Volkswagen AG is the largest automaker in the world. With revenue of over $295 billion, Volkswagen dethroned Toyota as the largest auto company in 2022. We’re all aware of Volkswagen’s potential, but the company has not been able to dominate the EV segment so far.
This article will shed light on Volkswagen’s electric car history, lineup, and how it is faring against its competitors! So, let’s start!
History of Volkswagen Electric Cars
The history of Volkswagen AG, the largest automaker in the world, is more than 90 years old. The company was founded by the German Government in 1937 for the production of mass-segment cars. Since then, Volkswagen has been producing some of Europe’s most popular compact cars. However, the history of electric cars by Volkswagen is fairly new.
Many think that the e-golf was the first mass-produced electric car by Volkswagen in 2013. While this is true to some extent, Volkswagen produced its first-ever electric car in 1972. Elektro Transporter was the first attempt by Volkswagen to produce a fully electric car. At the time, Volkswagen Elektro had a range of 43.5 miles, and it took 10 hours to charge its battery pack.
Volkswagen Elektro was an experimental project, and only 20 of these vans were sold. Soon, Volkswagen turned towards hybrid cars, and the year 1976 saw the first Volkswagen car with a hybrid powertrain. The Volkswagen E-golf we see today was actually developed in the same year. However, it just did a trial run, and the company shifted its focus.
Volkswagen began result-bearing efforts to produce a mass-segment fully-electric car in 2002. The research and development continued. Many concept cars were unveiled during the period. It wasn’t until 2013 when first Volkswagen e-golf was made available to the public. The initial model had a range of up to 83 miles on a single charge while it was laced with a 24.2 kWh battery.
Volkswagen Vs. Other EV Companies
Volkswagen started research and development on electric vehicles almost 50 years ago. But things got lost in the process, and other companies took the lead. It wasn’t until the late 2000s when Tesla began to make noise, and suddenly everyone was worried about the future of our planet. Companies such as Tesla and Mercedes took the lead and captured the EV market.
Better late than never. Since e-golf, VW’s switch to electric cars has been making strides. Volkswagen’s EV sales grew by 23% in 2022. To speed things up, Volkswagen is now working on a five-year plan to ramp up its production of electric cars. We’re excited about the future of electric cars by Volkswagen, but right now, the company doesn’t stand a chance in the EV market.
Volkswagen Electric Cars Lineup
Volkswagen has arrived late to the EV scene, but it is catching up fast. The EV lineup of Volkswagen started with the e-golf, and now it is dominated by the ID series. ID series will see at least eight different EVs come to markets. So far, we have details on five of these ID series cars.
Let’s have a detailed look at the Volkswagen Electric Car Lineup!
E-golf is a typical offering by Volkswagen. It has a very basic exterior, just like any conventional gas-powered car. Offered in two different trims, the Volkswagen e-golf is powered by a 134-hp electric motor that draws power from a smaller 35.8 kWh battery pack. It is enough power to take e-golf past the 60 mph mark in less than 8.5 seconds.
The range is not something to admire about Volkswagen e-golf. It can go only as far as 125 miles on a single. This figure is much below the industrial average and competitive brands. What we like is its standard DC fast charging capability. At a fast charger, the Volkswagen e-golf can be charged up to 80% in one hour only. Even at a regular 240V socket, charging time is under six hours.
Volkswagen ID.3 is a small-segment EV already available for sale in Europe. It is powered by a rear axle motor which is mated with a single-speed transmission. The electric motor produces 201 hp at 229 lb-ft. The performance of the 4,000 lbs Volkswagen ID.3 on a 0-60 scale is much better than Volkswagen E-golf. ID.3 takes 7.6 seconds to beat the 60 mph mark.
Volkswagen ID.3 is offered in two different battery pack options. It draws juice either from a 58 kWh or 77 kWh battery pack. What really impressed me is the driving range of the Volkswagen ID.3. The company claims that the ID.3 can go up to 341 miles on the larger battery pack and 264 miles on the smaller one. Real road tests reveal that ID.3 can achieve up to 80% of this range.
