back to article VW confirms e-car plans

Volkswagen has announced plans to launch a small electric car in 2013. But the firm’s Chairman has warned the market to be cautious against premature e-car hype. Speaking at a recent energy conference in Munich, Martin Winterkorn said that his firm’s first e-car will be based on its Up! urban vehicle concept. By 2019 VW also …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Hybrid hype

    Diesel engined non-commercial vehicles are banned here, so I can't drive an 80mpg diesel golf.

    But our safety people just got hybrid Ford pickups (to be green) and we get a tax break. The hybrid is a joke, anything above 5mph and the engine cuts in. If your sitting in traffic and turn the AC on the engine starts!

  2. Hydrazine

    Ugly Car Nine Years Too Late

    Sometimes I think car manufacturers just don't get it. First, we had GM, Ford & Daimler-Chrysler churning out gas guzzling SUV just as petrol prices shot through the roof. Now VW produce the ugliest car ever and it's still nine years away.

  3. andrew mulcock

    lead free fuel.

    was it not that long ago that the UK had lead in most of it's petrol,

    "it will never catch on, can't be done, will cause to much of a problem" was the call,

    then the government under what ever reason decided to drop prices on lead free, and within 6 months we were all driving lead free cars. no fuss.

    I only drive 30 odd miles a day, no public transport possible, so i could easily get an electric car, but won't because "it will never catch on, can't be done, will cause to much of a problem".

    we will see in 10 years.

  4. Paul Slater

    Tackling the wrong end of the problem

    The biggest cut in emissions would not be if we all drove leccy-tech, but if more of us made those small journeys by foot, cycle, whatever, instead of jumping in the car to drive a mile and a half (what's that - 20 minutes walk?). 25% of car journeys are under two miles

  5. Michael C

    elecs w/ gas backup

    Electric is the future, but not full electric... and certainly not battery swapping! Like I'm going to let someone take my brand new LiPo or LiTit battery packs, costing upwards of $8,000 out of my car and replace them with possibly mishandled, used, Walmart knock offs or remanufactured batteries that could be years old? Not to mention the sheer logistics nightmare of trying to move 400lbs of batteries out of a car, store them, rotate them ,charge them, and to ship them back and forth between multiple sides of the road and from town to town as driving habbits cause packs to migrate all over hell and back... And who's going to buy all these $8,000 packs to have on hand to swap? They barely pay themselves back over 8-10 years as it is, and you want me, a gas station owner, to invest in robots to swap en, systems to charge em, computers to monitor em, pay shipping and transport costs, and wait 3-5 years before I can recoup that cost? and what about the guy with the shitty batter with dozens of bad cells who swaps out for a younger stronger battery at my expense? HELL no, no station would ever voluntarily take on that cost, not to mention we have a hard enough time just making enough batteries to go in the cars rolling off lines, and you proppose possbily doubling that? ...and where is your corner gas station, or freeway rest stop going to store enough batteru packs to refil 500 cards a day? and enough staff to lug around those huge heavy packs and stock them?

    LiTit systems can fast charge to 80+% in under 10 miunutes (some have done it in under 5). That's about as long as it takes me to refil at the pump today. No, I can't get high amp 4 phase power in my house (2-4 hour charging is fine there anyway), but at stations connected to the commercial power grid, and for a few pennies markup over my regular home power bill (provided it works out to be cheaper than gasoline per mile driven), then I'm perfectly happy. We don;t NEED battery swapping because it would TAKE LONGER than recharging where there's ample power...

    Even still, I'll require a gas backup (eventually, hopefully, a small recyclic turbine, not an ICE.) The engines in elecs with backups are specially tuned to operate as generators. There's no complicated dual transmissions, orbital gears, or other complex mechanisms to allow the engine to also drive the wheels, it only needs to come on when the juice is low and operate at no other speed than the ideal efficiency rating to operate the recharger. Max fuel economy can be acheived. High powered capacitors handle accelerating force, and also allow high speed back charge when braking.

    Gas engines waste enrger when idling, and when running at odd performance ratios. Running them at a dedicated speed only long enough to recharge makes sense. The Volt uses a similar system.

