With electric engines and SUVs increasingly looking like the future of motoring across the world, one company appears to have the future on lock – Volkswagen.
The German manufacturer has already announced a number of new concepts which it expects will hit the road within the coming years.
“SUVs are currently making a key contribution to the growth of the Volkswagen Group’s core brand. Notably, with 720,000 Tiguan vehicles delivered, the car is among the 10 best-selling models in the world and among the top three SUVs,” said Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand said in February this year.
“By 2020, the brand intends to expand its SUV range throughout the world to 20 models, and by then it believes that about 40% of the vehicles sold by Volkswagen will be SUVs,” he added.
However, its not just SUVs which could be making their way to South African shores, with Volkswagen also recently announcing a new VW bus and bakkie concept vehicles.
BusinessTech looks at some of the coolest concepts coming out of VW right now.
Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept
Built from the same MQB platform architecture that’s used on new vehicles from the Atlas to the 2019 Jetta, the Atlas Tanoak was built as a dramatic concept to show-off VW’s design skills and engineering flexibility.
While Volkswagen has made it clear that it has no plans to make a production version of this show car, Hinrich Woebcken, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America says, the Atlas Tanoak “shows that we are thinking about what may also be possible, some day in the future, in this market.”
Designed as a dual-cab, short-bed truck, the Atlas Tanoak would check in as a mid-size bakkie.
It’s not just a chopped and stretched Atlas either, but a custom take on the MQB platform. Compared to the 2018 Atlas, at 128.3 inches, its wheelbase is 11 inches longer, with an overall length at 214.1 inches that’s 15.8 inches longer.
To improve off-roading, the Atlas Tanoak sits nearly 2 inches higher, with 9.8 inches of ground clearance, riding on 20-inch wheels.
“Volkswagen has ample experience building and selling pickups around the world, from the Doka to the Amarok. The Atlas Tanoak will remain a show car, but depending on public reaction, VW could consider a fresh look at the American pickup,” it said.
The electric VW Bus
Citing ‘popular demand’, Volkswagen announced at the end of 2017 that it was planning on selling a production version of the award-winning I.D. Buzz concept electric vehicle in 2022 for the United States, Europe and China.
Designed to recall the original Type 2 Microbus without mimicking it, the I.D. Buzz concept features the front V in the bodywork calls back to the two-tone predecessor on the original Bus, but in the I.D. Buzz carries a light strip that surrounds the vehicle and gives it a unique visual signature.
The LED headlights have hexagonal segments that act as “eyes” to communicate the vehicle’s status.
With near-zero body overhangs and 22-inch wheels, the I.D. Buzz manages to look modern and timeless – one of the hallmarks of Volkswagen brand design.
VW Atlas Cross Sport Concept
While the Atlas Cross Sport is officially a concept vehicle, it’s a close look at the model Volkswagen will begin assembling next year in Chattanooga, Tennessee, alongside the seven-passenger Atlas and the Passat sedan, Volkswagen says.
Built from the same flexible MQB vehicle architecture that underpins many VW models, the Atlas Cross Sport remixes the Atlas proportions with a more dramatic five-seat design, from the daytime LEDs embedded in the grille and VW logo to the coupe-like roofline.
The plug-in hybrid combines the production 276-hp 3.6-liter VR6 in today’s Atlas with a pair of electric motors, one on each axle, and an 18-kWh lithium battery pack.
At full acceleration, the system is anticipated to produce 355 hp, enabling a 0–60 mph time of 5.4 seconds.
VW engineers have also projected how the Atlas Cross Sport would perform with a lighter 2-kWh battery pack as a mild hybrid without plug-in capability.
Total power would still hit 310 hp, and a rush to 60 mph would take a speedy 6.5 seconds — all examples of how flexible the MQB vehicle architecture can be with power sources.
In February, Volkswagen announced that it will soon be offering a convertible cabriolet based on its popular T-Roc SUV.
The company said that the new model will be produced from the first half of 2020, and confirmed that it would be investing more than €80 million (R1.14 billion) in its Osnabrück plant for this purpose.
“Volkswagen is evolving into an SUV brand. The T-Roc is already setting new standards in the compact SUV segment,” said Dr Herbert Diess, CEO of the Volkswagen brand.