Another Pull on the Pipe

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Volkswagen just took another pull on the crack pipe – announcing yet another electric car, a Golf-sized hatchback based on the I.D. concept unveiled at the Paris auto show in October.

The automaker has already signed off on launching two additional models based on its new MEB modular electric platform.

The second will be an SUV, planned for after 2020. A concept will debut at the Shanghai show next month. The third, a minibus with self-driving capability, was previewed by the I.D. Buzz at the Detroit auto show in January and is expected by 2022.

VW brand CEO Herbert Diess said contracts to source the batteries have already been signed and his team is currently sourcing the components for a new electric/electronics architecture.

“It’s a very tight time plan for 2020, but we need the cars then to comply with our fleet targets. So, it’s a necessity to achieve the launch dates, but it’s well on the way,” Diess told analysts at VW’s headquarters here last week.

The EU is asking automakers to reduce fleet CO2 emissions to 95 grams per kilometer by 2021. In China, expected to be the most important market for EVs, particularly for the I.D. SUV, regulatory requirements foresee fuel consumption of just 5 liters per 100 km, which is roughly equivalent to 117 grams.

Volkswagen Group China boss said the China target will be difficult to achieve because there is no market for diesels in China and sales are skewed towards longer and taller cars such as SUVs that are heavier and less aerodynamic. “This five-liter target is as challenging as the 95 gram CO2 target in Europe for 2020. In addition, China is on the way to implementing really the most challenging emission regulations worldwide,” Heizmann told analysts.

Volkswagen has committed itself in China to selling about 400,000 so-called New Energy Vehicles (NEV) in 2020 consisting of a mix of pure-battery cars and plug-in hybrids with the number growing in the years thereafter.

Diess said China will be “our volume base and scale base for all the electric vehicles we are doing.”

“We have to sell there close to 1 million electric vehicles by the year 2025 — just Volkswagen — and from this volume base we can really do something in the rest of the world,” he said.

VW Group’s other brands including Skoda, Seat and Audi are working on their derivatives that will be built off the MEB architecture that VW is developing for the group. Thanks to the volumes that the VW brand expects from MEB, it should be able to earn a decent margin.

“I am confident that already the first cars will be profitable, not hugely profitable but profitable, and the later-coming, more SUV-based, bigger cars should achieve good returns on investment and also good margins,” Diess said.


  1. (off topic)

    I watched a strange movie last night called “The Last Chase.” It stared Lee Majors as a former race car driver in a dystopian world run by a central authority. He decides to check out to the “free state” of California, which I guess irks the authoritarians in charge, so they send a former flying ace and jet pilot, played by Burgess Meredith, out to catch him. Along for the ride is a young nerdy kid who helps him get out of jams by knowing how to mix chemicals into explosives.

    Of course there’s very little gasoline (it was made in 1981, when instead of complaining that OPEC cut production, we starting worrying about running out of oil), a backstory that included a plague or germ warfare or both, and travel limited to bicycle or electric golf cart.

    It’s a terribly produced film (I watched the MST3K version), but wow, the plot is right out of the libertarian playbook.

    And here’s the ironic twist: It was produced with grants from the Canadian government!

    • Eric, ever notice how non-pc films now get no press? And, their ratings are negligible by the paid for govt. statist reviewers. Ask people if they’ve seen Fight Club, virtually nobody I have asked the question answers ‘yes’. V for Vendetta, same. The wife picked up a sorta cop movie one day but it was a Will Ferrel movie “The Other Guys”. I doubt anyone has heard of it. Will and his partner find illegal goings on by a Wall Street billionaire and in the ensuing monologue there are some great lines about how the largest banks and companies couldn’t possibly be so bad at bookkeeping(Will Ferrel’s job) and he names off some of the largest scandals to ever hit the front page. But the end of the movie when the credits are running makes the whole thing worth it. If this movie, or even the final credits, were shown to everyone in the US, those who can read and understand what they read(a significant portion of the electorate, mainly ethnics who seem to have no grasp of what they read might be the exception)we’d have a revolution. I won’t give away the end simply because I can’t remember everything listed. For a spoof movie, it hits pretty hard at the criminals that run the country and fleece the public.

      The world is governed more by appearance than realities so that it is fully as
      necessary to seem to know something as to know it.”
      — Daniel Webster

      “History does not exist for us until and unless we dig it up, interpret it, and
      put it together. Then the past comes alive, or, more accurately, it is revealed
      for what it has always been – a part of the present.”
      — Frederick W. Turner III


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