    Using a gas engine to recharge batteries, i can drive where I can't otherwise find a charger. I can still top off at home or at a station where electricity is cheaper than gas, but I can also get a 400+ mile range out of an existing electric car design without adding hundreds of extra ounds in massive expensive battery packs. I need enough electricity to go about 100 miles, that's it.

    Full electrics are a dream for small commuter cars with short drives and preditable use, but for a family car or the average non-city folk, no, not anytime in the near future. Not until every stop on every freeway has a high speed charging station, and every small town and city corner has one too.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good to see an exec who understands the situation

    Winterkorn is correct that most politicians and fanbois are talking thru their arse with unrealistic expectations for EVs. Wait until a dead battery starts causing horrific traffic jams in the city and see how well that is received.

  7. spodzone


    A few months ago I emailed Seat to ask about the prospects for an electric car - because I actually like the company's position within the VW group. The response came back that the VW group had no plans for anything electric and were going to continue banging the diesel drum for all it was worth, and so I've already given up hope of staying within the group for my next car.

    Where are the electric cars that'll do 250mi on a 2hr charge at 70mph (with extra spare for overtaking, and a solar panel on the roof to boost)? Where is the publicized government investment in research, in both car and battery companies, for the good of all kinds of driver and the planet to boot?

  8. Nexox Enigma


    I like the cut of this Winterkorn's jib. Finally someone from a car company that actually seems to understand the situation, and is unwilling to lie to the consumers about it.

    And currently the highest fuel economy car for sale in California is not a hybrid, but a diesel VW Jetta. Not sure why nobody seems to be selling diesel hybrids in this country, since it's possible to get much more effiency out of a diesel engine than one based on the Otto cycle. I assume it's just because hybrids in this country are all about popularity over functionality, which goes against years of anti-diesel sentiment here.

  9. Lord Raa


    That's a surprising amount of sense being spoken by a corporate geezer trying to sell us cars.

  10. looselycoupled

    Where are the normal cars?

    Here's an idea... Make a freakin' hybrid/electric powertrain for the Jetta or Passat. Why are all these companies making these cheesey little pieces of crap. Why can't they just put an awesome hybrid (diesel preferably) system into a normal car?

  11. Michael 28

    I see batteries !!!....

    ......I see BIG batteries!!!

    ......I see BIG PROPRIETARY batteries !!!

    (apologies to Alan Moore!)

  12. James Micallef Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    What, no hype?

    Its great to finally see an honest assessment of the state-of-the-art regarding range and charge time, and also that VW are taking a long-term view of e-cars being practical for mainstream use only in about 10 years time, instead of hyping them as being immediately ready. In the meantime capacity can be built up through niche markets and early adopters.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    At last, someone with sense

    I agree with the sentiments here. While Paul Slater is correct to some extent with respect to 25% of the number of journeys being less than two miles, there are a considerable number who can regularly exceed 200 miles in a day (and public transport is largely inadequate for most destinations) - so I agree that Winterkorn's spec of 450 miles is a more realistic requirement. We don't need lots of poorly designed e-City cars just capable of the shopping run or a short commute to a local job (i.e. what my wife does...) - we need well designed, proper cars for a family with a reasonable range and performance - so sales reps, engineers etc can realistically go green.

    Personally, I want to see a wind powered car. Just give the kids beans on toast and sit them on the roof with a box of matches (hence the flame icon).

  14. Rob

    VW seem to have made a good prediction

    I think their figures on how many cars are electric by 2020 is probably quite accurate. A lot of people seem to think all these electric cars are going to be given away for free, a large chunk of the population can't afford a new car, especially when it's approx. 2k above a petrol or diesel price.

    Electric cars seems too much of a white elephant at the moment .

    @andrew mulcock

    Slightly flawed comparison, there's a bit of a difference between worse case scenario of a £500 conversion to lead free and spending nigh £10k for a brand new electric car. Nobody has even mentioned the 2nd hand car market in any of these scenarios either so I think your 10yr estimate is a little out and maybe even non-existent, still we'll see in 10yrs time won't we.

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