By on November 9, 2018

Volkswagen doesn’t want competitors unsurping its electric car efforts, so there’s a plan afoot to give buyers what they want at a much lower price, sources claim. Two reports, citing those with knowledge of a strategy not yet approved by the automaker’s supervisory board, state the company plans to go cheaper than its upcoming line of I.D.-badged EVs.

How cheap, you ask? How about $21,000?

That’s the price stated by Bloomberg in its late-Thursday report, with sources claiming the vehicle — a subcompact crossover — would enter production in 2020, likely at VW’s Emden, Germany assembly plant. Production would total 200,000 vehicles per year.

VW’s first MEB-platform electric vehicle, called the I.D. Neo (seen above), is also headed for a 2020 production start date, with the company claiming the hatchback will start around $26,000. Slotting a new, cheaper vehicle below that would help cover VW Group’s bases. While the report cites Tesla as a main competitor, the yet-undelivered base Model 3 carries a price of $35,000 in the U.S. and wouldn’t be any less costly in Europe. With this entry-level EV, VW would be guarding its back door against the likes of Renault and other affordable, mainstream automakers.

A report in Reuters states pretty much the same thing, with a source saying the new vehicle would cost less than 20,000 euros (or less than $22,836). All of this is designed to protect VW’s massive domestic workforce from dastardly, diesel-hating lawmakers and cunning automotive rivals. VW is expected to lay out the plan at a Nov. 16 strategy meeting.

With VW’s product horizon filling up with EVs, plant capacity becomes a problem. While the automaker still makes internal combustion cars and light trucks, not all of those models need to be produced in Germany. Production of VW’s Transporter van could make its way to a Ford plant in Turkey, a source claimed. Ah, the Ford connection rears its head again.

A slew of reports in recent days suggest the VW-Ford partnership could take a number of forms, and it’s not out of the question that VW would grant its American counterpart access to its MEB electric architecture. In addition to a light commercial vehicle pair-up, the German automaker also seems interested in the Ford Ranger platform.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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44 Comments on “Volkswagen Has a Low-priced EV Plan to Keep Rivals At Bay: Report...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Lot of “ifs” to make this a win, but I’m hopeful. Next car will have some level of electrification… preferably all of it. They just need to give these things adequate oomph (0-60 in the 6s) and ~200 miles of range… I’d be down.

    • 0 avatar
      ahintofpepperjack

      Both the model 3 and the Chevy Bolt meet those requirements. If VW can match that and do it for under $25,000 they would have a winner.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “The only (automakers) that haven’t gone bankrupt are Tesla and Ford,” … ” There’s a good chance Ford doesn’t make it in the next recession.”

        Elon Musk said Ford will not avoid bankruptcy in the next US recession

        https://tech2.org/…/elon-musk-said-ford-will-not-avoid-bankruptcy-in-the- next-us-recession/‎
        13 hours ago

        I’ve been prediction that Ford, the most pickup truck-reliant volume automaker in the world to generate both revenue and profits, is incredibly vulnerable WHEN the next downturn occurs (it’s already begun, btw), and this even more true with the completely incompetent Jim Hackett and Jim Farley at the helm.

        However, it’s rich for Musk to opine on this, given that Tesla, barring an absolute divine intervention of an almost unprecedented manner, given its cash burn rate and overall financial morbidity, in an era now where the largest (and very competent) automakers such as VW are gunning for Tesla (recent e.g. is the $21,000 VW EV on the horizon), will likely fall 1st.

    • 0 avatar
      Asdf

      A range of 200 miles is shockingly low, the range would need to be comparable to that of a petrol- or diesel-powered car of similar size, and of course the charging time would need to be comparable to the time it takes to fill a fuel tank. If VW cannot even manage to meet these modest criteria with its BEVs, then it does not have the required competence to compete in the auto industry with BEVs and should refrain from launching BEVs until it can. And of course, that applies to other BEV makers as well, such as Tesla.

      • 0 avatar
        ahintofpepperjack

        Or like most people who drive an electric vehicle, you charge it at home overnight and don’t care how long it takes to charge.

