Volkswagen Considering a Rough-and-tumble Electric

VW logo, Image: Volkswagen

The sky’s apparently the limit when it comes to the variety of vehicles that might emerge from Volkswagen’s dedicated MEB electric architecture. While the automaker’s looming EV onslaught already contains a hatchback, crossover, microbus, panel van, and possible luxury sedan, VW feels something’s missing: a tough, off-road ute.

One VW exec is pushing hard to give electric vehicles a brawnier image.

In a sit-down with Auto Bild (via Auto Express), VW strategy boss Michael Jost said the MEB platform could give Volkswagen a first-in-segment coup — a spartan, zero-emission trail denizen.

“There are no producers in this sector yet, [building] a robust electric car that loves scratches and wears them as a badge of honour,” Jost said, adding that he’s championing the project internally. Jost’s candid convo with Auto Bild is part of his strategy; he plans to use the publication’s readers as a focus group to measure public interest. The executive even provided sketches of a boxy, upright utility vehicle that eschews the egg shape of other VW I.D. models.

Jost said he’s aiming for a simple design, both inside and out. Rather than having the vehicle adopt a few off-road cues to please timid, grocery-getting consumers, the exec stated the vehicle would come ready for action with scratch-proof display covers and an interior designed for cleaning via pressure washer.

In the course of the discussion, Jost aired another article of VW’s product laundry. A flagship SUV based on the MEB platform is under development, and the would-be off-roader would draw its underpinnings from this model — in two wheelbase lengths. If that sounds like something Land Rover might slap a Range Rover name on, well, that’s the idea. Jost said the off-roader would boast a three-door and five-door variant in wheelbases of 177 and 191 inches, offering space to five or seven occupants. The dual-motor/all-wheel drive setup seen in other I.D. models would attain its maximum usefulness in this model. Range? Like other I.D. models, the ceiling on that stands at 373 miles on the European test cycle.

As there’s already a number of vehicles coming down the pipe, VW’s proposed off-roader would need to wait its turn. That means, if VW pulls the trigger, the brawny ute wouldn’t make its appearance until at least 2021.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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