Volkswagen Says No To Plug-In Hybrids In North America

3 days ago by Steven Loveday 42

Volkswagen

Volkswagen I.D. lineup

Volkswagen’s getting a late start to the EV game but it says it will now skip plug-in hybrids completely in North America and possibly other markets.

Volkswagen has committed to releasing at least five pure-electric vehicles over the next five years. According to brand boss Herbert Diess, the automaker has no plans to produce any future plug-in hybrids for North America and may not even make them for the European market.

Diess believes that the automaker’s new Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) architecture will allow for ease of EV manufacturing and instant profits. He also sees that the EV incentive scheme in North America doesn’t really benefit PHEVs, so why bother making them? Diess told Car and Driver:

Volkswagen

New Volkswagen MEB Architecture

“Yeah, you know, we are big in volumes. For Volkswagen, it makes a lot of sense to make a specific architecture. We have big volumes now, and we are going toward one and a half and two million cars a year off that electric platform. That makes a lot of sense to have a specific electric architecture. The economies of scale are really getting thin up there, and you can really unleash the potential of the electric cars.

Fifteen cars are already decided. The Volkswagen brand will have five, and the group will have 15. Well, five so far. We are adding one a month, it seems.”

This can be seen from two different perspectives. While some people will see it as a copout from VW, to not live up to its deal to make up for dirty diesels by producing a wealth of plug-ins, others may believe that since the automaker is entering the game late, it only makes sense to focus on battery-electric vehicles. Since the inception of the Chevrolet Bolt, the automaker’s Volt (PHEV) is seeing increasingly lower sales. As battery range grows and the technology becomes less expensive, one can only hope that all automakers would push toward BEVs.

Volkswagen plans to sell a minimum of one million BEVs per year by 2025. About 200,000 of these are aimed at the North American market. Diess believes that VW can make its Tiguan the best-selling SUV in the world with no PHEV option aside from China. Keep in mind that China will be a massive market for a PHEV version of the Tiguan and Diess is not ruling out a traditional hybrid version, which could reel in significant interest.

2017 Volkswagen Beetle

Diess said that thus far VW has official plans for five EVs within the brand and 15 from VW Group as a whole. However, he said that they seem to be adding a new one every month. (Image Credit Flickr via Saud al-Olayan)

The CEOs biggest reason for thinking so forward when it comes to the automaker’s success with EVs is profitability. While companies like Daimler have major concerns about losing a significant amount of money moving to electric cars,  Diess says Volkswagen will only profit from the venture and will do so immediately. He insists that the switch will be easy and profitable, regardless of what anyone else fears. Diess shared:

“In the brand, we are spending about [$3.5 billion, including development costs and capital expenditures] over five years. You always have in your product range more profitable cars and less profitable cars. We will already achieve with the first car [the I.D. hatch] the same profit range we achieve with the Polo. I think that’s okay. That’s not great, but it’s okay. That includes the sunk investment.

The chief went on to say that the MEB platform is even set up for the future application of solid-state batteries. Although he says it probably won’t happen until about 2024 or 2025. Diess shared that VW has an investment in a California-based solid-state battery tech startup, Quantum Skope. His comment indirectly makes reference to the fact that vacuum maker, Dyson, is shooting for use of the battery tech by 2020. He continued:

“Not for the first generation of [solid state] batteries. Solid state can only kick in for ’24 or ’25. To say 2020, that’s courageous!

There are ups and downs. They are safer in crash conditions, but the energy density is not so much higher. It’s another 15 percent or so.”

Diess concluded with reference to Volkswagen’s decision to move to over-the-air software updates. He admitted that not everyone is happy about the decision, with particular reference to the automaker’s dealer network. Diess shared:

“The big revolution comes with the cars becoming updatable and upgradable. When we have the operational system in the car, you will receive an update to your system every year or so.

Today, we don’t talk to customers [directly]. But we think differently [than] Tesla. We think we can do it together with our dealers and share the data to provide even better service.”

Source: Car and Driver

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42 responses to "Volkswagen Says No To Plug-In Hybrids In North America"

  1. Big Solar says:

    “we can do it with their dealers and share the data and provide better service” Hahaha, i bet

    1. stimpy says:

      I had a chuckle there as well. Dealers are selling widgets and don’t seem to give a single crap about the post-sale experience.

