Zero-Emissions cars: the Volkswagen Group (VAG) lineup
#automotiveZero-Emissions cars: the Volkswagen Group (VAG) lineup

Automakers globally are putting more and more focus on reducing the overall emissions of their vehicle lineups, as ever-more stringent regulations have forced their hand to reduce their impact on the environment. In addition, consumers have also spoken out with their wallets, and with an ever-increasing demand for electric vehicles (EV), car manufacturers have just one way to wiggle out of the predicament they find themselves in: to electrify their lineups.

Apart from the electric-only brands, such as Tesla or Rivian, the Volkswagen Group (VAG) has been one of the prominent names in the ever-growing market of electric vehicles. According to EV-Volumes, VAG was the second-largest company in terms of the number of EVs, as the global market for battery-powered cars reached 6.75 million units in 2021, more than doubling its result compared to 2020 (108%). The market, despite the amount of attention it gets, was still relatively small – only 8.3% of the total vehicle sales were electric in 2021 – but exponential growth is still synonymous with EVs.

In its most recent financial update, the Wolfsburg-based auto conglomerate noted that “BEV demand continued to grow rapidly in Q2, with the order intake in Western Europe for H1 2022 40 percent above the previous year’s level,” with H1 deliveries growing by 27% to 217,000 cars globally. More capacity was added in the United States and Germany, to build the ID.4 and the ID. Buzz, respectively.

But if you were to buy an EV from the European auto group, what kind of options would you have?

The Modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform

Before getting into the nitty-gritty of the whole lineup that bears the badges of Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Cupra, Škoda, or other vehicles, it is important to mention that many of the VAG-badged cars are based on the Modular electric drive matrix (MEB) platform. The company unveiled the MEB in September 2018 – more or less four years ago – and announced an electric offensive with the motto “ELECTRIC FOR ALL”, which meant that electric vehicles would be accessible to everyone.

So much so that Volkswagen announced that the MEB would be available for third-party manufacturers in 2019. The first one to sign up for the offer was e.GO Mobile AG, a Germany-based manufacturer of a quirky and small city hatchback called the e.wave X.

“The MEB is to establish itself as the standard for e-mobility. Based on the MEB, we will make individual mobility CO2-neutral, safe, comfortable, and accessible to as many people as possible,” at the time commented Dr. Herbet Diess, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Volkswagen.

The platform became the backbone of the group’s electric vehicles fleet, bar the e-Up and the e-Golf, which were based on their Internal Combustion Engine (ICE)-powered brothers, and the e-Crafter.

Volkswagen e-up!

With it being the smallest of the electric vehicles Volkswagen currently sells, it should be a good introduction to the family of EVs VAG currently builds. Its Seat and Škoda cousins, based on the same Volkswagen Group New Small Family platform (NSF), were, unfortunately, discontinued, and the e-Mii and the e-Citigo are only available for purchase as second-hand cars. The first e-up!, with a much smaller battery (18.7 kWh), was unveiled in 2013, the same year as the e-Golf, beginning VW’s mass production of EVs.

Nevertheless, the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer announced that it would continue making the e-up!, as it was the second-most-popular EV among brands in Germany in 2021. It was also fairly cheap, as the e-up! starts from €26,895 ($26,683), being one of the budget-friendly zero-emission options in the market in Europe. According to Volkswagen, the promised Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) range is up to 258 kilometers (160 miles), with up to 40 kW DC charging available.

Volkswagen e-Golf

Quite a step above the e-up!, the Volkswagen e-Golf was the first mass-produced EV by the manufacturer. The seventh-generation hatchback was not the first Golf, however, to be battery-powered. Volkswagen previously experimented with an electric Golf with the Mk1, Mk2, and Mk3. Neither of those models reached high production volumes, as the manufacturer produced and/or sold 25, 70, and 120 units, respectively, with more than a few being test models to research the technology that was very much in its infancy.

