Volkswagen I.D. electric car concept, 2016 Paris auto show
As it works to recover from its diesel emission scandal, the Volkswagen Group is rapidly embracing electric cars.
By 2025, the company hopes to be selling 1 million electric cars per year, and plans to launch 30 different electric models across multiple brands in the coming years.
According to a news report, China—for several years, the world’s largest single car market—will be a major focus of the VW Group’s electric-car activities.
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The automaker is planning no fewer than eight new or updated plug-in models for the Chinese market, according to Chinese car website Autohome.
Citing what appears to be an internal planning document, the report shows a mix of battery-electric cars and plug-in hybrids from the main Volkswagen brand, as well as Audi and domestic Chinese brands established by VW and Chinese partners.
The list includes the Volkswagen e-Golf, an updated version of which was unveiled at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show with a larger battery pack, a more powerful motor, and minor styling updates.
Slide detailing Volkswagen Group China electric car plans (via Autohome)
China will also get a plug-in hybrid version of the second-generation VW Tiguan crossover.
That model may come to the U.S. as well, although Volkswagen has not confirmed anything so far.
The VW Group is also reportedly planning two larger plug-in hybrid sedans for the Chinese market.
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One is an updated version of the Audi A6 L e-tron already on sale there, the other is a version of a sedan from local automaker SAIC that shares a platform with the Audi.
China will also get the Audi e-tron electric SUV, slated to start European production in 2018, as well as the production version of the Volkswagen ID concept first shown at the 2016 Paris Motor Show.
The ID is a compact hatchback, but VW also showed an alternate version called the ID Buzz at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, with styling inspired by the classic Microbus.
Audi e-tron Quattro concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show
Both ID concepts ride on the new Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) platform, which was developed specifically for small electric cars.
The presentation did not specify the final two models out of the eight VW plans, but they will apparently be co-developed with local automaker JAC.
China has traditionally required foreign automakers to partner with domestic firms to win permission to build cars within its borders.
MORE: Audi electric SUV to carry e-tron name (not Q6), a la first quattro (Oct 2016)
This is to allow local companies to learn from their more experienced foreign counterparts.
But the Chinese government is now considering relaxing those rules for plug-in electric cars.
While the government wishes local firms to be competitive in the electric-car segment, it also wants to get more electric cars on its roads faster—which it has concluded means putting fewer restrictions on the foreign automakers already producing them elsewhere.
[hat tip: Shrawan Raja, Indian Autos Blog]
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