Volkswagen ID.4 is a huge improvement from previous electric vehicles by the company. It is offered in a variety of trim levels, each coming with its own set of specifications. For base trim, the price starts at $40,290 and goes right up to $52,740. Basic trims are powered by a single rear-wheel motor capable of producing 201 hp.
On the other hand, higher trims use dual motors and an all-wheel drivetrain. The AWD trims have a power output of 295 hp. The motor draws juice from a standard 58 kWh battery pack on which it can go up to 208 miles. A large 77 kWh battery pack comes optional on Volkswagen ID.4. It can give you a driving range of 275 miles between charges.
Volkswagen ID.5 looks much similar to ID.4. But it marks various changes to convince users that it is a huge improvement over its predecessor. ID.5 is also offered in similar trims as ID.5. The basic trims are powered by a rear-axle electric motor. In contrast, the higher trims use powerful motors capable of churning out 295 hp. The top speed of the all-wheel drive variant is 112 mph.
The efficiency of the battery pack has been greatly enhanced. The same 77 kWh battery pack of ID.4 can now give a driving range of up to 327 miles on a single charge. In addition to that, the maximum power of DC fast charging has been increased from 125 kW to 135 kW. At a fast charging station, batteries of ID.5 can be charged at a rate of 233 miles per hour.
Volkswagen ID.6 is a stylish full-sized SUV that offers up to three rows of seating while giving plenty of cargo space. Volkswagen ID.6 is initially offered in two different variants. You can buy an ID.6 Crozz or ID.6 X either with a 58 kWh or 77 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The power output of all trims ranges between 200 and 300 hp depending upon the battery pack.
With a smaller 58 kWh battery pack, Volkswagen ID.6 can go up to 270 miles. What caught our eye is the 370 miles driving range of ID.6 laced with a larger battery pack. If reports are to be believed, Volkswagen ID.6 is capable of DC fast charging. At a 150 kW charging station, it should not take more than 30 minutes to juice batteries from 5 to 80%.
The car and driver estimate the starting price of Volkswagen ID.7 to be around the $55,000 mark. However, for higher trims, you might have to pay up to $63,000. For the time being, Volkswagen ID.7 is offered in a rear-wheel drive configuration with a maximum power output of 282 hp. With this setup, Volkswagen ID.7 can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 5 seconds.
In the future, we expect to see an all-wheel drive model, which will be much more powerful. The rear-wheel drive Volkswagen ID.7 uses the standard 77 kWh battery pack, which gives a driving range of up to 300 miles on a single charge. Volkswagen is planning on launching Volkswagen ID.7 with a large-sized 86 kWh battery pack down the line.
Volkswagen ID Buzz Microbus
The EV market is flooding with sedans and SUVs. However, Volkswagen will be trying its hand at producing an electric minivan. The Volkswagen ID Buzz microbus will be launched at the end of 2024. According to estimates, its price will start at $40,000. It will be built on the standard Modular Electric Drive (MEB) platform of Volkswagen.
Volkswagen ID Buzz will be produced in two different trims. The base trim will get a rear-drive 201 hp motor, while the all-wheel drive higher trim will be laced with a 295 hp electric motor. The 77 kWh lithium-ion battery pack with DC fast charging capability will come standard on the Volkswagen ID Buzz. This will get you at least 260 miles between charges.
Final Word, Volkswagen Electric Cars
Volkswagen began research on electric cars long before most EV companies today were even born. But the company couldn’t make big on this opportunity due to several reasons. However, we are happy to see that Volkswagen is now trying to catch up with its competition and is trying to produce more electric cars in the coming years.
We’re excited to see cars such as Volkswagen ID Buzz and ID.7 in the coming year. The future for Volkswagen electric cars is bright. What do you think?