Green light for Volkswagen's electric ID models in NZ (and you can go to a shopping mall to see one)
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It's no thanks to hatchbacks and a fast charge toward SUVs under Volkswagen New Zealand's launch plan for the ID battery electric vehicle (BEV) range in 2023.
It's been a long road to get the brand's new pure-electric vehicles to NZ. The first model from VW's BEV-only ID brand was launched in Europe back in 2019: the ID.3 hatch, ostensibly a BEV equivalent to the Golf, but on a bespoke platform called MEB.
VW NZ is passing over the ID.3, at least at launch, to focus on the ID.4 and ID.5 from 2023. The former is a rakish medium family SUV, the latter an even more curvaceous coupe-style version of the same. They will have a 77kWh battery, giving a range of 450-500km.
It's a case of focusing on the ID with the best potential, says VW NZ general manager Greg Leet (above): "We can’t take everything, so to narrow in on the SUV range, which clearly is the biggest seller for Kiwis, makes sense. We're really focused on delivering as much of the best model available for NZ and that’s the ID.4 and ID.5."
Leet says VW NZ will launch before mid-2023 with good supply - enough to be mixing it up in the charts with top-selling BEVs like the Tesla Model 3 and Polestar 2. While he won't talk specific production allocation, Leet says there are a "meaningful number" of IDs destined for NZ: "We are by no means taking a small approach to launching this car. It's a milestone for the brand and it's important we have the product to back it up. We've got big ambitions for this car."
Leet also points out that while it's been a long wait, NZ is doing pretty well given the "ferocious appetite" for the ID cars; this will be the first country outside Europe to have the ID.4.
While supply and demand has been an issue across the board, Leet reckons Covid-19 and semiconductor shortages might have helped the ID cause in some ways: "The factory has prioritised the electric cars over the ICE models; so while they have still been delayed, the momentum of EVs hasn't stalled like ICE."
Much will hang on VW's ability to offer models under the $80k Clean Car Discount cap, to enable customers to claim the maximum $8625 back from the Government. While pricing is not confirmed at this stage, Leet says it's "definitely our ambition to have a car at that level and we're relatively confident".
The ID range will also extend to VW commercial vehicles in NZ. As already reported by DRIVEN, the T1 Kombi-inspired retro-futuristic ID.Buzz is on the way (potentially serving as a pseudo-SUV, albeit in five-seat form first), along with the ID.Cargo, in the second half of 2023.
VW's electric range isn't totally about ID BEVs. We've already had an introduction to its plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) via the van division with the car-based T7 Multivan. But VW NZ is also promising PHEV versions of the Golf, Passat Alltrack, Tiguan and the high-performance Touareg R.
In fact, VW NZ claims it will be selling more electric vehicles than ICE by 2024 - a huge claim when it didn't have a single plug-in model a month ago.
Pricing and specification detail won't be released until later in the year, but VW NZ has an ID.4 on show (alongside a T7 Multivan PHEV) at The Car Store inside Auckland's Westfield Newmarket shopping centre until July 11.