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VW thinks it needs a new electric car in its lineup and is working on a compact hatchback EV to go up against the likes of the BMW i3 and the Nissan Leaf.
According to German car magazine Auto Bild, the new model does not yet have a name and has been simply designated as a NUVe. VW will premiere the model first as a concept at the Paris auto show this coming fall. The new EV will take the form of a compact, five-door hatch but have as much room inside as a VW Passat. Production will ride on the automaker’s MEB platform for electric vehicles.
The advantage of creating an electric car from scratch, instead of a variant such as the e-Golf, which is based on the conventionally-powered Golf, is that it could be engineered as an EV from its conception. VW is working on 6 concepts for the MEB platform, 4 of which Auto Bild says stand a good chance of making it to production. The new i3 competitor is scheduled to go to market in 2019.
The new model is part of VW’s strategy to re-invent itself after the damage done to its image by dieselgate which has pushed the German automakers to move towards electrification more quickly.
It remains to be seen how much of a market really does exist for such EVs. Nissan sold 43,651 Leafs globally in 2015 but the BMW i3 found only 25,000 buyers last year. The Tesla Model 3, though, a compact electric sedan, has received almost 400,000 orders since it’s launch earlier this year.