UK report increases hope for a rugged electric off-road wagon out of South Africa
A new report out of the UK has stoked the flame of possibility around the emergence of a Volkswagen-branded battery-electric rival for the Ford Everest based on the eventual Volkswagen Amarok EV.
Hopes for a battery-powered off-road SUV from Volkswagen, which is tipped to materialise late this decade in the mould of the never-released ID Ruggdzz concept, follows a recent Autocar report citing rumours that a rugged ladder-frame electric wagon was firmly back on the radar, even though executives are staying tight-lipped on the subject.
Like carsales, Autocar was present at the global launch of the new-generation Volkswagen Amarok in South Africa last month, when Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles CEO Carsten Intra was asked about the prospects of battery-electric models based on the German car-maker’s upcoming new ute.
Intra reportedly confirmed to Autocar that specific engineering efforts were underway to try and integrate battery-electric technology into the Australian-engineered T6 platform that underpins the new Amarok and new Ford Ranger.
“We’re looking at it together with Ford,” he said. “It’s still on the agenda.”
Intra’s confirmation aligns with previous indications from Ford that its latest T6 architecture is ‘package-protected’ for battery-electric, mild-hybrid, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Work is understood to be well underway on plug-in hybrid versions of both the Ranger and Everest and while mild-hybrid and plugless hybrid powertrains appear unlikely, PHEV versions of the new Ranger and Amarok could emerge by 2025.
As we’ve also reported, a fully electric Amarok and an all-electric spin-off SUV could be launched as soon as 2027.
The Autocar report also supports the intel provided to carsales by VW global product manager Peter Sulc that electrification in general was a top priority for the Amarok line-up going forward, though neither he nor or Intra would be drawn on the possibility of an electric SUV.
“In the next 12 months we will have more of a position about this topic,” Sulc promised carsales.
Volkswagen is also still actively pushing for an extension of its partnership with Ford to allow it to launch its own version of the segment-busting Ford Ranger Raptor, even though a renewal of the Walkinshaw deal is looking likely to produce new W-Series versions of the second-generation Amarok.
Unlike the Ford Everest, which looks exactly like the five-door Ranger wagon that it is, Autocar is tipping the zero-emissions Amarok-based SUV to resemble the aforementioned ID Ruggdzz concept, which was originally designed around VW’s bespoke MEB EV platform.
According to the British publication, a production-spec ID Ruggdzz was envisaged as rival for the possible electric versions of the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner sold in the US.
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Keyword: Volkswagen Amarok-based electric SUV looking more likely