Even though VW has been making some large-scale commitments to electric vehicles, more recently through a giant $10 billion investment over the next 5 years, it can be hard to take them seriously when the only EVs that they built from the ground up are some “weirdmobile” concepts – like the one pictured above.
Nonetheless, the German automaker is hyper confident that it can go from laggard to leader in electric vehicles. CEO Herbert Diess went as far as saying that “anything Tesla can do, we can surpass.”
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Diess was speaking at what VW called its “first” annual press conference, he added about the EV market (via Financial Times):
“We are confident that in this new world we will become a market leader,” he added. “[Tesla] is a competitor we take seriously. Tesla comes from a high-priced segment, however they are moving down,” Mr Diess said, referring to the $35,000 Model 3, which enters production this summer. “It’s our ambition, with our new architecture, to stop them there, to rein them in.”
The new architecture he is referring to is the MEB platform, which has been developed for the next generation of the Volkswagen Group’s electric vehicles.
The first vehicle that they plan to release on the platform is actually the one pictured above – the first of VW’s I.D. concept.
VW has been presenting it as a Model 3 competitor. They claim that it will have a NEDC-rated range of “400 to 600 km” (~250 to 375 miles) depending on the battery pack configuration.
Before even unveiling the concept last year, VW announced that it would beat the Model 3 and X in electric range by misrepresenting the NEDC-rated range of the Model 3. In a presentation, it pinned the two vehicles against each other even though they are both unreleased yet and they are planned to be released 3 years apart.
VW mislabeled the range displayed for the Tesla Model 3. The footnote clearly shows that the range should be ‘NEFZ’, which is the German abbreviation for ‘NEDC’, but they used the only range Tesla disclosed for the Model 3 which is “a minimum of 215 EPA-estimated miles” (345 km) – not NEDC.
Tesla didn’t release estimated NEDC range for the Model 3 yet, but by extrapolating the figure, it should be closer to 250 miles (~403 km) or pretty much the same as the upcoming VW, unlike what this chart suggests.
Where VW has the opportunity to best Tesla is with pricing. The company hasn’t disclosed the expected pricing, but it is believed to be competitive with the Model 3 based on the way they have been positioning the vehicle against it.
Either way, the vehicle is not planned to hit production until 2020. Things have time to change.
In the meantime, it’s encouraging that VW is modeling its EV effort on Tesla. Earlier this year, Diess also admitted that Tesla Model S’ success screwed VW’s plans for the new electric Phaeton and that they had to go back to the drawing board.
Featured Image:VW lets media drive demo version of its all-electric I.D. Concept presented as a ‘Tesla Model 3 killer’ – via Carfection