  2. Counterpoint says:

    Sounds like they’re full speed to full electrics. And the comment about adding one new EV idea a month is encouraging.

    1. James says:

      “Fifteen cars are already decided. The Volkswagen brand will have five, and the group will have 15. Well, five so far. We are adding one a month, it seems.” – Chairman Diess

      This talking is so funny…” OK, 25 cars are in the pipeline…Well, not so much in the pipeline as pipeDREAMS, but surely I jest, there are electric cars coming. Last I checked it seems we make a new concept car each month”….

      HAHAHA…

      OK, stop talking and lets see some real volume EVs in major markets.

      Gee, I’d love to believe Volkswagen. GM and Ford recently came out with big talk too. I want to believe all of them…

      But who will be first to mass produce affordable electric cars?

      We said, “stay tuned” in 2011. We’re staying tuned…hello?…..hello?…..anybody?

      Still hoping. I don’t care if it’s VW or ?…Just mass produce an electric car already.

      1. Viking79 says:

        Nissan, Hyundai, GM, Renault are already mass producing less expensive electric vehicles.

  3. Tom says:

    Well certainly the new Golf EV is selling well in Europe. VW has several advantages when it comes to execution, not least of which is massive amounts of resources to bring to bear on the issue.

    1. SparkEV says:

      In the absence of competition, sure, eGolf might sell. But US has stiff competition from Bolt and Tesla 3. Even in Europe, new Leaf will run circles around eGolf.

  4. L'amata says:

    The VW Golf Cart would more accurate…lmao

    1. Asak says:

      Honestly, what is wrong with some of you? Don’t you want EVs to succeed? The e-Golf is a perfectly fine car. It’s not a sports car and doesn’t make any pretense of being one. It still beats 8/10 gas cars off the line from a stop and drives smoothly like all electric cars do.

      1. Lou Grinzo says:

        Thank you for saying this.

        EVERY car with a plug on the road is a step in the right direction. And just like ICE vehicles, many that sell quite well are a terrible match for many of us. (I can’t imagine what it would take for me to buy a full size pickup truck, for example, yet companies sell those at a stunning clip in the US.) That’s why I don’t criticize people who buy BEVs or PHEVs that wouldn’t be a good fit for my wife and me, and I cheer them on.

      2. James says:

        “Hey, don’t you all want to see EVs succeed?! What’s wrong with some of you?”

        What is wrong is ICE OEMs talk like this a lot. They have for almost a decade. I can show you public statements made by one after another about electrification plans after plans.

        Its such a conflict of interest for ICEmakers to actually mass produce a car that makes their ICE wares look so terrible. Yet VW has a lot of penance to pay. They really mucked it up with Dieselgate. We hope they hurt so bad that they’ll actually carry through with these bold statements and make 100,000 or so of an EV model. Heck – I’d take 60,000 of a $30,000 PHEV with 50 miles range and 40 MPG for God’s sakes!!!

        So its all talk until somebody actually does it. This hasn’t happened in all these years, and so we’re a bit gun shy about anyone doing it now.

        Heck – Tesla is trying to do it…It’s a mess, and it’s a bit ugly, but they’re making progress towards a mainstream EV we can afford.

        Any ICE OEM can bury Tesla because they are so much bigger and have SO MANY MORE RESOURCES than tiny Tesla does. Think about behemoth VW or GM vs. the tiny David, Tesla. If any one of them truly puts their monies where their mouths seem to be weekly – They could pull a GM and in 2 years whip out a 300 mile BEV and use economies of scale to price it where the common human could buy one. Just one such model could bury Tesla in a year.

        The thing is, EVs make ICE models look terrible by comparison. Gone will be all that service department cash and replacement part bootie that has propelled the industry for a couple lifetimes.

        Golf EV is a joke. It’s not a bad car, but 120 miles range for the price of a nice entry level luxury car/brand? In a car the public knows all too well as an affordable compact? Nice try! No way to sell 100,000 of those/yr. using that methodology.

