Volkswagen will soon offer two electric cargo vans, but on two different platforms.
The next-gen Transit Custom and Transporter will be built at the Ford Otosan factory in Turkey, and offer combustion, electric and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
The Transporter will reportedly share not only its chassis with Ford, but also its batteries, electric motors, engines and transmissions.
The Volkswagen will reportedly launch in 2024, and offer panel van, two-row crew van and nine-seater Shuttle variants. A sporty-looking Sportline trim is a possibility.
The latter appears a likely replacement for the current T6.1 Caravelle. Its Multivan sibling has already been spun off onto a separate platform – the MQB underpinnings used by Volkswagen passenger vehicles – and will spawn a next-generation California camper, previewed this year in concept form.
“A Multivan has to be much more comfortable and much more upscale [than the Transporter]. This is why we now have two line-ups,” Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles boss Carsten Intra explained to Autocar.
“We cannot afford to build another platform [for the same vehicle]. It is just too expensive. This is a vehicle that, unlike the California, doesn’t give you the highest margin per sale.”
In Europe, the new Transit Custom is available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel in four different tunes. Of greatest relevance to Australia are the two tunes available with an eight-speed automatic transmission: one with 100kW of power, the other with 125kW.
The new Transit Custom gains the option of an all-wheel drive system – something already offered in Volkswagen’s T6.1 series – while maximum towing capacity has been increased to 2500kg.
In some markets like Europe, a plug-in hybrid will continue to be offered. This features a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and an 11.8kWh battery, with a claimed 56km of electric range.
Topping the Transit Custom range is the E-Transit Custom, which uses a 74kWh battery pack and a 160kW/415Nm electric motor.
Using the 11kW AC three-phase charger, you’ll be able to fully recharge the E-Transit Custom’s battery in a claimed 7.2 hours.
It also supports DC fast charging at up to 125kW, with a 15-80 per cent recharge taking a claimed 41 minutes. Range on the stricter WLTP cycle is up to 380km.
The next-generation Transit Custom has independent rear suspension, and will be offered in four guises: short-wheelbase or long-wheelbase, coupled with a low or high roof.
Inside, the Transit Custom features a 13-inch Sync 4 infotainment touchscreen, while some models have a steering wheel that folds to act as a desk.
The Transporter may stick with the Ford infotainment system but with unique graphics, while we can also expect differentiated styling inside and out like Volkswagen has done with its Ford Ranger-related Amarok and Ford has done with its Volkswagen Caddy-based Tourneo Connect.
While the Transit Custom and E-Transit Custom have been locked in for an Australian launch in 2024, Volkswagen Australia hasn’t confirmed timing for the Transporter – understandable, given it hasn’t been revealed yet.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles director Ryan Davies confirmed late last year production of the T6.1 Transporter, Multivan and Caravelle would run until the end of 2023, but the vehicles “could theoretically run longer than [the end of 2023]” – suggesting there could be stock to tide the brand over into 2024.
The T6.1 Multivan will be belatedly replaced in Australia by the T7 Multivan late in 2024, with its launch coinciding with that of the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo.