After it was discovered in September 2015 that Volkswagen doctored its cars’ diesel engines to give false readings in emissions tests — a costly mistake known as the Dieselgate scandal — the company had no choice but to thoroughly change its strategy.
And change it it did: The company just unveiled its an all-new, fully electric car, the Volkswagen I.D.
It’s no wonder, however, that Volkswagen doesn’t have very exact numbers at this point, as the I.D. is slated to hit the roads in 2020. Volkswagen has plans for the I.D. even further down the road: the company claims the car will be fully autonomous in “I.D. Pilot” mode in 2025.
As for the price, Volkswagen says it will have a price on the level of today’s Golf Diesel with comparable power. That’s less than $30,000 in the U.S., though we don’t know whether that’s before or after tax credit.
Although 2020 seems far away, there aren’t that many affordable electric cars with a 200+ mile range around. In fact, I can only think of one, the recently announced Chevy Bolt, which costs $37,450 (before tax credit) and will arrive at Chevy dealership later this year. Tesla’s Model 3, which is expected to have a 215-mile range and a $35,000 price (before tax credit), should start shipping in late 2017. Whether Volkswagen is able to back up its bold claims about pricing and range is another matter; it certainly has time to work on the I.D., but by then, it’s likely that Tesla, Chevrolet and others will already be showing second or third iterations of their fully electric, affordable family cars.
In its press release from the Paris Motor Show, Volkswagen also mentioned a car that’s far closer to production, a new generation of its e-Golf. It will have a 300 km (186 miles) zero-emission range and gesture control when it launches in November.