VW launches new e-Golf and plans T-Roc EVs to help meet emissions targets

24 March 2017

24 March 2017

Volkswagen (VW) is forging ahead with its electric vehicle plans in a key strategic shift as it continues to be blighted by the emissions scandal. Last week, VW executives emphasised that the first I.D. brand EV needs to be launched by 2020 to help the company comply with new CO2 targets that are due to come into force in Europe in 2021. Additionally, VW has just started production in Dresden of the electric version of its latest Golf hatchback, the e-Golf, and also plans electric versions of the T-Roc small SUV. 

From 2021, new CO2 targets will be introduced in the European Union, which require average emissions of a brand’s fleet to be no higher than 95g CO2/km. Although VW is pushing ahead with the first I.D. EV, other vehicles on the new MEB modular electric platform will not follow until later. ‘It’s a very tight time plan for 2020, but we need the cars then to comply with our fleet targets. So, it’s a necessity to achieve the launch dates, but it’s well on the way,’ VW brand CEO Herbert Diess has said. The current I.D. model pipeline consists of an I.D. SUV planned for after 2020 and an autonomous Minibus expected in 2022. Diess added that ′I am confident that already the first cars will be profitable, not hugely profitable but profitable, and the later-coming, more SUV-based, bigger cars should achieve good returns on investment and also good margins.’ Nevertheless, VW will still struggle to meet the new emissions target in 2021 and hence the roll-out of the new e-Golf and plans for electric versions of the T-Roc small SUV. 

The first units of the new e-Golf have started rolling down the line at VW’s infamous glass factory in Dresden, which has been idle for a year since production of the Phaeton luxury car ended. The first e-Golf is scheduled to be ready for delivery to a customer on 3 April and production is expected to ramp up to 35 units daily by the beginning of May. Dresden is expected to be the epicentre for VW’s EV offensive which is core to improving the company’s image. In total, VW plans to launch more than 30 pure electric vehicles by 2025. 

Aside from the new e-Golf and the I.D. EVs, electric versions of VW’s new T-Roc small SUV, which will sit below the Tiguan in the brand’s SUV line-up, are also planned. The T-Roc is due to be launched later in 2017 and will naturally share engines with the next-generation Polo and the new Golf, but ′a plug-in hybrid T-Roc GTE and a fully electric e-T-Roc″¯are also in the pipeline’ according to Autocar. 

On a final point, VW’s EV plans are not only crucial to meet emissions targets in Europe but also in China, the world’s largest car market overall and for EVs. China is therefore a crucial market for Volkswagen and, although regulatory requirements only call for fuel consumption targets of just 5 litres per 100 km, which equates to roughly 117g CO2/km, this is incredibly challenging for VW as diesel is non-existent and consumers favour larger cars and SUVs than in Europe, which are naturally more polluting.  

′This five-litre target is as challenging as the 95 gram CO2 target in Europe for 2020. In addition, China is on the way to implementing really the most challenging emission regulations worldwide,’ Jochem Heizmann, CEO of Volkswagen China, has said. VW aims to sell 400,000 New Energy Vehicles (NEV) as they are known in China, consisting of pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Diess says China will be ′our volume base and scale base for all the electric vehicles we are doing.’ He adds ′we have to sell close to 1 million electric vehicles there by the year 2025 ″” just Volkswagen ″” and from this volume base we can really do something in the rest of the world.’