Volkswagen Golf Blue e-MotionEnlarge Photo
Despite Volkswagen's green technology mainly being focused on clean diesels, the company are clearly serious about their EV program too, having lured Joerg Sommer from Renault to be their new sales director for e-mobility.
The ex-Renault man previously ran the French company's EV brand operations leading to the launches of the Fluence, Kangoo, Twizy and Zoe Z.E. models. Now, he'll be responsible for putting cars like the upcoming Golf EV on the road.
Sommer joins several other top motor industry executives that VW have poached in recent years to fulfil their aim of becoming the world's largest automaker by 2018. His arrival at the Wolfsburg marque suggests that they're taking EVs seriously too.
Volkswagen's current involvement in the EV world is quite low but with the Renault experience this could be set to change. Renault are one of the makers likely to dominate the market in the next few years and companies like Volkswagen can't afford to lag behind.
Their current EV range is limited to the Golf Blue e-Motion which should hit the market in 2013. The company is currently testing the model to make sure it's up to scratch before release, though by this time models like the 2011 Nissan Leaf will have had a few years to gain market share, so the pressure is on for VW. They're also testing a plug-in hybrid version of the current Golf known as the TwinDrive.
They've dabbled in electric cars before, with models like the 1980s CityStromer, based on the MkII Golf (or Rabbit as it was then known in the U.S.) as well as other short-run electric Golfs which have only been available in Europe. And there are likely to be EVs following the Blue e-Motion's introduction too, with an EV version of the Up! city car being touted and could be seen in the U.S. in 2013.
Joerg Sommer's arrival should ensure that their future models are available to a wider audience.
[Automotive News Europe]