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VW Aims to Nab Electric-Car Customers From BMW i3 With New E-Up

Volkswagen AG (VOW) will target potential buyers of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW)’s battery-powered i3 city car with its first pure-electric model as German carmakers bet that emission-free vehicles are ready for the mainstream.

“We deliberately positioned the electric Up! against the i3,” Rudolf Krebs, VW’s head of electric-powertrain technology, said today at a press conference in Wolfsburg. “The time is ripe to introduce electric mobility on a large scale.”

VW, which has a goal of becoming the world’s biggest carmaker, will present the e-Up! and a battery-powered version of the Golf hatchback at the International Auto Show in Frankfurt next week. The e-Up! will go on sale in October for 26,900 euros ($35,500) in Germany, 23 percent less than the BMW i3. The e-Golf will hit showrooms next spring.
STORY: What’s Keeping the 4G Car out of the U.S.

The new models enter a segment that has struggled to win customers because of the high cost of the vehicles and driving ranges that are about one quarter of conventional models. Carlos Ghosn — the chief executive officer of Renault SA (RNO) and Nissan Motor Co., the global leader in electric cars — said in a Bloomberg interview that the two companies won’t reach a target to sell a total of 1.5 million electric cars by 2016 as planned.
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