2015 Volkswagen e-Golf - Long-term test car
As it tries to weather the ongoing diesel scandal, Volkswagen has promised to allocate more resources to electric-car development in the near future.
Now it has a new chief of electric-car development, named as part of a reorganization of VW's entire vehicle-development apparatus.
Christian Senger was hired by Volkswagen from Continental, where he previously led the supplier's Automotive Systems and Technology division, according to a VW press release.
At Continental, Senger was primarily involved in the development of electronics, including the company's autonomous-driving technology.
He started at Continental in September 2012, after a two-year stint at BMW, according to his LinkedIn profile, which also indicates that Senger was involved with the carmaker's "i" electric-car division.
Senger will head a vehicle-development division dedicated to battery-electric cars, as part of an overall restructuring of the Volkswagen organization.
2016 Volkswagen e-Golf
Vehicle development for the Volkswagen brand will henceforth be divided into four groups based on vehicle type.
In addition to the electric-car group, there will be groups for "Small," "Compact," and a "Mid-Size and Full-Size" cars.
The "Small" group includes vehicles that would generally considered minicars and subcompacts in the U.S., like the Up! and Polo. The "Compact" group includes the Golf and vehicles of similar size, while the Mid-Size and Full-Size" group includes larger vehicles.
Each group encompasses both cars and SUVs.
If VW's recent discussions of electric cars are any indication, the company could keep Senger quite busy.
Volkswagen Budd-e Concept
Volkswagen recently announced a new Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) platform for compact electric cars, that includes provisions for large, flat battery packs.
The possibilities of MEB were demonstrated at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where VW unveiled the Budd-e electric van concept.
Meant to rekindle nostalgia for the classic Microbus, the Budd-e has a 101-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which allows for a range of 223 miles on the U.S. EPA testing cycle, according to VW.
In addition, Volkswagen has said it will build an all-electric version of its Phaeton luxury sedan. It will debut as part of a redesign of that model sometime around 2020.
According to Audi executive Siegfried Pint, however, the Volkswagen MEB architecture differs from Audi's adaptation of its MLB-Evo toolkit for larger cars with longitudinal engines that it will employ for the Q6 e-Tron Quattro electric SUV it plans to launch in 2018.