Nevertheless, the Mk7 e-Golf was mature in terms of its electric performance – at least at the time – and provided a sense of normalcy for consumers who were still wary to sit in an all-electric car, as the e-Golf has been almost identical to its ICE-powered brother. It was discontinued for the next iteration of the model, as the ID.3 took over the manufacturing site of the e-Golf. Instead, Volkswagen built the eTSI, eHybrid, and GTE, which were all hybrid-powered hatchbacks.

Volkswagen ID.3

The aforementioned MEB platform debuted in 2019 with the ID.3, becoming not only the platform’s first vehicle but also the ID family’s first model to reach consumers once deliveries had commenced in September 2020.

The ID.3 entered the world during quite a turbulent period for the global economy, as it was just opening following the initial wave of COVID-19, which re-aligned supply chains like nothing before it. The model came with seven different configurations, namely Life, Style, Business, Family, Tech, Max, and Tour, which has the most range out of all the available configurations.

The battery capacity ranged from 55 kWh to 82 kWh (full capacity, not usable), and the most powerful motors could squeeze out a power output of 150 kW (204 PS), while the price range in Germany has been between €31,000 ($30,727) and €45,600 ($45,200), depending on the model and configuration. The

Volkswagen ID. 4

There is no doubt that electrification and the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV)-ication of cars are some of the most popular trends in the automotive world, and the ID. 4 was the first SUV of the ID. family. Unlike the ID. 3, the SUV was also available in the United States, as Volkswagen even opened up a manufacturing site in the country in 2022 to bolster production levels of its second ID model.

Upon release, the ID. 4 has been available in either Rear-wheel drive (RWD) or All-wheel drive (AWD) and in two different battery configurations: 55 kWh and 82 kWh (full), with the former battery pack not being available in the US. WLTP showcased that the ranger varied between 346 km (215 mi), 522 km (324 mi), and 482 km (300 mi) for the AWD version.

Volkswagen ID. 5

The ID. 5 is almost identical to the ID. 4, with the one exception that the body style of the fifth ID car is a coupe SUV. The more aerodynamically efficient ID. 5 features identical specs compared to its kin, with the exception that it only has an 82 kWh battery pack.

Both the ID. 4 and ID. 5 are also available in the sportier GTX configuration, which features all of the equipment that you can spec both SUVs with and an AWD system onboard.

Volkswagen ID. 6

Unlike any of the ID. Models mentioned previously, the ID. 6 is only available in China. The three-row SUV has been in production since 2021 and has three different body styles available: the ID. 6, the ID.6 Crozz, and the ID. 6 GTX. Compared to the two other SUVs in the ID. family, the China-only car has been stretched to fit the third row of seats in the back and has two battery options, namely 62 kWh and 82 kWh (full, not usable).

Interestingly, two joint ventures are building the ID. 6: while the SAIC Volkswagen JV is responsible for the ID. 6 X, the FAW-Volkswagen JV builds the ID. 6 Crozz.

Volkswagen ID. Buzz

Perhaps one of the most-anticipated models of the lineup is the ID. Buzz is the homage to the first-generation Transporter or the Volkswagen Type 2. Two variants of the ID. Buzz is currently available to customers, one focused on carrying passengers, while the ID. Buzz Cargo will focus on business-to-business folk with the capacity for two euro pallets.

A third version, a campervan, is named the ID. Buzz California will be unveiled at a later date.

The van boasts a battery pack of 82 kWh (full) and can receive up to 170 kW of charging power. The range of the ID. Buzz is supposed to be between 400 and 480 km (250 and 300 mi), similar to that of the previously mentioned SUVs. The Buzz has gone on sale since May 2022, and the first examples of the nostalgia-inducing van should be delivered to customers sometime in Fall 2022.

Notably, the microbus will also come to North America, as Volkswagen will once again sell a van in that market since the T4 Transporter, which was manufactured to be exported to North America between 1993 and 2003.

As such, no other Volkswagens are currently available as Electric Vehicles.

Audi e-tron

The Audi e-tron was VAG‘s luxury representative‘s first attempt at a mass-produced all-electric vehicle, with the SUV being in production since 2019. Unlike the SUVs from the ID. family, which is based on the MEB platform, the e-tron was designed according to the design language of the MLB Evo platform.

