By on March 14, 2019

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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14 Comments on “People’s Car, Redux? Volkswagen’s EV Plan Doesn’t Forget the Proles...”

  • avatar

    If they at least provide for future addition of batteries, that would make the short range cars more desirable.

  • avatar

    Instead of 40 horsepower, it’s 124 miles.

  • avatar

    You know what “proles” can drive instead of fancy electric cars?

    Non-electric cars.

    (This is all super-ironic for Germany, anyway, because any pretense at “clean” EVs is marred by their reliance on coal power, rejection of nice, clean, renewable nuclear power and imminent reliance on … imported power from Russia.

    EVs are and will remain, for *decades*, either only good for commuters at *best*, or pointless toys for virtue signaling.

    Veni ad me.)

    • 0 avatar

      “EVs are and will remain, for *decades*, either only good for commuters at *best*” You’re wrong. You can take long trips with them. Just recharge enroute. A 30 minute or less charge every 3 hours isn’t a big deal. On a 124 mile range car it might be tough, but it’s doable.

      “or pointless toys for virtue signaling.” More BS. Electric vehicles have a lot going for them and there are plenty of reasons for buying one.

    • 0 avatar

      Imagine people buying cars to commute in. Radical!

    • 0 avatar

      The poor shouldn’t buy cars. They have their own two feet to get around on, right?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “a report from last November stated that VW planned to launch an electric car with a price below $22,500”

    1. Will this be a loss leader? Tesla could price their cars lower, too, but they’re trying to become profitable because they must.

    2. Hyundai already builds a ‘prole-worthy’ 124-mile EV that looks remarkably like the one in my driveway. But I wonder who will really want such a relatively short range car in 2023.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I’d be very interested in a $22K EV with a 150 mile range instead of 125 miles. That would serve 90% of my driving needs

  • avatar

    So does this $22K EV mean $22K after $10K of various EV subsidies and $5K in gasoline savings?

    Of course $22K for a car with 120 miles of range does not compare very well with a $13K VW Up gasoline commuter car with 300+ miles of range, especially for Europeans and Chinese who more often live in apartments without plug access.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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.

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