German carmaker Volkswagen has teased its all-electric version of the old hippy favourite, the Kombi, in a video that directly addresses the “Dieselgate” scandal of 2015.
Volkswagen’s consumer website this week added a subtle new message that had many guessing. Was it was about to make another move in its plan to make a comeback from the diesel emissions scandal that cost the carmaker $US25 billion ($A36 billion) in fines and penalties by selling millions of zero emissions electric cars?
The message: “In the darkness, we found the light.”
The answer to the puzzle came on Wednesday, when VW posted a video titled “Hello Light,” featuring exhausted executives and teasing the ID Buzz – its reborn electric version of the iconic Kombi (which is known as the Microbus in the US).
It certainly pulls off what it has been designed to do – send a clear message of the future plans of Volkswagen, and the lessons learned from a scandal that affected 11 million cars worldwide, but also sparked greater public awareness for the damaging NOx emissions caused by diesel-fuelled vehicles.
It casts the enormous task of what the German carmaker – which humbly began as a venture by the pre-war Nazi German Labour Front as the “people’s car”, and later became known as the quintessential hippy’s vehicle of choice – must do if it is to restore its reputation.
It’s a humble request to put the past in the past, with the help of Simon and Garfunkle.
Only yesterday The Driven covered VW’s report of 20,000 pre-orders taken for the first in its ID electric car series in just one month, the ID.3 – as well as Spanish stablemate Seat’s new all-electric Mii unveiled that is to replace the combustion Mii by the end of 2019.
All in all, Volkswagen AG plans to release 80 new electric of plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models onto the market by 2025, and 300 in total taking into account electric and PHEV versions of all its existing models.
It has upped its previous goal of 15 million electric cars on the road by 2030 to 22 million, with group boss Herbert Diess referring to the auto group as a “supertanker picking up speed:” at a meeting reporting the group’s 2018 earnings.
“We are aligning Volkswagen with e-mobility like no other company in our industry.”
It’s a big claim, and something the carmaker’s marketing arm is doing everything it can to cement in the minds of the people.
Now it just has to pull it off.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.