards,” while VGA general manager of marketing Ben Wilks added that with “we aim to be as close to there as we possibly can”.
Mr Wilks insisted that it was not cost that ruled out the eGolf and Golf GTE, but rather supply issues that led Volkswagen to prioritise established European market demand first before introducing the models to markets such as Australia.
Most importantly, he continued, “price parity” of new ID models with current diesel-powered versions of the segments they play in “is exactly what the MEB products will represent for us”.
Globally, Volkswagen will roll out the ID small hatch, ID Buzz people-mover, ID Crozz small SUV and ID Vizzion large sedan quartet from inside two years, as it maps 16 production facilities around the world – six in China – in its mission to tally one million annual EV sales plus two million part-electric sales by 2025.
Nissan will introduce its next-generation Leaf to Australia this year, while Mitsubishi already has the Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), and premium sibling Audi has likewise pushed ahead with Q7 e-tron – years before a Volkswagen running on electricity arrives.
Mr Bartsch conceded that Australians will adopt the technology quickly, and most locals could buy an EV right now, but he said VGA would still await the roll-out of the ID family.
“(Buyers) will get it, they’re not stupid, Australia was one of the fastest adopters on these things (iPhones) and everything else, so we’re going to be equally as fast with (EVs),” he insisted.
“(And) when you look at Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, there’s absolutely no reason the cars (EVs) won’t fit in the market here. It’s not as complex as everyone wants to make out. You have three-phase power at home, there will be three-phase power here.
“What will happen is you supply the product and the support infrastructure will follow in nanoseconds and in some cases it will get ahead of it.
“You can buy an electric vehicle now, buy a charging station which you can buy off the shelf, plug your car in, and these cars will already have in excess of 400km of range – you can already go anywhere you want in Sydney and get back home and plug it in again. So what’s the problem? There isn’t this mythical thing you have to do out there to transition to electric vehicles.”
He added that although dealerships would welcome the introduction of EVs around the country, the arrival of Volkswagen EVs would be in line with competitors – that is, a steady stream of arrivals rather than an opening of floodgates.
“The question will be how fast does it ramp up and how fast does it all go in?” he continued.
“But if in a year’s time we say to our dealers that 40 per cent of our product portfolio is going to be electric, I guarantee you that within six months I can have every dealer set-up with charging stations ready to go.
“Even the most optimistic predictions are that by 2030 only 40 per cent of vehicles on the road are going to be pure electric. It’s not going to be a light switch, it’s not black and white, there are going to be internal combustion engines, electric-hybrid combinations and there are going to be electric.
“The futurists are all saying that it isn’t in our lifetime that one is totally eliminated to the advantage of another, it is simply going to be horses for courses – you will have a menu of choices.”
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