There is some interesting news coming out of Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg this week. The company says it wants to increase the range of its cars based on the MEB platform to 435 miles (WLTP) and boost charging capacity from 125 kW to 200 kW. In a separate announcement, it also said customers in Germany can now lease ID.4 and ID.5 vehicles built to their personal specifications online and hints that capability may be expanded to include the ID.3 and other markets soon. (We know Oklahoma, which is fully dedicated to turning back the clock to 1922, won’t be one of those markets.)
435 Mile Range, 200 kW Charging
Volkswagen has released a graphic showing its plans for expanding the range and charging capability of the MEB platform, but provided a few details. According to Inside EVs, the improvements will likely come from changes to the battery technology the company uses to power its cars in the future. One comment posted on the VW ID Talk forum suggests to achieve these results with the batteries the company uses at the present time would require a battery pack that is 33% to 50% larger than the 82 kWh pack currently available. In other words, this all isn’t going to happen with an OTA update.
Inside EVs theorizes more powerful batteries using new technology from QuantumScape could find their way into the upcoming Aero B sedan and long wheelbase version of the ID. Buzz. There is also the possibility that future versions of the current crop of ID. Badged cars could see enhancements in range and charging power when they are updated in the future. It also says making the cars accelerate more quickly will likely require motors with at least 350 hp, a step up from the 299 hp available today in the ID.5 GTX.
Keep in mind that WLTP range and EPA range are not the same. The EPA standard results in about 20% less range, which would still give the upgraded cars a range of around 350 miles using the US standard. That would put them high on the list for drivers for whom range is a primary consideration.
Volkswagen Online Leasing In Germany
Volkswagen customers in Germany can now lease an ID.4 or ID.5 online, according to Electric. While customers may opt for a vehicle that has already been built, they are free to custom order one with the features and accessories they want. The ID.3 will follow at a later date and the leasing program will be extended to other European countries soon. In due course, cash sales and financing transactions will be available to online shoppers as well.
“We are one of the first major automotive manufacturers to offer complete online leasing of freely configurable vehicles,” says board member for sales Klaus Zellmer. He will be leaving that position to become head of Skoda this summer. “Surveys show that around two thirds of our customers also want to be able to purchase our vehicles online. We’re now addressing that wish. Our mission is to give our customers an excellent offering and buying experience both at dealerships and online. As a result, we’ll also strengthen our competitiveness lastingly.”
The fact that the offer only includes MEB models is not a coincidence, Electric says. The ID. branded cars use the agency model, in which Volkswagen is the direct contractual partner of the end customer. According to the company, dealers “continue to be closely involved in the online business model, both organizationally and financially, and also remain an important point of contact for customers from advice and test drives to delivery and service.”
The EV revolution is not a one step process. It involves continuous tweaks, upgrades, and improvements. Give Volkswagen credit for continuously improving its electric cars and the customer experience for its owners. An ID.4 or ID.5 with 350 miles of range or more would be a welcome addition to the Volkswagen electric car model lineup.
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