        • 0 avatar
          Asdf

          Charging a BEV at night does nothing whatsoever to decrease the charging time, and so is of no relevance. However, the frequent appearance of this nonsensical argument in BEV discussions nevertheless suggests that BEV ownership makes people [redacted].

          • 0 avatar
            healthy skeptic

            @Asdf

            >> [VW] it does not have the required competence to compete in the auto industry with BEVs and should refrain from launching BEVs until it can.

            What if enough consumers in the free market don’t share your opinion, and buy them anyway?

            >> Charging a BEV at night does nothing whatsoever to decrease the charging time, and so is of no relevance.

            Actually, charging at night makes the issue of charging time irrelevant, at least for some. I plan to get an EV at some point, but I would never do it if I couldn’t charge at home. If that were the case, I would agree with you.

          • 0 avatar
            slowcanuck

            Charging at home, where most cars spend at least 8 continuous hours nearly every day, addresses the charging-time constraint for a sizable demographic.

            Put into non-electric terms: if you could refuel your petrol car at home, and within 4 hrs you would have enough gas to get you around and back home again 300+ days of the year, how often would you visit a retail gas station?

          • 0 avatar
            Asdf

            There is no “free market” in a market where government subsidies skew the market towards defective BEVs. If there were a free market, there wouldn’t be any BEVs on the market, save for a few niche vehicles.

            As for the irrelevant night time charging bromide that the [redacted] insist on regurgitating, that’s merely a case of circumstance compensating for a technological defect. It’s like saying it doesn’t matter that the windscreen wipers don’t work because it’s not raining.

          • 0 avatar
            Kyree S. Williams

            Let’s watch our language and refrain from name calling, asdf.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        “A range of 200 miles is shockingly low, the range would need to be comparable to that of a petrol- or diesel-powered car of similar size, and of course the charging time would need to be comparable to the time it takes to fill a fuel tank.”

        Why? How many times in the last 12 months have you driven >200 miles in 1 day, and would you say >200 mile drives are representative of most people’s driving habits?

        “Charging a BEV at night does nothing whatsoever to decrease the charging time”

        What relevance does charging time have if one is charging overnight? We have a gasoline powered car if we need to go somewhere far. For the other 95% of the driving I do an EV would work just fine.

        • 0 avatar
          Asdf

          Sigh… yet another round of someone regurgitating the usual unbearable bromides. BEVs need to be held to the same standard as ICE-powered cars with regards to range, charging time and price, and the Elon-bots really need to stop parroting excuses for shoddy BEV performance by referring to restrictive use-cases.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            “BEVs need to be held to the same standard as ICE-powered cars with regards to range, charging time and price,”

            Why?

            The only thing BEVs have to compete with ICE cars on is price.

          • 0 avatar
            Giskard

            Yet another deflection that completely ignores the question at hand – if you can “fuel” your (@asdf) car automatically while you sleep what difference does it make if it takes 1 minute or 7 hours? Your refusal to even entertain the thought that there might be some benefit to BEV cars is quite interesting and makes it very difficult to take anything you say seriously.

            Your strawman argument goes both ways, too, you realize. Why would someone buy an ICE vehicle if they can’t have fuel delivered directly to their home so they never have to make a special trip to acquire it? Why can’t it be a fraction of the cost too? Why can it not be generated from diverse sources? Why is there such a long pause between when I press the accelerator pedal and the car speeds up? Why do I have to warm it up when it’s cold and (for some vehicles) let it cool down before turning it off?

            And I am no “Elon-bot” or ICE hater. I’ve been driving manual transmission sports cars for most of my life, but I’ve kept my mind open and realized that we’re reaching that tipping point where modern electric cars have more pros than cons for a lot of people and situations (including mine).

          • 0 avatar
            Whatnext

            Says who? I’d be happy to know I can just plug my car in when I come home and its ready to go the next morning, rather than having to find a gas station and spend precious time refueling.

          • 0 avatar
            Asdf

            @Giskard: You quack like you’re an Elon-bot, but assert that you’re not an Elon-bot! How novel! I guess it must be true, then, even though you faithfully parrot the “what difference does it make how long it takes to charge the BEV at night” line, like all good Elon-bots do.

