German car giant Volkswagen says its first branded electric vehicles in Australia – the ID.4 and the ID.5 – will cost around the same as their petrol and diesel equivalents when they are released on the local market in late 2023.
Volkswagen has imported two of its ID.4 electric SUVs into Australia, to stir the interest of local media and of fleet buyers, and to coincide with the opening of an early “waitlist” for private customers before Christmas.
The most interesting part of the news is that price parity will arrive for both the ID.4 – which won a “world car of the year” award for 2021 – and the ID.5, which is essentially the same vehicle but with a “coupe” styling at the rear.
The devil will be in the detail, of course, and will depend on inclusions, and final decisions on the specifications of the cars on offer in Australia, as they will change from those on offer in Europe and the UK.
But broadly, they will be around the same as the broadly similar fossil fuel Tiguan and will range from $62,000 to around $85,000, depending on the model, and the specifications.
“The ID.4 will bring electric performance to a broad customer base with target pricing similar to our most in-demand SUV, the Tiguan 162TSI R-Line,” the company says in a statement.
“Arriving at the same time will be the coupe-style ID.5 with pricing similar to a Tiguan R, enabling customers to alternatively pick an even more design-focused BEV.”
It’s a significant development for the market given the common belief that EVs cost vastly more than their petrol or diesel equivalents. Granted, these ID.4s and ID.5s are still not exactly within mass market price range, but the fact that EVs are now in the same ball park as their premium petrol and diesel competitors is a significant step forward.
Volkswagen has resisted bringing EVs to Australia till now, blaming the lack of supportive government policy, and the lack of vehicle emissions standards in particular.
It now sees the import of the ID.4 and the ID.5 as the “most sizeable opportunity for Volkswagen Australia in countless years,” according to Michael Szaniecki, the brand director of Volkswagen Passenger Vehicles.
The ID.4 and the ID.5 will likely be followed, or even accompanied, by the smaller ID.3, which will be undergoing a facelift in the middle of next year. As for numbers, VW is not putting a fixed number but it is talking in terms of several thousands.
“We’d like to sell 3,000 to 4,000 (ID.4s) in the first 12 months,” says Michelle Rowney, the head of product for passenger vehicles at VW Australia. That, of course, will depend on local demand, and supply from the German factory. Rowney hopes to take total 12 month sales to around 5,000 in the first 12 months, including the ID.5.
But given the increased interest in EVs in Australia – VW now accepts that the EV market is at a tipping point – then it won’t be a big surprise to see huge demand for these vehicles, also given the difficult in obtaining other electric SUVs around the same price point.
The two ID.4s that VW has brought into Australia have UK specifications –a Pro Performance with an 82kWh battery and 522km range, and a Pure Performance with a 55kWh battery and 345km range.
“The ID.4 will not set out to charge customers a premium for being a style statement or shortchange practicalities in any way for being electric,” Szaniecki says. “We know that Australians most love medium SUVs, and the ID.4 combines thisversatilebodystylewith enviable Volkswagen engineering including a long range.
Both the ID.4 and the ID.5 are produced on VW’s dedicated, modular battery electric vehicle (BEV) architecture known as MEB, which allows its designers and engineers to minimise the front and rear overhangs of the vehicle, and increase interior space, and improve handling.
The ID.4 Pro Performance will be able to charge at a rate of up to 125kW for DC fast charging. It can get from 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds and it has 19″ wheels.
The Pro also has progressive steering, area view camera, augmented reality head up display, 12in infotainment (versus a 10 inch display for the Pure,) and 450W 7-speaker audio, and it has a sunroof.
The embargo for media writers’ drive impressions lifts next week, so we will report on them then. You can also read a report on our drive of an ID.5 and inspection of an ID.4 during our recent trip to the UK: ID.4 and ID.5 first look and drive: VW’s practical solution to electric driving