EVs are becoming the new cool. They’re the dream car for a lot of people and many apparent reasons. Yet, this widespread interest hasn't translated to widespread adoption. One primary reason why owning an EV has so far remained a lofty goal for many people is that EVs are pricier than the average gasoline car.
The good news is, all hands are on deck to lower the costs of these cars. Volkswagen, for one, is looking to fast-track the development of compact electric vehicles that cost lower than $30,000, according to Reuters. The project has been reportedly dubbed "Small BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle)." This plan is yet another step in Volkswagen's goal to make electric vehicles available "for millions, not just for millionaires."
Please note that the Small BEVs we refer to here does not refer to the VW ID.1, which is slated for release in 2023 and expected to cost about $36,000.
Electrically Powered Cars for the Masses
After the launch of Volkswagen's first Electric SUV—the ID.4—Matthew Renna, VP for E-Mobility Volkswagen of America, expressed their commitment to bringing EVs to the mass market. He said in a publication, "It's not just the launch of a car – it's our biggest step yet on our new path to change the future of driving." He added that the company's EV investment plan is one of the largest in the world, with approximately $35 billion budgeted towards their goal of selling one million EVs per year worldwide by 2025.
For perspective, the best electric cars in Australia, such as the Hyundai Ioniq and the Nissan LEAF, cost upwards of $48,000 drive-away price. At less than $30,000, not only will this car be more affordable than the ID.3 and ID.4, but it is also likely to be cheaper than the upcoming Tesla models. When this price target is achieved, Volkswagen may very well replicate the remarkable successes with its famous Beetle and Golf cars and may outsell Tesla in the process.
In other words, for Volkswagen to meet its audacious $30,000 (or less) goal, the manufacturing cost of their platform needs to be about a third cheaper than it is currently. In light of that, Volkswagen's new-model-super-mini EVs will be based on a modified version of Volkswagen's MEB EV platform, which is going to be smaller and less expensive.
Is Volkswagen Struggling in Meeting Its Price Target?
It seems the company is having difficulties cutting production costs to fit the price promised, as one might expect.
In a bid to overcome the challenge, a board member for the company's technical development Dr. Frank Welsch offered a potential solution. He suggested that less powerful electric motors and the constant advancement in battery technology could be the way out to reducing production costs. Dr. Welsch said that, "It is easy to build an expensive vehicle; the difficult task as an engineer is to build an affordable one." According to him, it could be a possibility for a smaller concept, since it would not require a 500km range or an 80kWh battery capacity.
Does this mean that the fleet of vehicles we anticipate at a reduced purchase price could have a lesser range? It's what Dr. Welsch is suggesting and a plausible tradeoff, too. We'll just have to sit back and watch the whole plan as it progressively unfolds.
What Does This Mean for Electric Vehicles in Australia?
It is debatable whether or not Australia is genuinely ready to morph into the EV lifestyle. Think about charging stations alone; there aren't enough of those available yet. Nonetheless, the vehicles' price could mean that more people would be encouraged to acquire electric cars.
In a world where carbon footprint is a mounting concern, EVs offer a way out—they are the future! Hopefully, Volkswagen and other car manufacturers can bring that future to us sooner than later by building affordably priced but high-range electric vehicles.
While we wait for the future, let's help you keep your gasoline vehicles in working and fuel-efficient condition. Place your request for replacement parts for your vehicles today on CarPart. Follow the CarPart blog for more updates on the future of Electric cars in Australia.
By Damilare Olasinde