Volkswagen to challenge Tesla with line of affordable electric cars

Volkswagen to challenge Tesla with line of affordable electric cars
German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) which plans to roll out four affordable electric vehicles in the coming years, has unveiled a battery-powered crossover at the Shanghai Auto Show.

A mix between a four-door coupe and a sports utility vehicle, the new I.D. Crozz SUV is the third model which will be sold under the I.D. sub-brand.

A full charge gives the car a range of more than 300 miles. The I.D. Crozz can be charged up to 80 percent capacity from a fast charger in just 30 minutes.

The vehicle can switch to an autonomous driving mode with a push on the VW badge in the middle of the steering wheel, which then folds automatically into the cockpit.

The car then maneuvers around based on signals it gets via laser and ultrasonic scanners, radar sensors, and cameras.

The crossover is said to compete with Tesla’s Model X, which the US manufacturer started delivering in 2015.

According to the head of the VW marque’s electric car project Christian Senger, the company has made “huge progress” in reducing production costs of its all-electric vehicles.

VW has pledged that the I.D. line will cost about the same as its diesel models.

“Offering our electric cars for prices similar to combustion engine vehicles really is a game changer,” Senger said. “We’re using the need to step from combustion engine to electric cars to reinvent VW brand.”

The I.D. line models will be partly developed in China, and will also include a mid-size sports utility vehicle, a hatchback, and a sedan.

The concept of electric cars is part of Volkswagen’s new business strategy to take a leading position in the green transport niche by 2025.

In the wake of its diesel emissions scandal, VW announced last year it's phasing out up to 40 vehicle models. The company pledged to invest €10 billion into ride-sharing technology, electric cars, and automated driving. The automaker said it hopes to launch 30 new electric car models within a decade.