Electrified VW Amarok on the cards
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Electrified VW Amarok on the cards

By GoAuto - 25 May 2023


VOLKSWAGEN Group really had a red flag waved in its face in the wash-up of the so-called “dieselgate” emissions cheating fiasco.

It didn’t take long after the court case for the giant German automaker to fully commit to dropping diesel and petrol engines and switching to electric as soon as possible.

That process takes a long time but VW has made in roads with more hybrid and fully electric BEV models filtering through its various brands almost on a monthly basis. The company plans to be fully electric by 2035, something it’s likely to achieve but there’s plenty to do before that point arrives.

And they have to convince buyers that electric is the way they should go… rather difficult when you are talking to Amarok ute buyers who are almost rusted on diesel (or petrol) aficionados as are the majority of one tonne ute owners globally.

They don’t want the inconvenience, expense and limitations imposed by the currently available BEV regime.

Amarok ute buyers are almost rusted on diesel (or petrol)

However, VW is pretty adamant about going down the electric path particularly its executive staff who would be averse to another dose of dieselgate penalties.

To that end, it’s highly likely we will see at least a hybrid Amarok in the new generation model some time in its 10-year model life.

It might even be a full BEV, but things will have to get better than they are at the moment particularly for towing, payload, recharging times and range and that’s not even mentioning the elephant in the room…. price.

The cheapest fully electric one tonne ute in Australia at the moment is the awful LDV eT60 that “sells” for an eye watering $92,990 plus on-road costs with predictable sales results.

VW is adamant about going down the electric path

If Veedub is serious about an electric Amarok it would need to be sharply priced especially among such a discerning buyer set…. just to get on the consideration menu.

The question is would you go a 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel Amarok or electric?

It’s a no brainer really especially if you’re about to do the “big lap” towing a 30-foot rig.

However, at the recent launch of the new gen Amarok, a shared model with Ford’s Ranger, Veedub Australia execs let slip that the company “could” offer an electric or electrified hybrid version of the new-gen Amarok in the coming years as “the brand is leaning more towards a pure EV”.

It is likely we will see at least a hybrid Amarok

The new Amarok ute range offers a choice of three turbocharged diesel engines and a petrol option, but none of the current powertrains have any form of electrification.

But VW’s commercial vehicle arm already has fully electric vehicles in Europe including the Transporter and forthcoming ID models and would have an eye on adding a more environmentally focused Amarok option in due course.

On the Ford side of the ute collaboration, it has gone on record stating in the past that the underpinning architecture of the new-gen Ranger and Amarok products is ready for electrification.

Sources suggest the Ford Ranger is expected to receive a plug-in hybrid powertrain from 2024 in Australia, although specifics on the powertrain remain under wraps.

As to a full BEV Ranger, well that seems a “fait accompli” as the model is a “global product” meaning it will inevitably have a battery electric vehicle (BEV) option.

VW Aust execs say there “could” be an electric or hybrid Amarok in coming years

As Ranger and Amarok share a platform, it adds up that the VW model would, in theory, also be in line for some form of electrification as part of the future product rollout.

During the Amarok launch phase, Volkswagen Australia commercial vehicles director, Ryan Davies, said the company is more likely to go for a BEV rather than a hybrid.

“Our team in Hannover have outlined that if either were to be an option, they would be following the BEV path. We haven’t heard anything further on that topic at this point, but like every new product, we have to do an assessment on what the business case for that is,” he said.

“Whether it be BEV or hybrid – and I think this is an area where things may change a little bit as well, who knows – but an Amarok with BEV application doesn’t just have a market in Australia, it’s got a global market that would be applicable.

“It’s an interesting topic, and one that, arguably, Australia wouldn’t be a major player in because Europe is such a high-demand market for BEV or PHEV, that could be the reason why they adopt that strategy. But we’d be all over it, whether it be BEV or PHEV.”

An electrified Amarok would need to be sharply priced among a discerning buyer set

Mr Davies said two electric vans will arrive here before any potential electrified Amarok.

“We will start production at the end of next year for I.D. Buzz and I.D. Cargo, so that’s confirmed, to introduce those vehicles in early 2025, quarter one, 2025.

“Around about the same time, we’ll also launch the new Transporter to the market. And what the engine line-up looks like there is still to be determined and confirmed… but diesel is going to be a large part of the commercial vehicles sector for some time,” he said.

“We haven’t rolled out what the next-gen Transporter range will look like, but that will be done by the end of the year I would say. We don’t anticipate what we have now disappearing from the next-gen Transporter range, but what the engine variants are still remains to be seen.”

A growing range of fully electric light commercial vehicles is appearing in Aussie car dealerships from the likes of LDV with its one tonne ute and MIfa vans, Renault’s Kangoo ZE, Peugeot will soon have the ePartner BEV while Mercedes-Benz offers an electric version of its Vito mid-size van – the eVito.

Ford has just introduced the first of its e-Transit models with a smaller e-Transit Custom here by next year.

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