Overview: Plug-in Car Roadmap for German Carmakers

By · August 06, 2013

Coming next year, a plug-in hybrid Mercedes S-class (diesel model shown)

Coming next year, a plug-in hybrid Mercedes S-class (diesel model shown)

The BMW i3 was unveiled last week, and the Volkswagen e-up! will get its first auto show next month. So, what's next? Here's an overview of German manufacturers' EV projects, brand by brand.

Audi

The world will discover the production version of the A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid next month at the Frankfurt motor show. German deliveries should begin before the end of 2013. The same propulsion system—75-kW motor and 30 miles of electric range—will find its way to the next generation of the A4, which should be unveiled next year. Audi could also easily build an all-electric version of both models, using the powertrain from the E-Golf which uses the same platform. But there are no plans for this. Audi already killed its little A2 city car, and its R8 e-tron as well. The world should not expect a battery-electric Audi in the next five years.

BMW

The i8 plug-in hybrid sports car will be unveiled in production form in Frankfurt, with first deliveries expected in the second half of 2014. Besides the i3, we should not expect any other plug-ins from BMW for a while. The company invested a lot of money in those two cars, and the manufacturer needs to find out how successful they will be, before making any further commitment towards electric mobility.

Coming next year, BMW i8 plug-in hybrid (concept shown)

Coming next year, BMW i8 plug-in hybrid (concept shown)

Mercedes

A B-class Electric Drive will be launched in 2014, but there are conflicting reports about its availability in Europe. Could this car only be sold in the United States? Another big unanswered question regards its production, because it will be made with Tesla technology, just like the Toyota RAV4 EV. The problem is in the B-class factory's location, in Germany. Speculation is that Tesla will ship motors and batteries from California to Germany, and then Mercedes will ship complete cars to America. This is not the cheapest or greenest way of doing things.

A plug-in hybrid S-class will also appear in Frankfurt, but this might be a bit early, as deliveries are not expected for a year. We will also learn about a plug-in hybrid C-class in late 2014, a few months after the introduction of a new generation of that vehicle. The S-class will get a V6 engine while the C-class will have a four-cylinder, but both cars should share some hybrid components. Mercedes designed a modular plug-in hybrid architecture—eventually all rear drive Mercedes cars will use it.

Mini

Of course, Mini is a British brand, but it's owned by BMW, with all decisions made in Munich. BMW started its EV development program with the Mini-E a few years ago, and many wonder about a possible successor, but there won't be any. There will not be an electric nor a plug-in hybrid Mini in this decade. People who enjoyed a Mini-E will be routed to a BMW dealership to check out the i3.

Coming next year, all electric Volkswagen E-Golf (prototype shown)

Coming next year, all electric Volkswagen E-Golf (prototype shown)

Porsche

Porsche currently sells two hybrids without a plug, the Cayenne and the Panamera. The sports cars maker unveiled a plug-in hybrid version of its Panamera sedan last spring, but there will not be a plug-in version of the hybrid Cayenne, since that car has not sold well. Porsche has already built a few electric Boxster roadsters, and it will keep on building some more, but they are not likely toleave the prototype stage in the next five years.

Volkswagen

The largest German manufacturer will unveil its E-Golf next year. Unlike the e-Up! which is only for Europe, the E-Golf will be a regular production model, sold wherever there is demand for it. Like the E-Up!, which will have sister models at Seat and Skoda, the E-Golf could bring electric versions of the Skoda Octavia and the Seat Altea, but those models will not be sold everywhere—only in their respective home markets, Spain and the Czech Republic.

Comments

· · 37 weeks ago

Meh. The E-Golf looks interesting. I love the carbon-fiber and small range-extender of the i3 but I don't like its design. I think the Germans are going to start losing market share due to their reluctance to embrace the inevitable EV and PHEV market. They are already losing out at the high-end of the market to the Tesla Model S.

· · 37 weeks ago

Oh . . . this article forgot the one existing German EV . . . the Smart ED.

· · 37 weeks ago

Must be a slow news week

· · 37 weeks ago

The article misses a lot of the VW group's plans, which is strange considering they were reported on this site:
http://www.plugincars.com/vw-ev-chief-we-want-lead-electrification-12599...

Other PHEV models in the pipeline include:
The Porsche 918 Spyder
Audi Q7
VW Passat
Audi A6

Many of these models such as the Passat are likely to appeal particularly to American's with their preference for saloon cars.

· · 37 weeks ago

I haven't forgotten the Smart because it's already available. Audi A6 and Q7 plug-in hybrids are far away. Think about the BMW i8. The concept was first shown in 09/2009 but it won't be available before 07/2014 at best.

· · 37 weeks ago

'Plans' from a manufacturer are by their nature forward looking.
In view of the title of the article it seems strange and arbitrary to have some unspecified cut-off date, particularly when some of the models might be out as early as a years time.

· · 37 weeks ago

"Besides the i3, we should not expect any other plug-ins from BMW for a while."

Check your sources Laurent. This is incorrect. The PHEV Active Tourer will be available within a year of the i3 release, and there are others to follow ;)

· · 37 weeks ago

I'm highly suspect of these plans until there is solid evidence. How many Etrons has Audi announced, built a prototype for, and then cancelled. Rinse & repeat.

· · 37 weeks ago

> Tom Moloughney

I stand by what I wrote, the Active Tourer will be launched next year, but a PHEV won't be available before 2016 at best.

· · 36 weeks ago

The VW eGolf will absolutely will be here in California for CARB-ZEV compliance. So will Daimler B-Class EV (Tesla drivetrain), BMW i3,

Porsche and Audi get a mulligan for a few years.

· · 36 weeks ago

@TonyWilliams

Uh oh. In view of the trouble they had with the Rav4EV, why should tesla's stuff in a Mercedes be any better?

Not sure what happened with the SmartEV but for some reason Daimler decided to dump the tesla stuff there. What do they know that we don't?

· · 36 weeks ago

@TonyWilliams

Uh oh. In view of the trouble they had with the Rav4EV, why should tesla's stuff in a Mercedes be any better?

Not sure what happened with the SmartEV but for some reason Daimler decided to dump the tesla stuff there. What do they know that we don't?

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