A lot has changed since Volkswagen introduced its ambitious plan to revamp its lineup with hybrid and fully electric vehicles. The company hopes to add 75 pure electric models by 2029, many of them riding on the Group’s MEB platform. But there are new players and potential competitors that have altered the landscape. In an interview with Autoblog, Thomas Ulbrich, VW’s board member for electric mobility, lays out what’s next for VW’s EV efforts.
Ulbrich calls out Rivian by name in the interview, saying the company’s efforts to build an all-electric pickup has piqued VW’s interests. “Step by step our investigation and research makes us think it becomes more possible,” he told the publication. The most obvious possibility for an electric VW pickup is the Amarok, which Ulbrich mentions. The Amarok’s future, though, is in the hands of Ford.
Gallery: Volkswagen Amarok Rendering
The two inked out a partnership deal first announced in 2019, and part of that included Ford supplying VW with a truck that’d be the second-generation Amarok. There are no rumors of an all-electric next-gen Ranger; however, a plug-in hybrid is possible, which jives with the Group’s plan of offering 60 hybrids alongside its EVs if the two share powertrains for the vehicle.
Other plans for the platform include cars that’ll slot below the ID.3, currently the smallest MEB-based car. Ulbrich told Autoblog the company has plans to introduce the first of those small cars in 2023 or 2024. This appears to corroborate a rumor from last month that the company will launch a sub-ID.3 model called the ID.1 in 2025 with the concept arriving in 2023.
It’ll allegedly spawn several variants and replace the VW e-Up!. It’s expected to resemble the ID.3 and sit on the same MEB platform, though Ulbrich told Autoblog that it’d be “an adapted version” of the architecture. The platform gives VW vast flexibility, catering to large D-segment vehicles like the ID Vizzion and the upcoming stretched sedan heading to the Chinese market. But flexibility isn’t a blank check for designers and engineers.