Credit to Author: Steve Hanley| Date: Thu, 26 Nov 2020 16:37:08 +0000
Published on November 26th, 2020 | by Steve Hanley
November 26th, 2020 by Steve Hanley
The Volkswagen ID.4 electric SUV is already in production alongside the ID.3 in Zwickau. US customers can reserve one right now online and track it on its way to their local Volkswagen dealer, although the website doesn’t say specifically when the first cars are expected to arrive. But the company is investing about $800 million to add an EV assembly line at its factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. When will US built ID.4s be available?
The Volkswagen Passat is already manufactured in Tennessee. According to Driving, the ID.4 and the Passat will be built side by side in that factory for some period of time, but when the Passat reaches the end of its production run in 2023, it will be withdrawn from the American market, leaving the Chattanooga factory to ramp up electric car production. The move should come as no surprise. Americans continue to demand gargantuan automobiles. Most would rather eat worms than drive a sedan or a hatchback, which is why the ID.3 is not available in the US. The massive VW Atlas and Atlas Cross — two of the company’s hottest sellers in America — are manufactured in Tennessee as well.
“We’ve made a decision to cancel the Passat for the U.S. The sales trend is very firmly in favor of SUV models, as indicated by the success of the Atlas,” Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter told Ward’s Auto recently. The Passat may soldier on in Canada for a while longer and a 9th generation of the car is planned for China and Europe.
Ageing hippies like myself are more interested in the forthcoming ID.Buzz, which probably will be called something else when it goes on sale. Cars are about emotions and there are few vehicles in history that inspired more passion than the original Volkswagen microbus. The Jaguar XK-E and the original Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa come to mind. Rumors of an electrified version have been circulating for almost a decade. Now Motor 1 reports the ID.Buzz will begin production at VW’s commercial vehicle factory in 2022. In addition to the ID.Buzz, the Hannover factory will also be adapted to produce two other premium electric SUVs for various brands within the Volkswagen group and electric versions of the company’s T series Multivan vehicles.
“Our main plant in Hannover is becoming the production site for three completely new premium electric vehicles in the Group,” says Dr Carsten Intra, chairman of the board of management at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. “These D-SUVs are genuine flagship projects: premium, 100 percent electric, and highly automated. Today’s decision by the Volkswagen supervisory board is thus an important milestone for our high-tech site and a great show of faith in the productivity of our team. We were able to secure this decision in favor of our location with our assured efficiency and top level of production quality. My thanks are due today to every one of our colleagues whose work made this pioneering decision possible.” Volkswagen is investing $800 million to adapt the factory to electric vehicle production.
Bertina Murkovic, who heads the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ works council, says the Hannover factory had to compete with other factories for the chance to build the new electric SUVs. “The competition with other Group brands was tough,” she says. “But ultimately, backed by our site agreement and with our expertise in quality production we were able to win these products for Hannover. A level of utilization that, as agreed, ensures our employment levels along the demographic curve has thus been secured for the coming years. The new Multivan, the ID.Buzz and now the D-SUVs are our portfolio for this decade. No greater security than this could be established at the current time for the location or the workforce.”
Around my house, the idea of getting a Tesla is getting closer to reality, especially now that the return of actual adults at all levels of the US government suggests some form of financial incentives/tax credits may once again be available to Tesla buyers. But as pleasant as that prospect is, the car that makes our eyes shine and our pulse race is the ID.Buzz. My wife and I have so far avoided the SUV mania that has swept America and we snicker up our sleeves at those who opt for a $70,00 pickup truck to transport the kiddies to soccer practice. But we can see ourselves in an ID.Buzz, complete with a flower on the dashboard and peace signs on its flanks, cruising the highways and byways of America. We would buy one today if we could.
Cadillac is pulling the introduction of its Lyriq electric SUV forward by 9 months. So, if you are listening, Chairman Diess, please, please, please make the ID.Buzz available sooner rather than later. We would be ever so grateful.
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Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.