In recent years, Volkswagen has seen hybrids and plug-in hybrids slowing the US transition to electric cars. But that may no longer be the case plug-in hybrids .
At the 2023 Chicago Auto Show, Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Pablo Di Si told EVguiden Reports that plug-in hybrids are back in consideration for the U.S.
Di Si said the more options on the table the better because ”we take CO2 and emissions seriously, and this is another solution.”
During a media roundtable, Volkswagen of America Senior Vice President of Sales Hein Schafer showed a presentation slide with two columns: one with ICE vehicles and one with BEVs. The executive noted that the automaker currently needed both types of vehicles to be competitive in the market.
Such a choice to move from an internal combustion product to hybrid or plug-in hybrid has fronted VW’s messaging since around 2017, when it began pushing towards the launch of the ID.4 and its MEB platform. In 2019, both GM and VW stood by their positions avoiding forms of hybrid technology, as it would only slow down the progress of going all-in on EVs.
Before the recent focus on electric cars, VW was into the idea of hybridization, calling plug-in hybrids a ”bridge” to pure electric cars as far back as 2014 – a year before the Dieselgate emissions scandal hit. During that era, Volkswagen was one of the few automakers that went so far as to plan plug-ins with CCS fast charging.
Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE Concept Live Photos, 2015 Detroit Auto Show plug-in hybrids
Currently, the American VW team is facing some decisions. It plans to submit a proposal for an electrified pickup truck built in America to the VW board in Germany in the third quarter of this year, according to Di Si. plug-in hybrids While the executive wouldn’t confirm what platform the truck would ride on, the Atlas is the only vehicle large enough to support such a model while it’s still being built in the United States.
Moments before talking about that possibility, Volkswagen’s North American sales and marketing chief Andrew Savvas had confirmed that the next generation of the three-row passenger car could be electrified. Meanwhile, VW updated the Atlas range, still without electrification, at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show.
At the same briefing, Savvas confirmed that the next-generation Atlas could be electrified. Di Si noted that electrification could be in the form of a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain. The executive acknowledged that the former would be more cost-effective, but the latter would be more impactful.
”It is not strategically wise to go into multiple directions for hybrids,” Di Si said.
Asked later why VW appears to have changed its position on American plug-in hybrids (and perhaps hybrids) once again, Di Si said ”things change,” noting ”the world moves at a different speed.”
Volkswagen Plug In is coming
”We need global solutions,” Di Si said while noting Volkswagen’s already confirmed PHEVs for the European market.
The executive said Volkswagen needs to bridge the gap between EVs and ICEs – perhaps by consciously revisiting the language VW used long before all-electric became such a big part of its future.