The e-tron name itself became a brand name associated with all-electric/plug-in hybrids built by Audi, as we will see later. Nevertheless, the e-tron blew its competition out of the water, as it was one of the first all-electric SUVs to become available in the Western Hemisphere. Another version of the e-tron, the e-tron Sportback, was introduced by Audi in 2020, as the coupe SUV was rivaling such vehicles as the BMW X6.

While there are many models/trims available with the e-tron, all of them came with the same 95 kWh battery pack (full). The exception is the 50 quattro, which has a 71 kWh battery pack installed. WLTP indicates that the e-tron can drive for up to between 276 km and 444 km (171 mi and 276 mi), depending on the model and configuration of the car.

Audi e-tron GT

Following in the steps of the SUV, the e-tron GT is a Europe-only four-door coupe that saw daylight in late 2020, going on sale the following year. Sharing a lot of similarities with the Porsche Taycan, the GT has a 93.4 kWh battery (full) and a range of 488 km (298.3 mi) per WLTP.

Following the launch of the regular GT, two additional models followed in its footsteps, namely the RS e-tron G and the e-tron GT quattro. The two carry distinct badges from Audi: the high-performance RS and Audi’s branding of its AWD system, the quattro.

Similarly to the e-tron SUV, the GT is also available in the United States.

Audi Q2L e-tron

Similar to the ID. 6, the Audi Q2L e-tron is only available in China, as the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) also has a longer wheelbase compared to the regular Q2, hence the L in its name. While there will be very few possibilities to see this model outside of China, as Audi will discontinue it from 2023, the all-electric CUV is still on sale in the Asian country.

The battery pack, though, is quite small (38 kWh), and is good for up to 265 km (165 mi) following its testing according to the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) standard.

Audi Q4 e-tron

The Audi Q4 e-tron was the first EV from the Ingolstadt, Germany-based manufacturer to be built around the MEB platform and is akin to the ID. 4, as well as the Škoda Enyaq. Production of the SUV began in March 2021, as customers could have ordered either the regular or the coupe (Sportback) versions of the SUV, with the specifications being eerily similar to that of the ID. 4.

That includes a battery pack that is either 55 kWh or 82 kWh (full), and a range starting from 341 km (212 mi) and going up to 520 km (320 mi). The Q4 e-tron is available in Europe, North America, and China.

Audi Q5 e-tron

Another China-only model, the Q5 e-tron is the more luxurious brother of the ID. 6. Offering three-row seating, currently, the SUV is only available with the 83.4 kWh battery pack, with rumors circling that Audi will unveil a 55 kWh battery pack-equipped model sooner rather than later.

And much like the ID. 6, the SAIC Volkswagen JV will build the Q5 e-tron, which for now, tops off the list of the EVs built by Audi.

Cupra Born

While Seat officially builds no EVs, its daughter company, Cupra, has one – the Cupra Born. The model is the epitome of the joke floating around in the corridors of the internet regarding one’s homework, as it has an identical configuration to the Volkswagen ID. 3, except for the bodywork.

The MEB platform-based Spanish hatchback has three battery versions: 55, 62, and 82 kWh (full). As such, Cupra Born drivers can march from 348 km (216 mi) to 548 km (341 mi) per the WLTP.

Currently, it is the only Cupra-marketed EV available worldwide.

Škoda Enyaq

One more sister model, the Škoda Enyaq is the brother or sister to the ID. 4. Produced since 2022, the Enyaq is the Czech manufacturer’s first mass-produced EV.

Much like the Cupra Born, the SUV shares a lot of its specifications with its Volkswagen equivalent, including the battery packs (55, 62, and 82 kWh), and the associated range intervals. And much like the other similarities, there will be a coupe version of the Enyaq, the Enyaq Coupe iV RS, alluding to a sportier (77 kWh, 497 km (309 mi) model of the SUV.

For now, this is the only Škoda EV available to drivers in Europe or other markets globally.