            On the subject of straw-men – where is my “refusal to even entertain the thought that there might be some benefit to BEV cars”? How am I supposed to take anything you say seriously, when you attribute this to me?

            Your “counter-arguments” about fuel delivered directly to their homes, at a fraction of the cost, and generated from diverse sources mainly have to do with infrastructure implementations and politics, and not with technological limitations in the vehicles themselves, and so are irrelevant deflections. (Only your arguments about acceleration and engine heat have some semblance of merit.)

            Thanks in part to Elon-bots who adamantly REFUSE to hold BEVs to the same standard as ICE-powered cars with regards to such basic and humble requirements as range, charging time and price, we’re NOT reaching that tipping point where modern electric cars have more pros than cons for a lot of people and situations – on the contrary, BEV technology development appears to have stagnated. If only BEV consumers had been using their consumer power to demand better BEVs, and not merely stuck to regurgitating the same old excuses over and over again, perhaps BEVs would have been competitive by now, as BEV manufacturers had been forced to make competitive vehicles. I can only assume that the Elon-bots are content with the status quo, and actively want BEVs to remain noncompetitive outside of their limited niche. Otherwise, they would surely have agreed with me instead of inexplicably spending time arguing against me.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Cars are not in use 95% of the time. So time to charge is not an impossible problem.

        • 0 avatar
          Giskard

          @asdf: You’re deflecting the question again. You’ve asserted over and over again that, as a “fact”, BEV vehicles are essentially useless unless they can be charged up as quickly as an ICE car can be fueled up (a couple of minutes). All I’ve done here is ask why that is, particularly for the very common case of a car used for commuting the majority of the time. If that makes me an “Elon-bot” in your eyes, so be it, but that doesn’t make the answer to the question above any more clear to me.

          On not acknowledging that there are pros to owning a BEV car – kudos on accepting the possibility that they may have better acceleration characteristics and have less of a need for idling uselessly.

          I’m not sure where you’re getting at with my other counter arguments, however. There are some ICE vehicles that can run on different fuels (E85, gasoline, and natural gas, for instance), but nowhere near the diversity available to anything running on electricity. Electrons are also significantly cheaper than any ICE fuel I’m aware of and anyone that’s actually lived with a BEV for at least a few days knows how convenient it is to have your fuel delivered automatically to your door (assuming you live in a house or have a spot where you rent with adequate electricity). Or are you positing that ICE vehicles are on the verge of converting to a fuel (say natural gas or propane) that can be delivered to most homes without a huge build out of infrastructure and that some one is going to figure out how to generate such fuel from solar, geothermal, hydro, nuclear, biomas, etc. energy sources?

          • 0 avatar

            Forget it, Paul. You can’t argue with his sort.

            And don’t take that tone of voice with me. I fought the war for your sort.

            Bet you’re sorry you won.

  • avatar
    redapple

    An observation……

    This article was posted – what 45 minutes ago?
    One comment until mine. Hum, this is a car guy site and 1 comment???

    If we car guys dont care about electrics, what about the 99% of other people. Is less than zero interest possible?

    • 0 avatar
      ahintofpepperjack

      I care about electrics, but I only access this site on my computer with an Ad blocker. The Ads here are horrible, usually preventing the page from loading properly, or automatically forwarding me to some other website. Sometimes on mobile I get a blank page and a voice saying “YOUR ANDROID DEVICE IS INFECTED”

    • 0 avatar
      vehic1

      redapple: It’s not at all certain that comments on this site are representative of most car buyers. Overall interest in and sales of electrified vehicles is climbing, even if the old guard dislikes that.

    • 0 avatar
      Asdf

      Car guys at TTAC? The most vocal commenters here are merely Elon-bots, with a passion for long charging times, short ranges and government subsidies, and with a chronic disdain for cars.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        The other day I had occasion to be driving in the opposite direction to the morning rush hour traffic coming from the north shore into downtown Vancouver. At least every 50th car was a Tesla. Remarkable. Even startling.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      There are plenty of ICE related articles that evoke cricket noises from the B&B. Likewise I’m sure there have been articles about BEVs that have generated a lot of response. The two things are unrelated

  • avatar
    Asdf

    It’s odd how much noise VW is making about its future BEVs, because these vehicles have no reason to exist whatsoever if VW hasn’t managed to figure out how to fix the defect that plagues all BEVs made to date, namely the fact that charging one takes FAR longer than the five minutes it should reasonably take.