        No — VW, stop with the cheeky concept cars and fancy videos. Stop the bold statements and vast promises.

        I live in Missouri – SHOW ME.

        1. Jim J Fox says:

          Golf EV is a joke. It’s not a bad car…

          FGS, make your mind up!

        2. Viking79 says:

          They will show you, they are going to be releasing a storm of new EV models. Again, you can’t design these things overnight, they take a few years to reach market. If they don’t start coming next year, then you can complain.

      3. Lawrence says:

        The ever revolving door of Tesla fanboys. Nothing new.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          While I agree that this guy is a fanboy i am too pissed with VW deceptive behavior, these mf-ers now don’t even want to bring the ID to US anymore, wtf!….and i do drive an eGolf…and LOVE IT!

          1. pjwood1 says:

            I admit wearing the negative too much, but VW/Porsche/Audi is just so tough to credit, when you’ve personally been burned.

            To be fair, Diess relates the U.S. strategy as though he understands the CARB mandates for 2 and then 4% ZEV sales. That suits an all-BEV, or guzzling SUV/CUV product mix, with hopes of lifting 2022-2025 CAFE effects on light trucks. It’s also increasingly functional for both consumers and car co’s, as battery prices drop. I’d be wasting my breath to expect VW would go EREV, like i3 or Volt. No product from VW Group has paid respect to the practical PHEV formula that says “enough range and power for an all-electric day”. Perhaps in a rare bout of listening to their customers, they realize the ridicule small-battery (5-15KWh) PHEVs are getting.

            The more Tesla goes on an autonomous safari, and VW goes in the direction of producing clean-fun cars, things will probably start to change. For now, it’s still about electrification. Just my two cents.

    2. Jim J Fox says:

      Positive, constructive criticism; well done
      /SARC OFF

  5. Gazz says:

    As much as I like Tesla. EVs need a seasoned large volume manufacturer like VW to forgo “production hell”.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      Yeah, they will spec their EV at 420 miles AER but when tested on the road it be found to only have 115 miles AER…….lol

    2. L'amata says:

      Yea! We need More seasoned Scammers , Liars,Cheats & Thieves in the Auto industry…..lmao

    3. Lou Grinzo says:

      Sadly, this is indeed a factor, if only for market psychology reasons. Many consumers won’t consider buying or leasing a vehicle unless it’s from a company they view very positively. This is why I keep saying that we need not just more EV models for sale, but from as wide a selection of companies as possible.

  6. Yogurt says:

    Plug-In Hybrids are a coup out and a waste of engineering resources so it would be better that they gave up on them everywhere…

    1. F150 Brian says:

      Once a 250KWh battery pack* can be had for <$25K, then I agree with you.

      Until then, BEVs are for light duty use only and EREVs have a real place in the market.

      *since most people who actually use their trucks as trucks will not tolerate recharging every hour or two. A 100KWh (60KWh usable between fast charges) will only get you about 100 miles when pulling an RV, boat, etc)

      1. Yogurt says:

        *since most people who actually use their trucks as trucks

        Thanks for the astrick because if you dont live on a ranch or farm most truck owners think they are a fashion accesory…

      2. jelloslug says:

        The vase majority of the pickup trucks on the road ARE light duty.

  7. Kdawg says:

    Kind of answers what their thoughts are on the chicken or the egg situation of EVs vs charging infrastructure. It probably helps that VW is to invest/build a lot of the charging structure themselves. So they feel that they can skip the PHEV phase.

    I still think PHEVs will have a place for some time. Think full size trucks. But VW doesn’t make those.

    1. John Juerss says:

      VW owns Scania trucks.

      1. Kdawg says:

        Think Silverado/F150.

        1. Jim J Fox says:

          You claim that is a “full size TRUCK?”

          It is an overblown pick-up.

          1. Kdawg says:

            Yes, a full size pickup truck. Is that a new term for you?

  8. Gasbag says:

    Quantum Skope should be Quantumscape I believe.

    Starting a PHEV project now makes little sense. Serial hybrids for larger vehicles made sense years ago but the fast pace of battery advancements is closing that window. On a serial hybrid you would not need to toss the whole design as batteries improve. You scale up battery capacity to match the price target.

