In recent months, electric vehicles have continued to increase in popularity and gradually occupy a larger market share as concerns regarding range and technology have been alleviated by manufacturers who have consistently demonstrated that they are capable of producing electric vehicles that can manage longer commutes.
However, the production of electric vehicles and the battery cells that power them remains expensive, not only limiting the volumes that can be introduced onto the market but also forcing companies to sell them at prices that in many cases exceed what consumers are willing to pay, which confines the majority of EV sales to those affluent enough to afford them.
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VW has sought to remedy this through the announcement of the ID.2, which will be an electric compact SUV crossover with similar dimensions to the T-Cross and an interior capacity comparable to the T-Roc.
Nevertheless, the primary objective of the ID.2 is to provide a vehicle that costs £17,000 and is consequently far more affordable and economical than a vast proportion of other electric vehicles, and is best suited to an urban environment.
In order to achieve this, the ID.2 will be underpinned by the MEB Entry platform, which will incorporate lithium-iron-phosphate technology (instead of the more traditionally used nickel-cobalt-aluminum and nickel-cobalt-manganese battery cells) and a unified battery cell configuration so as to significantly lower the expenses of production, although this may sacrifice energy density of individual cells and therefore range.
Despite this, it is believed that these approaches to electric vehicle manufacturing will allow VW Group to produce battery cells that are up to 50% cheaper than the cells that are currently being employed.
The MEB Entry platform itself will accommodate electric batteries between 30 kWh and 45 kWh in size, which translates to between 120 and 180 miles in range, in which Skoda and Seat (perhaps even Audi) will use the platform to produce vehicles of similar size to the ID.2 that will accompany it upon its release.
Due to VW’s insistence on ensuring that the ID.2 can be sold for £17,000, the vehicle’s launch date that was expected to lie somewhere in 2023 has been delayed to 2025 so that Volkswagen have enough time to develop the battery technology necessary for them to market the ID.2 at the intended price, whilst still yielding a profit for the company and enabling them to benefit from economies of scale.
VW Group also envisages that all of its future models that are destined to use the MEB Entry architecture will be produced in Spain, though the specific factory at which they will be produced has not yet been confirmed.
It is increasingly likely however that this location will be the Marotell factory in Barcelona, which already manufactures SEAT’s vehicles under its Cupra sub-brand, yet this is still dependent on whether the Spanish government is willing to fund the infrastructure projects that the Group will need to invest in to construct the 40 GWh battery plant that will be required
The ID.2 marks another milestone in Volkswagen’s electric journey and will be followed by the ID.1, which will be an electric hatchback likely to be redolent of the Polo in terms of size and then by next-generation electric vehicles, such as Project Trinity. However, the ID.2 also represents an important departure from the trajectory that the firm has adhered to up until this point.
Having established themselves as a prominent actor in the electric theatre, Volkswagen will now place an emphasis upon producing electric vehicles that can target specific or multiple sectors of the electric market, as well as upon enhancing connectivity and improving their autonomous capabilities, in which the ID.2 will be a vehicle that appeals to those eager to embrace electrification but who still crave something that is more reasonably priced.
This may compel other manufacturers in the future to develop battery technologies that will reduce production costs, which will in turn facilitate the global transition to electric.
Many manufacturers are focusing their efforts around electric cars, however, what if you are in the market for an internal combustion engine vehicle? Should you choose petrol, diesel, hybrid or full electric? We take a look at the pros and cons of each type in our blog post.