2019 Audi e-tron prototype
The Volkswagen diesel emission scandal has now largely vanished from U.S. media coverage, much to VW's relief.
Tens of thousands of bought-back TDI diesel vehicles still sit in fields awaiting modification and resale, or some other disposition.
But among the thousands of pages of legal documents to settle dozens of civil and criminal charges in the case within the U.S., there's an interesting provision.
That's the one that requires VW Group to offer two new battery-electric vehicles for sale in California before December 31, 2019—in addition to the Volkswagen e-Golf already on sale.
The language of the requirement can be found in the Proposed Order for Second Partial Consent Decree, dated December 2016, between VW Group and the powerful California Air Resources Board.
The relevant language is found in Section IV (11) starting on page 7, as follows (with the vehicle requirements specified in a, b, and c).
Volkswagen TDI 'clean diesel' television ad screencap
a. Defendants shall offer and sell two additional [battery-electric vehicle] models in California, including one BEV Sport Utility Vehicle (“SUV”), in or before 2019. For the avoidance of doubt, this means that Defendants must offer no fewer than three BEVs (the two additional BEVs, plus Volkswagen’s existing e-Golf BEV or its BEV successor), including one SUV BEV, in California in or before 2019.
b. Defendants shall offer and sell an additional BEV SUV model in California in or before 2020. For the avoidance of doubt, this means that Defendants must offer no fewer than three BEVs (the two additional BEVs described in paragraph 11(a), plus the third additional BEV described in this paragraph), including two SUV BEVs, in California in or before 2020.
c. Defendants shall offer and sell these three additional BEV models (or their successors) in California through 2025, and they shall sell an average of 5,000 of these three additional BEV models (collectively) in California each year from 2019 until 2025. For the avoidance of doubt, this means that Defendants are required to sell 35,000 total units of the three additional BEV models (or their successors) during the seven-year period 2019 to 2025, but that they are not required to sell 5,000 units in any given year.
The Volkswagen e-Golf, of course, has now been on sale since 2015. It received a significant battery-capacity boost for 2017, taking its EPA-rated range from 83 to 125 miles.
Another battery boost is at least theoretically possible in 2020 or so, but the e-Golf adapted from the seventh-generation Golf will give way to the Volkswagen ID compact hatchback that goes into production in November 2019.
That car, VW has said, will not be sold in North America, where the first dedicated, long-range battery-electric model will be a production version of the Volkswagen ID Cross compact crossover. That is expected to reach dealerships in 2020.
So, what are the two new all-electric vehicles that VW has legally committed to sell?