Volkswagen brand aims to develop a full-electric sedan for global markets that could take on Tesla's flagship. It will be built in VW's home plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.
The new model would slot in above the VW Aero midsize electric car, which is due in 2023, but below upper-premium electric sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz EQS that will debut next year, a VW source told Automotive News Europe.
"Think Model S," a second source said.
While the Model S is priced to compete with the upper-premium models such as the Mercedes S-Class, its dimensions more closely match those of the large premium E-Class, which is in the segment below.
VW Group board members this month approved giving Wolfsburg the brand flagship sedan as it pushes to turn the longtime production home of the Golf into a "pioneering factory for the highly automated manufacture" of electric vehicles.
Influential VW labor leader Bernd Osterloh in September called for an EV to be built in Wolfsburg by 2025, demanding that the model use the automaker's latest generation technology and newest software. Osterloh is a member of VW's supervisory board that makes strategic decisions at the automaker.
The demand was reiterated by VW Group board member Stephan Weil, who is also the head of Lower Saxony, the German state that includes Wolfsburg.
VW Group previously announced large investments to build EVs at factories in Hanover, Emden and Zwickau without committing to EV production in Wolfsburg. An investment plan with a concrete development budget and estimated production volumes for Wolfsburg still needs to be finalized.
Despite its size, the sedan would still fit on an evolved version of the MEB platform, which already underpins the ID3 and ID4 electric models and was designed for vehicles in the compact and midsize segments.
Keeping the new sedan on the MEB architecture would help VW avoid using the more expensive PPE architecture that VW Group premium brands Audi and Porsche will use. The PPE platform relies on costlier technology to, among other things, speed up battery recharging times.
The estimated output for the new sedan could rise to 300,000 units a year, the VW source said, if production would be extended to key overseas markets such as China and the United States.
Development of the sedan would be managed on an elite level, bundling all activities from engineering to production, according to the company. This would give VW brand a setup similar to Audi subsidiary Artemis, which functions as a type of corporate skunk works focused on delivering the group's most technologically advanced vehicle as early as 2024.