In the midst of growing numbers of electric trucks and other commercial EVs, Volkswagen is in danger of falling behind. The problem many fleet owners (including, for example, the German post office) have is not with electric vehicles per se – since they’re being used within the city, the relatively short range many EVs have poses no difficulties. The issue is specifically with Volkswagen.
Many of Volkswagen’s electric vehicles – such as the Caddy, which VW modified to test the feasibility of commercial EVs, and the eT!, VW’s electric version of its popular Transporter van – are simply too expensive; they cost more than the competition.
All In or Not At All
Volkswagen has approached the idea of electric cars in a somewhat sideways manner – long time Gas2 readers may recall that VW hasn’t been introducing any new electric-only cars; rather, they’ve been using their more popular gas-driven cars as a base for conversion. This hasn’t been an effort to save money, but rather to maintain the VW look and avoid excessive trendiness. While this is a move embraced by many auto makers, it’s not doing particularly well for VW.
Most of VW’s eco-car efforts have been focused on its diesels and hybrids, although they did recently introduce the E-Golf pilot program to the United States. The problem that VW has that other auto makers have apparently managed to start solving is the cost of developing their electric cars – and that cost gets passed on to the consumer. Rudolf Krebs, responsible for Volkswagen’s electric car projects, has stated that the company is now trying (somewhat belatedly, I note) to move toward the electro-mobility bandwagon, as reported by Oekonews.at:
“We’re doing all we can to keep costs down. We must develop [electric cars] for production.”
Customers such as the post office are important customers for Volkswagen, and massive orders from such fleet operators would allow VW to reduce the high cost of batteries and drive technology. But without that initial cost being somewhat lower, those massive orders may not materialize.
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Source: Oekonews.at | Image: VW