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Volkswagen ID electric car range pushed back to 2023 in Australia as brand labels new EV taxes "ridiculous"

There's a good chance Australians wont see VW's first ID electric cars until well into 2023.

Volkswagen’s range of ID electric vehicles are looking further and further from an Australian launch, with the brand’s local executives now targeting 2023, citing a lack of local incentives and logistics challenges in dealing with European demand. 

Volkswagen’s Australian managing director, Michael Bartsch, told media at a briefing in Sydney that while there has never been a firm launch date for the brand’s first fully electrified models in Australia, it was looking like 2023 at the earliest.

He was also unable to confirm which would arrive first, the Golf-sized ID.3 hatch or ID.4 small SUV, but said the electric rollout globally was unclear.

What was clear is that the initial supply of ID vehicles would be taken up by the European market demand. “Europe takes precedence because of the emissions requirements,” Mr Bartsch explained, “EVs and hybrids will still be introduced through our sister brand, Audi. The high-volume of ID will be mainly addressing demand in European markets.”

Mr Bartsch also had comments on the widely panned state taxes being introduced on a per-kilometre basis for electric vehicles “It’s a tax by stealth. As a percentage of the total car market EVs are so small and insignificant, it just doesn’t make sense,” he said. “At least remain impartial.”

“We’re dead against disincentives. This approach of having an EV user tax in South Australia and Victoria but not necessarily in NSW is ridiculous.”

Volkswagen has said in the past it will forgo its internationally available range of plug-in hybrids and skip straight to electric vehicles in Australia, citing low demand for PHEV variants and issues with Australia’s fuel quality.

“The proper critique of a hybrid is what fuel are you running? The so-called benefit from savings on a hybrid is undone if you are required to use 98 unleaded. It’s illogical to run a relatively dirty combustion engine,” Mr Bartsch said, also reiterating VW’s frustration with lax fuel standards in Australia, stating we have some of the lowest fuel quality in all of the OECD.

Fuel quality woes have prevented new particulate filter-equipped engines from the Golf range from launching in Australia next year, although the brand is evaluating said engines early in 2021 for the possibility of an introduction on the fifth-generation Caddy range.

The ID.4 SUV utilises a 77kWh battery pack good for a 520km WLTP range. The ID.4 SUV utilises a 77kWh battery pack good for a 520km WLTP range.

The Volkswagen ID.3 hatch hit the European market in July of 2020 with a 420km WLTP-rated range derived from its 58kWh battery pack in launch variants. It sends drive to the rear wheels via a 150kW/310Nm electric motor.

A higher ‘Tour’ spec offers a 550km range, while a ‘Pure’ spec will be more affordable and offer a lower range at 330km. Notably, the ID.3 attracts a subsidy of up to the equivalent of AU$15,488 in its home market of Germany.

The ID.4 SUV meanwhile utilises the larger 77kWh battery pack good for a 520km WLTP range and shares its outputs and rear-drive layout with the ID.3 hatch.