CHICAGO — Top Volkswagen of America executives say when the German brand brings its first battery-electric vehicle, the ID4 crossover, to the U.S. market this year, it will come with a range that is competitive with other EVs in the segment — and greater than that of the Audi e-tron, Volkswagen Group's first EV.
Speaking to reporters at the Chicago Auto Show this month, Volkswagen of America COO Johan de Nysschen said the brand was taking steps to improve the range of its upcoming line of EVs in the U.S.
"I think we have to ensure that they are able to present a car with a competitive range. That's it," de Nysschen explained, when asked how Volkswagen dealers would compete with competitors such as Tesla that boast superior range. "If the market wants 300 miles [of range], it's no good offering 150."
Audi dealers say the 204-mile range of the e-tron crossover has hampered the premium brand's first foray into electrification because it lags the 250-mile range of the base Tesla Model 3; higher-trim models are rated at 322 miles. The e-tron, which went on sale in the U.S. in April, posted 5,369 sales through the end of 2019.
Hein Schafer, senior vice president for product marketing and strategy for Volkswagen of America, told reporters that the mass-market brand's first EV will come to market this year with a range "that will be better than e-tron," though he would not disclose what that range would be.
Volkswagen plans to unveil the ID4 in the coming months — either at the New York auto show in April or the Detroit auto show in June. The battery-powered compact crossover, which is about the size of a Volkswagen Tiguan, is initially to be imported from Germany, but production is expected to move to Volkswagen's Chattanooga assembly plant in 2022 after the plant undergoes an $800 million expansion to make it and other BEVs for North America.