Moving towards electric cars, Volkswagen plans a 6% cut of his workforces by 2023 and 2,000 new software jobs positions.
At Volkswagen’s annual media conference in Wolfsburg, VW commented on its new strategy to cut from 5,000 up to 7,000 jobs by 2023. Through reducing such operating costs, VW aims to save 5.9 billion Euro ($6.7B). The German automaker will invest the savings in its top-selling division - which generates more than a third of the company’s total sales - in an attempt to raise the operating margin to 6%. Last year, the brand’s operating margin fell to 3.8% where Peugeot read a margin of 8.4%.
Take a Look Back at VW’s Record-Breaking Run Up Pikes Peak: Video
This summer, Volkswagen conquered the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb race with their fantastic I.D. R prototype, which was driven by Romain Dumas up the mountain in a record time of 7:57.148, 16 seconds under Sebastien Loeb’s 5-year-old record.
Motorsport is still a relevant marketing tool and battle-scarred Volkswagen decided the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is the perfect place to showcase its electric technology. The race, which has been going since 1916, sees competitors climb up the 12.42-mile-long course all the way to 14,000 feet. Nowadays, there’s no more dirt at Pikes Peak, but that doesn’t make the challenge itself any less daunting.
DHL Kicks VW While it’s Down; Builds its own Electric Delivery Van
German logistics giant Deutsche Post (known as DHL across Europe) is about to become a major threat to mainstream automakers after it has quietly designed and built its own electric delivery van. Dubbed StreetScooter and made with help from 80 suppliers, including Bosch and Hella, DHL’s electric hauler will replace the company’s fleet of conventional Volkswagen Caddy vans. DHL, which is also using Renault Kagoo Z.E. EVs, operates around 1,000 StreetScooters and plans to build 5,000 units a year in order to replace the 30,000 gas- and diesel-powered vans in its current fleet.
DHL’s new strategy is already creating great concern among automakers, especially Volkswagen, which will see its contract for the Caddy vans cancelled. Volkswagen CEO Matthias Mueller went as far as to say that the company is "annoyed beyond measure" about DHL building the StreetScooter on its own.
"I, of course, ask myself why Post did not talk to our VW Commercial vehicles division about doing something similar. Let’s see if we can still get a foot in the door there," he said according to Reuters. However, Mueller did not mention the fact that DHL has been refused by several automakers because it wanted a limited number of cars. In other words, Volkswagen would have been happy to provide DHL with an electric van, but only as the logistics company ordered more than just a few thousands per year. Obviously, developing a limited-run Caddy EV wouldn’t have worked for the company that wants to retain its place at the top of the automotive industry sales-wise.
But DHL didn’t waste time trying to convince mainstream automakers to build its a delivery van. Instead, it acquired StreetScooter GmbH in 2014. A former start-up that became a consortium of about 80 companies in the automotive industry and related sectors, StreetScooter was established in 2010 and had already produced its first vans in 2013. The brilliant part of building the StreetScooter is that, because it is working with a network of 80 suppliers, DHL has very little engineering costs to cover.
The electric van uses a 40-horsepower motor that runs for up to 75 miles on a single charge, reaches an electronically limited top speed of 50 mph, and has a payload of 1,400 pounds. A heavier duty, 2,200-pound version is also in the works. The van has been designed to be used 10 hours a day and six days a week over a 16-year service life. DHL says that switching to the electric van will reduce maintenance costs by 50 percent and cut repair costs by as much as 80 percent. These figures have already brought the StreetScooter in the attention of other delivery companies and word has it DHL might sell it to others as soon as it replaces every conventional vehicle in its fleet.
Now this is what really bothers Volkswagen and the like.
Continue reading for the full story.
German manufacturers Volkswagen and BMW joined forces with the California-based ChargePoint Inc. to expand the electric-vehicle infrastructure throughout the U.S., and this blitzkrieg has borne fruit in the form of two new major EV charging networks within two of the most heavily traveled corridors on the East and West coast.
The Express Charging Corridors Initiative announced on the 13th of September, 2016, the addition of 95 new public charging stations meant to support EV travel from Portland, Oregon to San Diego, California, out West and from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C., down East. These are DC, fast-charge stations set at 50-mile increments along the main highway with additional stations on the branches that feed traffic to the local places-to-be-and-see, so suddenly EV touring is a thing.
Continue reading for more information on the new charging stations.
Since its release in the U.S. in December 2014, the 2015 VW e-Golf has sold a respectable 668 units (as of March 6, 2015). Sure, that’s nothing for a traditional car, but for a niche EV that is only available in certain markets, that is pretty dang good. What’s more, the e-Golf was only available in a single, fully loaded trim level: the SLE. As we move into the 2016 model year, Volkswagen is preparing a lower-level e-Golf Limited Edition to help gauge demand for a less-expensive, lesser-equipped model.
The new e-Golf Limited Edition not only opens the door for more buyers, but it also gives VW the chance to see how well the model would sell among the masses. This is likely phase two of a three-phase launch, and I think the next phase will be a base model that only has the bare necessities. If this phase and the subsequent phases are all successful on a limited-release basis, look for the brand to do a full launch of the e-Golf across the nation.