    It all suggests that either VW HAS managed to fix the charging problem, OR (far more likely) that intends to launch inherently defective BEV vehicles in the marketplace. If it’s the latter, then thankfully there’s still time for VW to pull the plug on its BEV plans, though it should waste no time in doing so and will have to do so ASAP – in fact, that would be the only sensible thing for CW to do, just like Tesla closing up shop is the only sensible thing for that company to do if it’s still not able and/or willing to fix the charging time defect after 15 years of chronic failures. Thankfully for VW, it is able to manufacture proper cars as well, which is something Tesla doesn’t have the necessary competence to do.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Cheap EVs are already available at your local golf course.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      This is true, but……

      IF VW can retail a cheap PEV, I believe that they will be inundated with new customers.

      EV/PEV/Hybrid buyers today are well-heeled early adopters, many who buy an EV as a third or fourth vehicle or a toy.

      IF VW succeeds in bringing a $21K EV to market, they will attract a whole new crowd of real-world buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        Nobody makes money on EVs selling for $30K, or $50K, or $100+K, and many complain that these more expensive EVs lack sufficient range, are slow (except Tesla), and not available in the body styles and sizes that most people want (i.e. pickups and SUVs). So how likely is it that VW can make a $21K EV that has range or speed or size greater than a golf cart and still eke out a profit sufficient to pay for development costs or finance the next generation?

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          If a basic Nissan Leaf can hustle to 60 in the mid-7 second range (a fair bit quicker than an ICE Versa/Sentra which seems adequate for their target market), I think any complaints of accelerative performance are pretty irrelevant unless you’re John Force.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @stingray: While you’re dead wrong about $50k and $100k EV profitability, I’m skeptical about a $21K EV.

          The only possibility is that I know of two companies that are having success with semi-solid batteries and one is even selling high c-rate versions for drones now. They’re lighter and smaller than current technology, so a vehicle could achieve a given range with a smaller capacity battery. The trouble is that right now the prices are really steep. But, they just started production and there’s only one company with them on the market. The manufacturing processes for them are less complex, so prices should go down with volume.

          It’s a stepping stone to solid-state and I think it might be the next technology. Still, those companies are at least a year or two away from mass production for EVs – at least as far as I know. At any rate, keep an eye on semi-solid technology. I think it’s the most promising of the new technologies and is here now (meaning you can purchase one today) for some applications.

          • 0 avatar
            stingray65

            One quarter of company profitability does not mean Tesla EVs are profitable, BMW does not make money on the $50K i3 and GM does not make a profit on the $40K Bolt. I’ll believe the solid-state hype when I actually start seeing them in reliable production and achieving their cost and performance promise. There is always some new battery that will change the industry – and only needs another year or two to perfect.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            @stingray: Semi-Solids are in production and available for purchase now. Today. http://www.solidenergysystems.com/hermes/

            The cells are high c-rate versions for drones and expensive, but they are in production. You can buy them today. They are here and it’s no longer hype. The high c-rate versions are not suitable for EVs, but they plan to have EV versions in production in 2020. Again, these are semi-solids and not full solid-state. It’s an intermediate step in technology.

            “and only needs another year or two to perfect.”

            That’s not entirely true. It’s not so much the battery tech, it’s putting together the technology to manufacture it in mass quantities and building the factories. The companies I’m most familiar with have been keeping to a schedule. I think one company said 5 years (they have 2 to go) and the other one I know is saying 2020 for production. Power density is 450 Wh/kg, but I still haven’t seen numbers on durability or cold weather performance. So yeah, maybe we could still be disappointed. But, I’m optimistic. For now, you can get a semisolid for your drone.

            Solid Power expects to have about 1 mega-Watt hour of cell production in place in Colorado first half of next year.

            https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-to-commercialize-solid-state-batteries-without-going-bankrupt

            I like Ionic Materials extrusion process for manufacturing Solid State batteries, but I haven’t seen plans for mass production from them.

