It’s been known for sometime that Volkswagen has an electric future in store for Australian drivers, but which vehicle from its planned ID series would make it here first has been a mystery.
The German auto group has 70- electric vehicles planned over its brands by 2030, with its ID.3 hatchback finally given the big unveil as the world’s first “carbon neutral car” last Tuesday.
But it seems VW has now realised that while there are already a few electric hatchbacks in the Australia market (such as the Nissan Leaf, BMW i3 and more recently, the Hyundai Ioniq), it is a country where SUVs and utes are a favourite item. So perhaps the ID.3 isn’t the ticket and ID.4 SUV might be a better bet.
As reported by The Driven, electric SUVs are also getting a great deal of attention according to latest auto sales figures from the Federal Chamber of Automotive industries (although granted, excluding sales of Tesla Model 3 sedans, which will certainly tip the scale if reports from Tesla delivery staff are anything to go by).
Numbers like these have now nailed it for the German carmaker it seems, with Volkswagen Australia managing director Michael Bartsch telling Australian media in Frankfurt that, “I had a look at the August figures. It’ll be memorable in the fact that it was the first time that the mix between sedan, hatch, and SUV swung to 60 per cent.”
“SUVs broke the 60 per cent mark – 62 per cent I think – which is just extraordinary,” he said.
According to reports from Car Advice, Volkswagen has now said that the all-electric ID.4 SUV, which has also been going under the moniker “ID Crozz” and was spotted being tested in the wild in late July, will precede the ID.3 in Australia.
This is not an entirely new development; around the same time the ID.4 was being tested in Southern Europe, Volkswagen Group Australia product marketing manager Jeff Shafer noted that, ““Where Australia’s at the moment, you’d have to say that an electric SUV is the product that would be most relevant.”
But it’s certainly a good development, and with production for left hand drive versions of the ID.4 slated for 2020, Volkswagen Australia says it is also now “actively seeking” a build slot for right hand drive versions.
Whether or not it will get here before the Tesla Model Y electric SUV – the Standard Range version of which is slated for sale in the US from northern hemisphere Spring 2021 – is uncertain.
VW Australia has given a loose date of 2022, and it seems reasonable to presume Tesla’s lead time on getting the Y out to Australia will not take as long as the three year wait Australians endured for the Model 3.
“The fundamental issue that we’re facing is that we are blinded by the reality of being south of the equator,” Bartsch said, citing battery supply issues and production capacity as the limiting factor.
Pricewise will be interesting also. While official pricing for the ID.4 has not yet been officially released, recent reports are that it could cost as much as $US24,000 ($A35,350 converted) less than the Model Y
At the time of its unveil Tesla said the Model Y would cost $US39,000 ($A57,450 converted) but this will likely be more given increases in pricing after the addition of Autopilot as standard, and only the more expensive SR+ Model 3 (as well as LR and Performance) now on the market.
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.