Volkswagen Unveils a Shiny Tesla Killer

The German automaker just sent a message to rivals in China and America, the world’s two largest markets.

Electric vehicles have become the automotive industry’s main battlefield. 

This new era is driven by Tesla and its whimsical and charismatic CEO, Elon Musk, who has convinced public authorities, consumers and the car industry that electric vehicles equipped with the latest tech tools are the future.

Investors have rewarded Musk and Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Free Report for this success. The Austin carmaker has become by far the world’s leading automotive group by market value, with a stock market capitalization of almost $600 billion at last check. 

Toyota  (TM) – Get Free Report, which was the world’s biggest car seller in 2022, has a market value of $187 billion, while German giant Volkswagen  (VWAGY) – Get Free Report is valued at $85 billion.

If the gap with its competitors may seem insurmountable, Tesla’s rivals have not given up and are determined to challenge the leader on almost all terrains. 

This is the most recently the case of Volkswagen, which is trying to overcome software problems that are slowing its ambitions in the European and Chinese markets.

Introducing the ID.7 EV, With a Long Range

Volkswagen has just unveiled the ID.7, its very first global fully electric sedan, in Berlin and Shanghai. Base-priced at about $66,000, the car is set to compete with the Tesla Model 3 and Chinese models from startups like BYD,  (BYDDY)  NIO  (NIO) – Get Free Report and others. 

The new Volkswagen ID.7 stands out in the large touring segment, offering impressive range and innovative technologies. 

It is equipped with a new generation of high-efficiency electric motors, developing 210 kW/286 horsepower. These engines, the most powerful in the Volkswagen ID range, give the ID.7 a range of as much as 435 miles (700km) on a charge and charging capacities of up to about 200 kW will be possible. 

Optimized aerodynamics and improved engine efficiency and thermal management add to its performance.

The passenger compartment is spacious since the car sits on an extended wheelbase. The new display and control concept incorporates a nearly 15-inch (38cm) screen for the infotainment system, an augmented reality head-up display, a new control for the climate system and customizable favorite keys.

Options include massaging seats, a panoramic glass roof. 

The ID.7 is equipped with the new IDA voice assistant, enabling voice control for many functions. It includes advanced assistance systems, such as Travel Assist, capable of steering the car laterally and longitudinally when needed. 

The Travel Assist system also enables the ID.7 to provide lane change assistance on multilane highways beginning from speeds of 56 mph (90 kmh). 

‘Next Step in Our Electric Offensive’: VW Exec

“With the ID.7 we are taking the next step in our electric offensive,” Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, said in a news release. “The limousine offers a high level of comfort and long ranges.”

Schäfer said that by 2026 Volkswagen will offer the widest electric range of all manufacturers in Europe — from the entry-level model for less than 25,000 euros ($27,300) up to the ID.7 as the new top model within the ID family. 

“Our goal is to achieve an electric car share of 80% in Europe by 2030. As from 2033, Volkswagen will produce only electric vehicles in Europe.”

The ID.7 launch is planned for this year in Europe and China, and from 2024 in North America. It will be produced at Volkswagen’s plant in Emden, Germany, while the version for the Chinese market will be produced locally in China. 

This production rollout aims to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles in these key markets.

Volkswagen hopes that the ID.7 will allow it to turn the page on technical problems such as a malfunctioning navigation system and a glitchy smartphone app that have so far hindered the rollout of the ID series.

The model faces, however, a hypercompetitive market. Tesla drastically lowered its prices in China and the U.S. and was followed by Chinese competitors.

From 2033 VW will build only electric vehicles at its European sites, affirming its commitment to sustainable mobility and the reduction of CO2 emissions.

The new ID.7 is one of 10 new electric models that Volkswagen plans to launch on the market by 2026, including the new ID.3, the ID.Buzz with extended wheelbase.

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