People's Car, Redux? Volkswagen's EV Plan Doesn't Forget the Proles

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
peoples car redux volkswagens ev plan doesnt forget the proles

You can’t tell the masses that, if they can’t afford the latest and greatest green vehicle, they should get used to riding a bike or a bus. Volkswagen seems to realize that.

As it prepares an even larger complement of electric vehicles than originally thought, the automaker isn’t forgetting the little guy. VW plans to spread its MEB platform far and wide — reaching even entry-level consumers who can’t pay for more range.

In the company’s Tuesday announcement in Wolfsburg (a presentation marred by an accidental riff on a Nazi concentration camp slogan), mention was made of an “MEB entry family” — a low-priced follow-up to the I.D.-badged models expected to roll out of Germany and other production locales starting at the turn of the decade.

It’s not unexpected; a report from last November stated that VW planned to launch an electric car with a price below $22,500.

CEO Herbert Diess, who later apologized for the Nazi gaffe, said his company plans a number of “city cars” in its 70-model EV onslaught. VW hopes to sell 22 million EVs in the coming decade, and they can’t all be mid-range or higher models if VW wants to lure first-time buyers.

Speaking to Wards Auto, VW strategy chief Michael Jost said, “Electric cars can be built faster than (internal-combustion-engine) ICE models, at much less man-hours. But you have greater material costs. That means labor costs are not such a critical component in the overall production cost as they are today.”

The MEB-platform models in the new family should appear in 2023 with ranges of around 200 km, which works out to 124 miles. That’s a mile less than what the current e-Golf offers. Jost estimates such a model could be built in 10 hours.

While Americans might not think much of 124 miles of range, European and Chinese buyers in more population-dense markets might feel differently.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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  • Vehic1 Vehic1 on Mar 14, 2019

    The "Nazi gaffe" receives mention TWICE in this article; always some slam based on "news" that is old and older. Those brave, freedom-fighting nations of Italy, Spain, Japan, and the rest of Germany (and American Nazis) are exempt, of course.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 14, 2019

    I look forward to the day when I can pick up someone's EV 'powertrain' at a reasonable cost and do my own conversion on the vehicle of my choice. Future equivalent of today's engine swap.

  • Redapple2 My dad s buddy got a tire thru the windshield. DRT -dead right there.
  • Redapple2 Hope they fix the:1 ride. worse than a corvette2 seating position. ankles at the height of my butt is UNCOMFORTABLE .As is. Horrible truck
  • Redapple2 One time; doing time; for a long time.
  • Robert Good! Those things are hideous.
  • ScarecrowRepair Road trips by myself -- cherry tomatoes or seedless grapes. Gotcher nutrition, gotcher water, bite-sized, no sticky fingers. Light lunch, maybe; normal dinner.