            Furthermore, the i3 and Bolt lack of profitability issues are because they were expensive designs. Read the Munro report comparing the Bolt with the Model 3 costs. Besides, the i3 was a learning exercise with carbon tech and electric power, so wasn’t designed for profitability.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        Do you have to be wealthy to buy a used electrified vehicle? How many electrified vehicles cost less than fancy pickups?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Anyone can build a $21k EV.

    Range? -No answer.

    Profitability for the mfr? Doesn’t much matter if you have ICEs to balance out the losses.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    I agree with highdesertcat, I’m retired and most trips are from Nashville to Bowling Green Ky ( 100 miles one way ) would love to have an EV at that price!GM,lets build one to match!

  • avatar
    tylanner

    EVs are a global mandate….Funny how in many of the efforts to boil this prospect down to the essentials invariably omit the only factors that really matter….

    The EV problems presented are often made from a position of self-prescribed ignorance…a fatal partiality.

    These are targeted at daily commuters….an EVs range only limits the population of commuters for which the product is applicable. In fact, I would argue that an EV with a shorter range (smaller battery) has a place in the market…if your commute is only 20 miles each way it wouldn’t make sense to carry 200 extra miles worth of battery mass each way everyday…some people cannot grasp the simple foundation of what makes EVs benefitial…

    The ICE is not the benchmark…it’s the dinosaur.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      From Clifford Stoll in 1995 in a Newsweek article:

      “Then there’s cyberbusiness. We’re promised instant catalog shopping—just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet—which there isn’t—the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.”

      Now the malls are shutting down.

      There’s even more in the full article:

      https://www.newsweek.com/clifford-stoll-why-web-wont-be-nirvana-185306

      There’s also Samuel Vauclain of Baldwin Locomotive. Thought steam would dominate into the 80’s.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        MCS – so it only took 23 years for Stoll to be proven partially wrong (as I believe there are still substantial brick and mortar retail going on)? I don’t know when Vauclain’s quote is from, but he died in 1940 and steam locomotives were still selling well into the early 1950s in the US, late 50s in the UK and Germany, and were not taken out of daily service until this century in India and China. Governments also didn’t need to give subsidies for the railroads to convert to diesel/electric or for shoppers to move online.

    • 0 avatar
      stingray65

      Except you need lots of extra capacity because current battery technology requires you only use the middle 50% to 60% of capacity to avoid premature degradation. Factor in some cold weather and you lose another 20 to 30% of capacity. So your 20 mile battery ends up giving a reliable range of 7 or 8 miles in cold weather, and will still likely need 15 minutes or more to charge back up to 80%. Poor range is the reason a used Leafs can be purchased for little more than the price of a bag of leaves.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        “you only use the middle 50% to 60% of capacity to avoid premature degradation” Not really true with current technology. I’d say the top 70 percent is fine, but… that may be because manufacturers are putting in extra capacity at the top to give the illusion of a 100% charge. That comes from my own personal experience and Tesloops 300k and 400k mile Teslas.

        I’ve made long trips in subzero Fahrenheit temps in a 100-mile range Leaf. I think the first leg was just under 50 miles and the second 35 and the temp was -4. Can’t remember the exact numbers. But, still, a 50-mile range out of it at highway speeds.

        Recently, at 30 degrees Fahrenheit, I think I’m seeing a drop to 82 miles range. Speed was 60 mph most of the way on a 55 mph road with some 65 mph driving as well. This is on a Leaf mileage in the mid 70k’s. So, they’ve made some improvements in the batteries from what was in the Leaf 1.0. Also, I have no problem charging to 100% every time for the last 70k+ miles. Tesloop charges to 100% as well and they haven’t had major degradation either.

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    My city car is a compact 1993 Renault Twingo. It is a cheap, disposable car that has gone through four owners but continues to serve me well. However, with the current CO2 hysteria here I may soon be forced to get rid of this reliable but ‘highly polluting’ (according to our hysterical virtue signaling politicians) car.

    An EV for the city would be wonderful, such as a Renault Zoe with a range of 180-316 km. The e-Golf or better yet the smaller but roomy e-Up! are also interesting EVs.


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