Speaking with Auto Express, the sales and marketing boss, Jurgen Stackmann, explained the significance of the show for the Volkswagen brand and in particular, their electric ambitions.
"Everything comes together - everything we have worked on for almost 3 years. New brand design, a very fresh approach to our style".
Volkswagen will introduce the production version of the Golf sized ID. Hatchback at the show, while Stackmann has also promised we'll get to see a 'hint' of the car that will follow it: the finished version of the ID Crozz SUV. However, when asked about electric vehicles, the Volkswagen executive explained that the brand's immediate plan is to bring the e-up! electric city car back into the fold.
“The market below will be captured by a fabulous e-up! with an extended range that will be shown to you at Frankfurt as well," said Stackmann.
Volkswagen also plans to produce a Polo sized electric supermini using the MEB platform, possibly priced from around £20,000, but battery costs mean it is unlikely to surface as a production model until 2023 at the earliest. As such the updated e-up! will have to occupy a sizable hole in Volkswagen's electric line-up, so a decent upgrade over the 99 mile range of the old e-up! could be on the cards.
Rising costs and new emissions legislation could force Volkswagen into axing the regular up! city car and offer it as an electric vehicle only. A longer-range version of the e-up! will support this.
The future of the up! has been hanging in the balance for some time, but at the Geneva Motor Show back in March, Stackmann revealed to Auto Express that new regulations will make it impossible to justify a business case for a new, conventionally powered city car.
“We are working to give a second life to the e-up! - it has big role to play in the next three to four years, in the long term the big question mark is if the legal system is pursuing and implementing the legal regulations they have just confirmed there is not a single business case for the cars the size of the up! – it’s just not possible.”
Stackmann added: “The cars are too small to carry high technology and a normal combustion engine is just impossible to reach the required CO2 levels. So in theory you’d have to sell an electric car to compensate for the problem of a [conventional] up! where the margin is already thin. We are focusing on the e-up! going forwards.”
However, the e-up! will not become part of Volkswagen’s new ID. range of electric vehicles, Stackmann told us. As the car is not able to switch to the new MEB platform it will sit as an entry point to EV ownership.