Back in 2019, we told you about Ford and Volkswagen hooking up to share midsize truck development. This would be for the next-generation Ford Ranger. We expected that this meant VW wouldn’t be selling what it shared with Ford in the US. But now comes word that VW is developing its part of the pickup as an EV. And that it looks like it will sell it in the US after all.
VW has made it clear it is not doing future internal combustion vehicles
Volkswagen has made it crystal clear it is not doing internal combustion vehicles. It is all in on electric, even going so far as to claim it is changing its name to “Voltswagen.” It was a Volkswagen joke that didn’t go over very well. Nonetheless, it has also wanted in on the pickup truck market in the US but never stepped up. Now we have indications it is planning to penetrate the US pickup market with this truck in electric form.
“A combustion-powered pickup is, for us, definitely a thing of the past,” senior vice president of product marketing and strategy Hein Schafer told Autoline After Hours. “There’s been a lot of discussion about how to break the pickup market here in the U.S. and how to get into it. A new battery-electric platform does open a new door for us, giving us the potential opportunity to bring some sort of a mid-size pickup or maybe something a little bit larger.”
Before wading into the truck waters later, VW should jump in now
Rather than waiting for other companies to develop an EV pickup before wading into the truck waters in the US, VW should jump in now. But that has never been the German company’s way. It won’t ever become a stalking horse for new segments. So if it does get into the EV truck segment it will be after Ford, Chevy, Tesla, Rivian, et al, have broken into it first.
So far we’ve seen two pickup concepts from VW so we know it is more than on their minds. The smaller Tarok and midsize Atlas Tanoak concepts, if the production version stays close to concepts, would be a welcome addition to the truck wars in the US. If either of these did see production they would be using VW’s MQB platforms.
The one-size-fits-all MQB architecture can be configured as anything
The one-size-fits-all MQB architecture can be configured as anything from ICE only to EV only, and every variation in between. So it is definitely versatile enough to support an EV powertrain for a unibody pickup. The first vehicles to use the MQB platform appeared in 2012 as various VW, Audi, SEAT, and Skoda models.
So, is an electric pickup truck coming to the US from Volkswagen? Based on what we know and what Schafer has revealed we’d say yes. And we know they’re working jointly with Ford for one in its home market. But will it make a dent in the US pickup truck EV segment? It is hard to say right now. If the field is full, and by 2025 it will be, VW’s version will have to carry features or characteristics that advance the segment, not just “as good as.”