Volkswagen has been targeting affordability all along with its upcoming electric cars and the modular MEB platform they’re built on.
Leading up to the launch of the first models to arrive, starting with the ID 3 at the start of 2020 for Europe and a crossover for the U.S. later in 2020, VW executives haven’t stopped discussing the price points. They continue to state that once the carmaker’s global push for mass-market electric cars picks up the pace, they’ll reach price parity with comparable gasoline vehicles.
Pricing and affordability are important, but they won’t guarantee that the cars will be a success. It helps that, as VW’s U.S. CEO Scott Keogh has said to Green Car Reports, we’re at a cultural tipping point for electric cars. But dealer education, marketing, and advertising will be crucial parts of the rollout, too—as will addressing some common misconceptions that persist.
At the CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Michigan earlier this month, Reinhard Fischer, the Volkswagen Group senior VP overseeing VW in North America, spoke to Automotive News about some of the issues it’s seen at recent focus groups.
One of them, for instance, is a fear of driving electric cars through water, and the idea that electricity and water don’t mix.
More seriously, perhaps, Fischer mentioned the issue of charging accessibility, noting that “range anxiety has now been replaced by charging anxiety."
"A hundred years ago, gasoline was sold at pharmacies,” said Fischer. “Today, we have 122,000 gas stations in the United States. It's transformed from a bottleneck to a commodity."
Teaser for 2020 Volkswagen ID 3 debuting at 2019 Frankfurt auto show
As funded by the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement, Electrify America will play a part in that, deploying more than 2,000 fast chargers at nearly 500 U.S. locations by the end of 2019.
Provided those other issues are addressed, so will price. VW plans to price its first EVs at a slight premium to gasoline—much like it did with diesel. While the exact numbers haven’t been revealed for the U.S., the carmaker says that launch edition ID 3 models will cost less than $44,400 (40,000 euros) in Germany, with entry versions of the ID 3 to start just below $33,300 (30,000 euros). A future, more affordable MEB model could be priced below $23,000.