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Alternative fuel may sometimes feel like it’s fallen off the radar. With self-driving vehicles the talk of the town, and the Coronavirus pandemic putting a halt to major new vehicle production, alternative fuel vehicles aren’t at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Still, hybrids, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and all-electric vehicles (EVs), also sometimes referred to as “battery-electric vehicles” (BEVs), are an investment automakers continue to make. The alt-fuel rush will bounce back as the industry does, and automakers like Volkswagen have every intention to be there to greet it in full force with their latest all-electric SUV.
An electric vehicle from Volkswagen? Unheard of until today. Known for the beetle and not alternative fuel, an EV from Volkswagen sounds crazy, but it’s true. The ID.4, the brand’s first all-electric SUV, is currently in production in Zwickau, Germany, and this is just the beginning. The automaker has announced an investment of €33 billion – about $40 billion – between now and 2024 to continue production and development of EVs, expected to produce 1.5 million EVs in 2025 alone.
“With the ID.4, Volkswagen is adding an all-electric vehicle to its offering in the compact SUV class, the world’s largest growth segment…Following the ID.3, this is already the second model based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB). Going forward, the car will be built and sold in Europe, in China, and later also in the USA. That is how we are scaling the MEB platform globally and laying the economic foundations for the success of our lineup of long-range electric vehicles.” - Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand
How serious is VW? Very serious. For possibly the first time in automotive history, a large car manufacturing plant is being entirely converted to e-mobility. $1.2 billion euros will go into this investment, with the conversion set to start this year. By 2021, VW expects to have full completion of the EV factory, able to produce some 300,000 electric vehicles. All of them will be based on Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB), an all-electric platform developed for the ID.4 that maximizes the features offered by e-mobility. Already tested, the all-electric range of this platform is 500km, or 310 miles, on par with many alternative fuel vehicles today. Testing of this platform on an ID.4 prototype has yet to be conducted.
The design of the ID.4 could be a step in the right direction, and not just for the automaker. Volkswagen’s MEB is designed for a compact package, with the high-voltage battery sandwiched in the underbody to create a low center of gravity in terms of driving dynamics and well-balanced weight distribution. Compact, the MEB doesn’t take up as much space as modern electric battery systems, offering a very spacious cabin and cockpit. Speaking of, the driver will get some interesting controls, with operation largely based on touch surfaces and intuitive voice control. Whether that means this vehicle is controlled via touchscreen and voice commands is unclear, but wouldn’t that be something?
It’s all about reducing the carbon footprint when going electric. In accordance with the Paris Agreement and reducing CO2 emissions, Volkswagen is working towards carbon-neutrality. Can their new EV tech meet the demand? Follow along on this and other car technology when you follow NowCar on social media.