Volkswagen to expand plans for electric I.D. family

Volkswagen is planning to expand its electric I.D. family by introducing a range of smaller vehicles on their MEB platform

Volkswagen is expanding its plans for the I.D. family and the MEB all-electric platform to include a range of smaller vehicles, the company has revealed.

A slide showing a product planning grid, displayed at the VW Group’s annual media conference this morning, referenced an ‘MEB entry family’ alongside the likes of the I.D. hatchback and the I.D. Crozz SUV.

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Previously VW sources had suggested that MEB plans would not include vehicles smaller than the Golf-sized I.D. hatchback. But speaking at the conference, VW Group CEO Dr Herbert Diess said that MEB would ultimately include “small city cars” and said that by 2023, the VW Group wants to have electrified offerings in “all vehicle segments”.

Speaking exclusively to Auto Express, Diess said that the MEB entry family would be smaller in size as well as on cost. “It’s a smaller size,” he said. “It’s sub-Golf size. It’s being worked on now. We should expect it around 2023. We have to do this if we want to have the market shares we need, and the spread of electrification we want, but we’re coming from the top down. So it won’t be too soon.”

The admission, in effect, confirms plans for the sub-£20k baby electric SUV outlined by Auto Express last autumn. The T-Cross-sized model is expected to be based on the MEB platform and, as with the other I.D. models, offer cabin space equivalent to the class above (so T-Roc).

When asked if the smaller EV project might be an ideal candidate for cooperation with another manufacturer, to help drive down costs and make it viable, Diess said, “No, we don’t need to do that. We have the size, we are strong in the A0 segment, and we have the base platform. But you have to talk about much lower costs, different batteries, different range, so it’s quite a structural change.”

“Our electrification strategy is applied top down. We believe this is a meaningful approach,” Diess said. “We start with the premium brands – Audi and Porsche – and then we go down to the A-segment, so the Golf segment. And then we’ll stay well above that, with SUVs and saloon cars. Why? These are segments where we believe, in the next five years, we’re going to see a situation where such electric cars will be comparable to combustion engines in terms of efficiency. So ICE will be more expensive and then in the future we can reach out to other segments like the Golf as well. 

“But we need to think beyond that. So we will see e-vehicles in the Polo class. That’s much more difficult. Batteries remain expensive so the price difference between a conventional car and an electric car in that class, like the Polo or the Up, is a bit of a challenge in terms of economics. But if you think about what we want to do, i.e. go up to 40 percent e-mobility share by 2030, then we have to electrify those lower segments as well.”

The move is part of strengthened electric vehicle plans announced by the VW Group. It originally stated that it would have 50 new pure-electric vehicles on sale by 2025; it now says that it will have 70 new EVs in the showrooms of its brands by 2028. The company is investing

VW also confirmed this morning that when the I.D. hatchback goes on sale at the end of this year, it will be sold as a carbon-neutral vehicle, thanks to 100 per cent green power in the car’s battery production, 100% green power at the Zwickau factory where it will be manufactured, and extensive recycling.

What do you make of Volkswagens plan for a larger I.D family? Let us know in the comments below…

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