  9. Mike I. says:

    VW will start producing EVs in Germany. They will not sell in numbers high enough to make a difference in the American market until they start producing them in North America. Today, (Oct 2017 sales) VW’s US sales of cars assembled in Germany was 2% of total sales. Chattanooga production was 27% of sales and Puebla production was 71% of sales. I was hoping that they would introduce a PHEV Atlas so that Chattanooga could get their feet wet with plug-in production. That appears to be a pipe dream and the Terramont (China Market Atlas) will be the only plug-in SUV variant.

  10. Vexar says:

    I’d hardly call three concept cars a line-up. Oh, wait, we’re talking VW, here. They always deliver their concept cars and promises…

    1. Asak says:

      It seems they’re actually planning to bring them into production, so I think it’s fair to call it a line-up. In comparison what is Ford offering, for example? GM and Nissan are offering more, but many other manufacturers are coming up short.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “It seems they’re actually planning to bring them into production…”

        How can you tell? I mean, maybe you’re right, maybe they will actually follow thru this time. But VW has become the King of Vaporware from the unending stream of claims that they’re gonna put this or that EV into production, and almost never following through.

        I hope this time, VW means what it says about producing EVs. But their history strongly suggests they don’t.

        1. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

          See my post about ZEV credit requirements.

  11. EVShopper says:

    “…Diess is not ruling out a traditional hybrid version [of the Tiguan]”

    Also not ruling out a BEV version of the Tiguan.

  12. Fancy a Bev Mate? says:

    Totally agree with volkswagen on this, personally I think that the phev is five years too late as bev technology in the cells not to mention the cost reduction means why over complicate two drive trains instead of one simple and proven drive train and we haven’t touched on the extra servicing of two or the cost long term of two drive trains! Well done VW

    1. Jim J Fox says:

      Good stuff. To hell with the multitude of sneering smart-arsed know-alls who pollute this site.
      VW has suffered the worst hammering of any major & MUST have learned by now that it’s corporate philosophy HAS to change, radically.

      I wish them every success after the severe spanking they have endured…

    2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      You’re not being cynical enough.

      (1) ZEV credit requirements are increasing by 2.5% per year from 4.5% in 2018 to 22.0% in 2025.
      (2) Proportion of credit requirement that can be met by PHEVs decreases each year.
      The maximum credit requirement percentage that can be met by PHEVs increases by only 0.5% per year.
      It’s 2.5%/4.5% for 2018 decreasing to 6.0%/22.0% for 2015.
      (3) Maximum credits for a PHEV is 1.3. But for Euro-style 20-mile PHEVs, the maximum credit per vehicle is _0.7_.
      (4) Maximum credit for a BEV is 4 and the calc is based on the old UDDS cycle range. 0.5 + 0.01 x UDDS. So hit 350 miles UDDS and you get 4 credits. 100 mile EPA AER will give 2 credits and 250 miles EPA will give 4 credits.
      (5) BEVx gets ZEV credit like a BEV (must have at least 75 mile UDDS*), but can only count up to half of the ZEV-only floor. (So 1.0% rising to 8.0%.)

      So manufacturers will increasingly need to have BEVs, and they’ll get more credits even for a short-to-mid-range BEV than they will for a PHEVs.

      It’s all about compliance.

      * Oh the Volt Gen 2 has just over 75 mile UDDS so it meets the BEVx requirements on range. What a shame 😉 they couldn’t persuade CARB to waive the gas range restriction. Otherwise they’d have been able to get Volt credits both as a TZEV and as a BEVx.

  13. Mister G says:

    TALK TALK TALK VW IS ALL TALK
    What happened to electrify america?

  14. Bill Howland says:

    IF they make a decent range EV VW barebones Beetle, then I’d be interested, since I loved my 40 horsepower, 1.2 Litre, 6 Volt Used VW I had in College.

    If its anything like that BUZZ that has a stockbroker’s dashboard with 4 video screens and its claim to fame is “ADJUSTING THE TEMPERATURE OF YOUR REFRIGERATOR” – then I know these VW guys are all nuts.

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