Volkswagen has released photos—and some big promises—of an electric vehicle concept car it plans to unveil at the Paris Motor Show later this month. And while the images don’t show much beyond LED headlights reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s-era Lite-Brite toy, the automaker went peddle-to-the-metal with marketing hyperbole by calling the car a “new ambassador to the automotive world,” “one-of-a-kind,” and a signal of “brand’s entry into a new era.”
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The concept car is intended to give investors and consumers the first clear indication of what the Volkswagen’s planned portfolio of electric cars will look like. Keep in mind, that VW is calling this a “design study,” which means it will have a lot of flashy innovations that probably won’t make it into the final product.
The production vehicle to follow this hatchback concept will be the first by Volkswagen to reach the market based on its new modular design for electric cars that the company unveiled last year and could used on a number of VW models. The first vehicles produced with this so-called MEB design—an acronym for Modular Electric Model—are expected to be in production by the end of 2019.
Technically, the company has already introduced an electric vehicle concept. In January, Volkswagen offered up BUDD.e, a microbus concept that was intended to show the world that it was serious about electric vehicles following a diesel emissions cheating scandal that forced the German automaker to restructure.
The Volkswagen board made a more substantial move six months later when it adopted a plan that would reshape the company’s core automotive business to focus more on electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology, increase profit margins to 7% to 8% from 6% last year, and possibly sell some of its assets. The company plans to introduce more than 30 all-electric vehicles over the next 10 years with a goal of selling two to three million of these EVs in 2025.
Under the company’s board-approved plan, VW will also develop battery technology to take advantage of rapid gains in the market volume and sales of electric vehicles.