VW says electric era will open the door for more utes
The Amarok is not the only ute in the works at the Volkswagen Group, at least if comments by VW executives to CarsGuide at the launch of the new T-Roc range are anything to go by. Volkswagen's Amarok launches imminently in Australia, and while that platform-share with Ford is said to be capable of electrification, it is unlikely that we'll see even plug-in hybrid versions immediately. But the ladder-frame Amarok is no longer the only hope for a Volkswagen pick-up truck, as we are reminded by VW's local communications boss, Paul Pottinger.
Read more about Volkswagens
"The MEB platform opens up all sorts of opportunities for different body styles," he said. "There's no reason we can't have more utes.
Just look at the ID.Buzz dual-cab concept. I'm not necessarily saying this is a model which can be confirmed for our market, but it gives you an idea of what we can do with that platform. "We don't have to adhere to some of those rules which applied to combustion vehicles when it comes to body styles which you can and can't build.
There will be [Volkswagen] group shared utes. MEB is infinitely modular in that way." The ID Buzz pick-up concept was revealed in a single image via tweet by the Volkswagen Group after a patent for the model was leaked online.
The concept is essentially an ID.Buzz, but instead of a van rear section, it maintains four doors and a tray. Unlike the ID.4 SUV and ID.3 hatch, which have battery capacities of 52kWh or 77kWh, the ID.Buzz is capable of supporting a much larger battery, at up to 111kWh for a much longer range. For now, the ID.Buzz is available with a mid-grade motor on the rear axle, producing 150kW/310Nm.
The ID Buzz pick-up concept was revealed in a single image via tweet by the Volkswagen Group after a patent for the model was leaked online. The Kombi-styled van has been confirmed for an Australian arrival in both commercial van and people-mover passenger forms, but timing is yet to be determined. Don't expect it to be any time soon, with the latest news out of Europe being a continent-wide sell-out of the van, with pre-orders of the van exceeding production capacity for at least 12 months.
The ID.Buzz isn't a budget option either thanks to its relatively large battery packs, with the basic cargo model starting from the equivalent of £A79,435 in its home market of Europe, while the passenger version costs from £A94,265. The specs are promising though, with the current commercial version able to consume two European-standard palettes with a payload of 650kg, only a little less than that of the Caddy. It is supposedly also capable of towing up to 1000kg with its larger battery and higher performance motors compared to the ID.4 SUV.
It also has the fastest DC charging rate of the ID family at present, able to charge at a rate of 170kW for a 5-80 percent charge time of around 30 minutes. The concept is essentially an ID.Buzz, but instead of a van rear section, it maintains four doors and a tray. As to other "shared" opportunities for pick-up trucks?
There's always the recently-revived Scout marque to look at. Primarily aimed at the US market, the revitalised Scout brand will hit the market by 2026 with an all-electric SUV and what looks to be a 'full-size pickup truck' in the vein of the Ford F-150 lightning. As the models will be built in the US for that market, it is unlikely that they will immediately be exported to other markets, particularly right-hand drive ones like Australia.
With the arrival of seemingly brand-cannibalistic marques like Cupra though, it's safe to say that anything is possible. While the Scout brand will be independent from Volkswagen proper, it will be able to have full access to Volkswagen's technology and will be built on what is described as "a new technical platform concept". VW says to expect a pickup and SUV with credibility "beyond the existing Volkswagen Group portfolio".
It's certainly one we'll be watching closely given Australia's taste for all things off-road.