Volkswagen Missed Its 2018 Electric Vehicle Goal By ~217,000 Units



Published on February 5th, 2019 | by Zachary Shahan

February 5th, 2019 by Zachary Shahan 

A Tesla Motors Club forum member somehow came across a 2018 electric vehicle (EV) sales target from Volkswagen Group that the company shared back in 2010. Volkswagen was hoping to sell ~300,000 EVs a year by 2018. It turns out the 2018 total was more like … 82,685 (and that’s counting a bunch of plug-in hybrids as electric vehicles, which many people wouldn’t count).

Can you imagine if that was Tesla? The media would be going wild. Tesla actually seems to be quite on track with its original goal of 500,000 vehicles a year by 2020 (after getting overly excited for a while about a quicker ramp that it couldn’t materialize). Is Tesla more realistic and pragmatic than Volkswagen? Maybe.

Here’s another interesting tidbit from that 2010 story: “VW, which is working with Chinese manufacturer BYD on battery tech and has opened a lab at its Electronics Research Lab in Palo Alto, California. It is led by none other than Martin Eberhard, the co-founder and first CEO of Tesla Motors. Volkswagen quietly tapped him for the job 18 months ago, and he’s almost sold his bosses on using commodity cells in VW packs.

“‘They’re slowing coming around,’ Eberhard told Motor Trend.”


The electric cars Volkswagen was about to introduce to the market back then were the e-Up! and e-Golf. For some reason, with less than 100 miles of range and no superfast charging (not to mention extremely limited availability), those vehicles have seen only moderate sales over the years. Volkswagen has not had lines wrapping around dealerships as customers waited to reserve the newest models.

One can say that was a different era and Volkswagen is vastly different now. (I actually agree with that statement.) However, Volkswagen has an issue — and this has long been known. Volkswagen is the king of electric vaporware. Part of that is taking too long to bring highly compelling electric vehicles to market, but another part of that is simply the aggressive EV marketing approach the company has taken for years. Exciting press releases about a coming electric era are nice to see once or twice. Reading 100 of them long before VW has a mass-market EV for sale is just annoying, and I’d say that approach has backfired on VW with many consumers.

The good news is that VW seems to be close to rolling out truly competitive, high-production, mass-market electric vehicles.

The ID Neo (coming later this year) could be the launch of a serious VW leap into our electric future — unless you want to count the higher priced and probably lower volume Audi e-tron SUV.

Soon to follow should be the VW ID Crozz and VW ID Buzz, as well several other undisclosed models.

Of course, that’s all if Volkswagen’s plans are more accurate these days than they were a few years ago. On the plus side, it’s almost guaranteed they will produce a lot more EVs soon, since Volkswagen will have to sell high numbers of EVs to sell cars at all and not face big fines in China and Europe. Furthermore, it’s increasingly clear that no vehicle class is safe from Tesla’s wrath and EV revolution. If you want to grow your market share in the 2020s, you’ve got to have a strong electric lineup, and it needs to come out soon-ish.

For sure, Volkswagen Group doesn’t want thousands of non-electric cars sitting in parking lots yet again because it didn’t live up to society’s rising standards for environmental responsibility. That would just be stupid.



Tags: Martin Eberhard, Tesla, volkswagen, Volkswagen ID, Volkswagen ID Buzz, Volkswagen ID Crozz, VW ID, VW ID Neo

About the Author

Zachary Shahan Zach is tryin’ to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He’s also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don’t jump to conclusions.

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