Will this new e-Golf Limited Edition be successful?
Continue reading to find out what I think.
2015 - 2017 Volkswagen Passat GTE
It took the Volkswagen Passat about 40 years to become the vehicle we all know today. It all started when the Germans introduced the Dasher in the U.S. in 1974. Although named differently and equipped with some additional safety and emission-reducing features, the Dasher was the same as the Euro-spec Passat. The name was changed to Quantum in 1982, eight years before the Passat nameplate finally arrive in North America. 2014 brought the eighth-generation Passat in Europe, a vehicle that rides on the company’s new MQB platform and boasts a redesigned exterior and interior. Set to find its way Stateside in 2016, the new Passat also marks the introduction of a hybrid model, the first for the popular moniker.
Dubbed Passat GTE, the plug-in hybrid borrows the same powertrain launched with the Golf GTE, although output has been increased to cope with the increased curb weight of a midsize sedan and wagon. The bad news is the U.S. isn’t getting the GTE anytime soon, but the launch that’s set to take place at the 2014 Paris Motor Show is a good preview of what we’ll be getting in a few years.
Update 08-01-2016: Volkswagen has announced U.K. Pricing for the Volkswagen Passat GTE. Check out the Prices section below for all the details.
Click past the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Passat GTE.
Volkswagen’s dream of developing a 235-mpg car (1 liter per 100 kilometers) has finally been realized, as the new XL1 will be making its world debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. To make things even better, the first details have been released today. Volkswagen describes it as "a spectacular appearance – a car of the future, built for today."
On the exterior, the model remains pretty much identical to the concept unveiled at the 2011 Qatar Motor Show, including those cool gullwing doors. Still, the car is a little bit better than VW hoped, because its fuel consumption goes down to an impressive 0.9 liters per 100 kilometers, or 261 U.S. mpg.
The model will be unveiled next month at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and the first production batch will consist of just 50 units, with any other unit being developed on demand.
Updated 6/27/2014: Volkswagen has announced that the XL1 is ready for launch, and the first car was delivered to a German buyer in May 2014. It is also now available in the UK at £98,515 ($167,736 as of 6/27/2014) on the road.
Hit the jump to read more about the new Volkswagen XL1.
In another nod at green racing, the German automaker Volkswagen has just launched the Scirocco Bio-CNG-powered race series for 2010. With CO2 emissions reduced by 80%, the new Scirocco Cup will become the most eco-friendly one-make championship in the world, making it even more environmentally friendly than their previous Jetta TDI Cup. The Scirocco Cup car is based on the standard TSI unit that is fitted in the road going Scirocco, the Bio-CNG-racing version of the 2.0 Liter four pot develops a maximum output of 215 HP and 203 lb-ft of torque from the alternative fuel burning internal combustion engine.
In order to run a compressed natural gas setup, the Sciroccos are fitted with a 22 liter fuel tank mounted directly behind the driver and is protected by the race car’s roll cage. The so-called Bio-CNG that the Volkswagen Scirocco Cup cars will burn is produced from renewable resources such as grass or a special type of corn as well as from refined biological waste. In order to house the alternative fuel, the tanks themselves are made from a composite material and a series of stainless steel pipes and special valves are added which are required for CNG operation. The Scirocco Cup racing cars will use tried and tested components from Volkswagen production models with CNG engines ensuring that the competition cars are not only reliable, but that the innovations learned on the racetrack will be directly applicable to their street cars.
Press release after the jump.
In an attempt to conserve more of the Earth’s natural resources, Volkswagen’s future line-up will include a three-cylinder power plant and an all new hybrid engine. Unfortunately, the planed 55 MPG clean diesel roadster is on hold until the economy picks back up. In an interview with the German magazine, Auto Motor Und Sport, with VW’s head of development, Ulrich Hackenberg had this to say: “The three-cylinder is certainly a great future; we devote ourselves to intensive mechanical, thermodynamic and acoustic development. We will continue the three-cylinder, in any case in the VW Golf to offer."
The hybrid Golf will debut sometime in 2011 and Ulrich thinks that it will be the perfect personal transportation solution for densely populated urban centers, like the growing mega cities found in China and the United States.
If the roadster ever does become a reality, you probably won’t see a Porsche version, but according to Hackenberg, there is a strong possibility that Audi will have a four ringed version as well.
Now diesel owners can reap the same tax benefits as hybrid owners. The IRS approved the TDI Jettas, both the sedan and wagon, for the Advanced Lean Burn Technology Motor Vehicle income tax credit of $1300. "The $1,300 tax credit provides an even greater value to the upcoming Jetta TDI sedan and SportWagen,” said Mark Barnes, COO, Volkswagen of America, Inc. “Our clean diesel vehicles offer consumers the fuel efficiency that they’re looking for while providing power, utility, performance, safety and excellent value."
The TDI Jettas are EPA rated at 29/40 mpg city/highway, but according to VW the real world results are 38/44. The new diesel Jettas will be available in August or early September.