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VW’s big electric vehicle plans to outsell Tesla in Australia

Within years, we could be seeing more Volkswagen ID.4s, Cupra Borns and Skoda Enyaqs on the road than Tesla electric cars, if a prediction made by Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) managing director Paul Sansom proves true.

Sansom, newly appointed to the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia board, says he thinks the group will outsell even Tesla – currently the EV leader locally with a tight 70% hold on the market.

“Already Australia‘s primary importers of European passenger vehicles, VGA will become the most significant source of electric vehicles in this country,” Sansom said.

VGA managing director Paul Sansom. supplies

The German marque has been reticent to introduce electric models to the local market in previous years, largely because of a lack of local policy, particularly the absence of vehicle emissions standards.

With little to no support for electric vehicles in Australia at a national policy level, and no desire from government to introduce better vehicle standards, Volkswagen has instead prioritized EVs for markets such as Europe where policy levers are stricter.

But as Sansom notes, the global EV transition is a key part of an “irrevocable mega trend” that will have a lasting impact on the planet as a whole.

“Electric vehicles are the form of personal mobility to meet the demands of urbanization, sustainability and digitalization – the three prevailing and irrevocable megatrends of life in our time,” Mr Sansom said.

While Tesla sold 12,094 EVs in 2021, and 4,417 in the first quarter of 2022 with just one model (the Model 3) on the market, VGA does not yet have one EV available.

The ID series will be headed by the ID.4 SUV when it arrives, The Driven understands, but a timeline for launch has not yet been set in stone by the group. Its EVs are among the best selling in Europe.

The ID.4 Source: VolkswagenThe ID.4 Source: VolkswagenThe ID.4 Source: Volkswagen

However, VGA is planning to shortly introduce its first all-electric model, in the form of the Cupra Born as the VW performance brand prepares to launch on the local auto market for the first time.

Cupra has been testing the electric Born hot hatch on Australian roads and it is expected to land in late 2022 at an “affordable” price that will likely compete with electric compacts like the Hyundai Ioniq fastback and Nissan Leaf.

Which specific variants will make it to Australia are yet to be announced but expect a wide range of high-spec vehicles and a maximum driving range of 548 kilometers (WLTP).

The Cupra Born.  Source: VW AustraliaThe Cupra Born.  Source: VW AustraliaThe Cupra Born. Source: VW Australia

It was also recently confirmed that the Skoda Enyaq iV will come to Australia in two formats – a smart SUV and an elegant coupé.

Pricing for both are not yet confirmed but in overseas markets it is available with two battery capacities, with either rear- or all-wheel drive, and four power output options ranging from 132kW to 220kW, as well as a range of up to 545 kilometers (WLTP) depending on the specifications.

Ultimately though, these and any ID series that make it to Australia will most need to compete with the upcoming Tesla Model Y, pricing for which was leaked on Wednesday.

Starting from $67,990, the Model Y is expected to outsell the Model 3 which is currently priced at $63,900 before on-road costs and delivery fees.

The Skoda Enyaq Coupe IV. Source: SkodaThe Skoda Enyaq Coupe IV. Source: SkodaThe Skoda Enyaq Coupe IV. Source: Skoda

With EV sales tripling each year in Australia, if this trend holds Tesla sales could burgeon to 50,000 a year easily by the end of 2023, meaning Volkswagen will have some serious catching up to do.

Even now, the Tesla Model 3 has reached #14 in sales volume in March, and #4 best-selling passenger car after the MG MG3, Hyundai i30 and Toyota Corolla.

In 2021, Volkswagen’s market share fell just shy of 4%, making it the 8th most bought brand. All Volkswagen group brands combined – Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Porsche as well as Lamborghini and Bentley – accounted for around 6.7% putting the group as a whole at #5 with around 70,000 cars sold.

Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organizer of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.

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