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VW confirms e-car plans

As firm's Chairman warns of 'electric vehicle hype'

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Leccy Tech Volkswagen has announced plans to launch a small electric car in 2013. But the firm’s Chairman has warned the market to be cautious against premature e-car hype.

Speaking at a recent energy conference in Munich, Martin Winterkorn said that his firm’s first e-car will be based on its Up! urban vehicle concept.

By 2019 VW also hopes to offer a range of e-cars, each costing no more than €2,000 (£1,700/$2,800) above the corresponding price of a petrol or diesel model.

VW hasn’t disclosed any technical details on the leccy Up! But the firm said that by 2019 a decent e-car should have a range of around 480 miles, a charge time of between one and two hours and access to quick-change battery swap facilities.

VW_Up_Concept

VW's 2013 e-car will be based on the Up! concept car

It’s not all smooth driving up ahead, though, Winterkorn noted. In his view several problems persist with leccy cars, including range and charge time – both of which the VW executive described as “simply inappropriate” for the job at hand.

Winterkorn also hinted that the current cost of battery packs for small e-cars with a modest range are too high, with prices set somewhere in the region of between €8,000 (£6,900/$11,000) and €12,000 (£10,300/$16,700).

Electric cars will still only account for between 1 and 1.5 per cent of all cars on the world's roads by 2020, according to VW’s figures. It’s safe to assume that e-car numbers will be highest in developed urban areas, though.

“We are witnessing an electro-hype,” said Winterkorn. “Experts, consultants and politicians tumble over one another with forecasts” resulting in “massively false expectations by the customer”.

He also questioned how environmentally friendly e-cars are if they draw power from coal-fired power stations, suggesting that more effort needs to be put into renewable generation for electric vehicles. ®

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