It's a decision that forms part of a much larger trend pushed both by governments as they look to reduce the air pollution in cities, and auto companies that realise customers are looking for cleaner, more efficient vehicles.
Instead of bringing a new prototype from the I.D. family, Volkswagen has made a decision to revisit the first Crozz just in time for the Frankfurt Motor Show in a bid to support its claims of pushing towards a greener future. "We are setting the scene for the final breakthrough for e-mobility", said VW CEO Matthias Mueller. Leaving its upmarket niche is putting the Californian startup on direct collision course with traditional automakers like VW, Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co.as falling battery costs are forecast to make electric cars more affordable in coming years. It's also earmarking over 20 billion euros (about $23 billion) to fund the electrification transition.
VW said it would require capacity equivalent to at least four gigafactories to power the vastly increased fleet of electric cars.
Müller said: "We have got the message and we will deliver". This is not some vague declaration of intent. Looking further ahead, Volkswagen is already gearing up for the next generation: solid-state batteries. VW has previously said they need 40 Tesla Gigafactory-size battery factories by 2025 to support electric vehicle production, and such a huge injection of capital would help fund a rapid expansion in battery production capability over the next few years.
Similar to the original microbus, the revamped electric version will also be offered as a cargo van, VW says, aimed at a commercial market in various cities where emissions regulations are making internal combustion-engined vehicles more expensive to operate.
He added: "For the time being we will be offering the whole spectrum from conventional to electric".
Muller said the firm was also expanding its CNG gas programme, while Audi is working on fuel cell technology that has the potential to reach mass production by 2025.