Report: VW planning to challenge Tesla with $21K e-car

By Christopher Rauwald | Bloomberg News

Volkswagen plans to add a subcompact crossover costing about 18,000 euros ($21,000) to its all-electric I.D. range, expanding its lineup of zero-emissions vehicles that are more affordable than those of Tesla Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

The entry level vehicle may be built at VW’s factory in Emden, Germany, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan hasn’t received final approval by the manufacturer’s supervisory board. Sales could start sometime after 2020, and the company expects to sell about 200,000 per year, they said.

That would put it on par with current production levels of the more-expensive Tesla Model 3, the U.S. electric-car leader’s most affordable vehicle, which is due to arrive in Europe next year.

The I.D. range is at the heart of one of the auto industry’s most aggressive electric-car initiatives — a plan to put 50 models on the road across the group, including volume brands such as VW, Seat and Skoda. The world’s largest automaker plans to use its massive scale to offer less-expensive e-cars than rivals like Tesla, hoping to blunt their early advantage as more consumers adopt zero-emissions vehicle.

The first in the lineup is the I.D. Neo, which will be made at Zwickau, Germany, and begin sales in 2020. With less complexity and fewer model variants, VW may be able to produce the car in roughly half the time needed to assemble a Golf hatchback, according to the people. VW has said it will be sold for a price of a comparable diesel car, suggesting a price tag of roughly 23,000 euros.

A mid-sized electric sedan and station wagon named I.D. Aero could add production of another 100,000 cars per year at the Emden plant, as VW seeks to safeguard employment. The factory so far relies on the Passat sedan and station wagon, which would move to the Czech site of sister brand Skoda in Kvasiny around 2022, according to the people. The Emden factory faced several production halts this year due to sluggish demand as consumers increasingly opt for SUVs.

In China, VW intends to expand electric-car production beyond a factory in Anting and a site in Foshan that have been selected already to make purely battery-powered cars as of 2020. In North America, VW plans to make electric cars at the company’s only U.S. vehicle factory in Chattanooga.

The production revamp, dubbed project Polaris internally, is part of a large-scale overhaul aimed at allocating vehicle manufacturing more efficiently across VW’s stable of 12 automotive brands. VW is seeking to wring billions of euros in savings for its e-car push, through closer cooperation between brands and measures such as the culling of slow-selling models, trims and color options.

Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess said in a recent interview the company might license its new electric-car technology, dubbed MEB, to Ford Motor Co. as part of the two companies’ cooperation talks. VW is also discussing sharing the technology with other global automakers, according to the people. Teaming up with …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business


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