Responsible for electro-mobility within the Volkswagen brand, Rodolphe Chevalier returns with Automobile-Propre on the arrival of the Volkswagen ID.3 and on the next stages of the manufacturer’s electric offensive.
While it took four years between the presentation of the ID concept and the release of the ID.3, Volkswagen is now ready to launch a massive offensive in the electric car segment. Cornerstone of the “Way to Zero” strategy aimed at making the group carbon neutral by 2050, the new electric compact is only the first step in an investment plan of 33 billion euros by 2050 2024.
“By 2029, we will have 75 electric vehicles of all brands, 60 of which are based on the MEB platform” details for Automobile-Propre readers Rodolphe Chevalier, head of electro-mobility for the French branch of Volkswagen.
1500 ID.3 ordered in France
“On the Volkswagen ID.3, we have more than 1,500 orders and around 1,000 cars delivered in France. Today, we see an average price of € 43,000 with sales mainly concentrated on Family, Business and Tech finishes. Arrived a little later, the 77 kWh version now represents 10 to 15% of the ID mix. 3 “Rodolphe Chevalier figure.
Now built around five trim levels, this ID.3 range should evolve in 2021. “When the network is more seasoned, our idea is to build it around a battery and power level. The customer can then choose from 10 packs to customize the car. We will have four motorizations in total with a range that will start around 90-95 kW and stages every 20-30 kW ”explains our interlocutor.
Another expected launch: that of the small 45 kWh battery. “It will be available for order in early 2021 and delivered mid-year. We will be on a price of less than € 30,000 even if the bonus changes ”reassures the Volkswagen representative.
Intermediate software while waiting for the update
For Automobile-Propre, these discussions with Volkswagen were also an opportunity to address the issue of on-board software, which does not yet include all of the functionalities.
“When COVID came out, we had to make a choice. Do we wait until we have finalized the car or do we have to make an intermediate software? This is ultimately the second option that we chose “explains our interviewee. “We will have a big update scheduled for early 2021. This will be done in physics in the network” he continues. Among the new features expected is augmented reality via an evolution of the head-up display device which will allow information to be projected over “5 to 10 meters” (see video below). Android Auto and Apple Car Play devices are also on the program as well as a “Better Route Planner type” route planner which will also soon be integrated into the Volkswagen site.
By this time, the Volkswagen ID.3 should also be compatible with OTA (“other the air”) updates. These will allow new functions to be deployed remotely throughout the vehicle’s life cycle.
“On the formation of the network, we applied hammer therapy” laughs our interlocutor. “Between October last year and January we did 60 dates and trained 1,000 customer advisers in sales and after-sales to really get them the basics of vehicle knowledge,” he said. “When we returned from confinement, we put e-trainings back online and then followed up with a big 5-hour online training course that swept through the entire ID ecosystem. Following this online training, we went on a tour at the end of August with about sixty dates where tests could be carried out with a coach. During the training, we had the vehicles and recharging tested ”. A program which also enabled Volkswagen to identify a referrer per site, a sort of “Product Genius” specialist in the ID offer.
The workshops also benefited from specific training and arrangements. “Even if French regulations do not require us to do so, we have imposed quarantine zones within the workshops. This consists of keeping a perimeter of 6 meters around the vehicle to avoid risks, especially on the battery. Technicians have been trained to work on high voltage. In France, 450 sites are authorized ”explains our contact person. Certain repairs, such as major interventions on the battery, will however remain reserved for a few centers in France. “We have 3 in 2020 and will have 5 in 2021. We will then evolve according to real needs”.
At the same time, the manufacturer is orchestrating a deployment plan for charging stations. “We have an 11 kW AC terminal and a 22 kW DC terminal per site outside as well as a terminal in the showroom and another in the workshop” explains Rodolphe Chevalier.
The Volkswagen ID.4 for the next step
Revealed in its final version at the end of September, the SUV ID.4 “We will have the first cars that will arrive in the network at the end of 2020. The first customer deliveries will begin at the start of 2021 ”explains Rodolphe Chevalier. For the time being limited to a 1st limited series equipped with a 77 kWh battery, the Volkswagen electric SUV will also be available with a 52 kWh battery. “At the entry level, we will be under the bar of 40,000 € excluding bonuses” promises our interlocutor.
Modeled on what Skoda already offers with the Enyaq, the ID.4 will also be offered in a 225 kW 4WD version. With more sporty aesthetic elements, it will also benefit from a specific name (ID.4 R?).
If the SUV is called for a more international career than the compact, the Volkswagen representative believes it will be less popular in France. “In France, it is estimated that the Volkswagen ID.3 will have twice the volume. In 2021, we are aiming for 10,000 to 12,000 ID.3 against 6,000 ID.4 ”figures our contact.
The ID4 will not be the only novelty in 2021, however. A Coupé version with the specific denomination will also appear in the middle of the year. “There will then be a truce until the end of 2022, when we will materialize other concepts presented in recent years (ID Vizzion, ID Buzz editor’s note)” concludes the Volkswagen manager.
For Volkswagen, this rise in electric power will come at the expense of gasoline and diesel technologies. “By 2025-2026, we will release our last thermal platform and in 2033 our last vehicles with conventional engines” explains our interviewee.