As Volkswagen works to look toward the future, following its damaging diesel deceit, electric cars and plug-in vehicles will be front and center in its product publicity.
The German automaker has already hinted at its future electric cars with a handful of concepts, but its first high-volume electric cars won’t arrive until 2019.
What do we know about Volkswagen’s five upcoming electric cars? We break it down below.
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Above all, the overarching strategy for Volkswagen is less focused on the United States than on China, the world’s largest car market and arguably the one with the most aggressive electric-car plans.
A leaked product roadmap detailing VW’s five electric cars shows an emphasis on the Chinese market, with three of the five confirmed for that country.
Those are the I.D. Cross, I.D. Lounge, and the I.D. AEROe—note Volkswagen has not previewed the Lounge or AEROe yet.
Volkswagen ID Crozz concept, 2017 Shanghai auto show
Volkswagen’s first I.D. electric-car concept, which simply wears the “I.D.” name, also won’t reach the U.S. market. VW plans to sell the electric Golf-sized hatchback only in Europe, where five-door compact hatches are most popular.
Circling back to the I.D. Lounge and I.D. AEROe, both nameplates have been confirmed for the United States even though they haven’t yet been revealed.
From the photo, the I.D. Lounge may be a larger crossover, while the I.D. AEROe could be a sporty hatchback of sorts.
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Volkswagen may eventually add an electric sedan to its I.D. range as well.
But, where does the reborn Microbus stand in all of this? It’s not clear yet.
The product roadmap confirms the I.D. Buzz will find its way to production, but the markets it will be sold in remain “to be determined.”
Volkswagen I.D. Buzz concept, 2017 Detroit auto show
It seems more than likely the electric Microbus will make its way to the U.S. since VW has shown multiple conceptual variations of the vehicle over the years.
Should the I.D. Buzz be confirmed for the U.S., that will make for three electric Volkswagens.
But the emphasis remains on China; even though both China and the U.S. may receive three electric cars, the timetable prioritizes foreign markets.
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China and Europe will be graced with VW’s electric vehicles much earlier than the U.S., according to the leaked product roadmap, and VW itself has said its first high-volume electric car must arrive by 2020 with China firmly in mind.
U.S. products arrive much later in the I.D. lineup’s life, with the I.D. Buzz coming in 2022 at the earliest.
The broader scope paints an even greater electrified future for China; VW wants to have eight electric cars on the market by 2025.
Volkswagen I.D. electric car concept, 2016 Paris auto show
These goals won’t be met without a fair share of hurdles, however.
At the moment, battery supplies will not meet every automakers’ ambitious goals and VW believes major investments in new gigafactories will be needed.
It may be fair to say the Volkswagen brand itself will not rely heavily on electric cars in the U.S. in the near future.
However, when looking at Audi’s future plans, Volkswagen Group’s luxury marque may carry the torch as an electric car leader instead.
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