Volkswagen's Future Begins November 4th, Will Have to Wait in U.S.
If you’re really, really into the vehicle assembly process and electric vehicles as a whole, Nov. 4th is a date to set aside on your calendar. You’ll probably want to plunk yourself down in front of a live-streamed broadcast showing the start of Volkswagen ID. 3 production at the automaker’s Zwickau, Germany assembly plant. Chancellor Angela Merkel will be on hand, if that spices things up.
Unveiled last month in Frankfurt, the ID.3’s job is to kick off an ambitious product offensive that will see a torrent of ID-badged EVs unleashed on global markets over the coming years.
Sadly for tech and environmental aficionados, the single-motor, rear-drive ID.3 hatchback is not destined for U.S. shores; the MEB platform vehicle is instead reserved for markets like Europe, offering buyers a range of up to 341 miles (on the WLTP cycle) for a starting price of roughly $33,000. Three battery sizes will be on offer.
According to manufacturing plans seen by Reuters (via CNBC), Volkswagen’s plan is to unseat Tesla as the world’s largest builder of electric vehicles, with production hitting 1 million annually by the end of 2022. Two assembly plants reportedly tapped for China will initially build the majority of these vehicles, though the U.S. gets in on the game before too long.
The automaker’s Chattanooga facility will become home to the ID.4, formerly known as the ID Crozz — a compact electric crossover that should appear in production form early next year before going on sale in late 2020. Following on its heels is a production version of the ID Buzz, a reborn microbus.
Speaking to Roadshow, Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh claimed the ID.4 will slightly undercut the Tiguan in size and start around $33,000. Thanks to an underfloor battery and no internal combustion engine, it’s interior volume will outrank the larger, gas-powered vehicle, Kaogh claims. Plant upgrades take time, so the ID. 4 will make the journey from Europe for the first couple of years, with Chattanooga’s $800 million upgrade bearing electric fruit thereafter.
The Buzz, or whatever name VW decides to bestow on it, will likely hail from Europe. Expect to see it launch in 2022.
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