Volkswagen is working on a new electric vehicle platform for its rugged Scout ute and SUV, but it won’t underpin an electric ute wearing a VW badge.
Automotive News Europe reports word from global head of the Volkswagen brand Thomas Schäfer that there are no plans for this “Rugged SUV” platform to be used, at least not this decade, for a Volkswagen-branded electric ute.
“At the moment, our focus on the lineup doesn’t include it,” said Mr Schäfer.
“At the moment, we have a clear lineup all the way through the second half of this decade. Then again, in the American market, if you do not play in certain segments, then you have to stay in a certain market share area. But the question of [VW’s new Rugged SUV platform] is not our priority at the moment.”
That doesn’t rule out a Volkswagen-branded model on this platform next decade, however, with Scout Motors CEO Scott Keogh telling the publication in May: “This platform could, could provide an opportunity for other group vehicles. Yes. I want to be clear on this thing: This platform could definitely provide an opportunity for non-Scout vehicles”
The first Scout-branded vehicles will be revealed in concept form in 2023, ahead of production beginning in 2026.
These are being developed with the North American market in mind, and Volkswagen hasn’t confirmed whether they’ll be offered elsewhere.
While the Volkswagen brand may not receive a ute on a dedicated EV platform this decade, it could bring an electric ute to market in the shape of an Amarok.
“We’re looking at a pure-electric version,” Lars Krause, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle board member responsible for marketing, told Autocar earlier this year.
“It’s still early, but it’s something we’re considering within the lifecycle.”
The Amarok’s body-on-frame architecture can accommodate an electric drivetrain and battery pack, according to Mr Krause.
“We think it’s possible. Obviously, we’d need to modify certain elements. But yes, we’re seriously considering an electric variant,” said Mr Krause.
Autocar reports the Amarok EV could launch by 2025.
The next-generation Volkswagen Amarok, due here early in 2023, shares its underpinnings with the redesigned Ford Ranger.
Mr Krause seemed less than enthusiastic about a plug-in hybrid Amarok despite the brand selling a wide range of plug-in hybrid models in Europe.
“Right now, we’re not satisfied with the electric range of the plug-in hybrid. I’d never say never, but we’re looking more towards a full electric version,” Mr Krause told Autocar.
Ford Europe effectively confirmed last year it’d launch a plug-in hybrid Ranger by 2024, with the company saying it aims for its commercial vehicle range to be “zero-emission capable” by that year.
Subsequently, Ford’s T6 chief platform engineer Ian Foston has confirmed the Ranger has been engineered for electrification.
“Platform lifecycle is anything up to 10 to 12 years. We said, well, clearly electrification is going to be something which we have to consider going forward,” Mr Foston said.
“So we made sure the platform was capable of it. And we engineered electrification into it, to make sure that all the different propulsion technologies would be able to fit within the platform going forward.”
Much of the design and engineering for the second-generation Volkswagen ute was handled in Australia, led by Ford’s Victorian R&D team.
However, Volkswagen had its team working parallel to the program.
Autocar suggests an electric Amarok and Ranger – the latter a more affordable, compact alternative to the F-150 Lightning – could be produced in the US, with the American-market version of the Ranger set to enter production soon at a plant in Wayne, Michigan.
With the exception of a few Chinese EVs including the LDV eT60 and upcoming Radar RD6, most electric pickups have been on the larger end of the spectrum.
These include the aforementioned F-150 Lightning, as well as the Rivian R1T, GMC Hummer EV and upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV and Ram 1500 BEV.
While no Scout-based Volkswagen EV is in the works, the brand is developing other large EVs.
Automotive News Europe reports a large, three-row crossover – possibly called the ID.8 – is set to enter production at the company’s Tennessee plant alongside the similarly sized, combustion-powered Atlas, while a long-wheelbase ID. Buzz is coming which may also be produced in North America.
Volkswagen has also previewed its upcoming large sedan in concept form as the ID. Aero.