Next-gen VW Passat could be pure-electric or ICE model depending on the region

German motoring publication Auto Zeitung has presented a few details of the next-gen VW Passat, throwing open the possibility of a regionalized powertrain strategy for the Volkswagen’s longstanding nameplate. Work on the new 2023 VW Passat has already started and the midsize car codenamed VW B9 continues on the MQB and will come as a plug-in hybrid and possibly even as a full electric, says the report.

The 2023 Volkswagen model should appeal to company car drivers and families with large space needs, says Auto Zeitung. VW will relocate the production of this classic from Emden to a new plant, which is yet to be built. The future Passat will share the assembly line with the next generation Skoda Superb, and they are expected to have their wheelbase increased by around five centimeters (2,841 mm). The trunk volume could also increase. The days of the four-door sedan in Europe are numbered, the future belongs to the Passat Estate and a new, five-door version. In contrast to the coupe VW Arteon, the sedan will not have frameless doors, but classic door frames. As before, the new Passat will offer a very wide range of engines consisting of turbo petrol, turbodiesels with Twin Turbo, SCR catalytic converter technology and plug-in hybrids. Because plug in hybrids are likely to become popular in 2023, VW will work on offering a quick-charging system as well, the report concludes.

VW Passat ‘NMS’ could shift to a pure-electric heart in the third generation

In early February, it looked like the Volkswagen Passat, one of the longest-running nameplates in the world, would be taking the electric path for its next generation, as suggested by a report from across the pond. The possibility was confirmed by Johan de Nysschen, COO of Volkswagen America, to Roadshow, CNET at the 2020 Chicago Auto Show.

The Passat product programs in the USA and Europe are on different schedules. The latest generation of the sedan was launched only last year in the USA (the vehicle is manufactured for the US market with several differences) whereas in Europe the current Passat is on sale since 2015.

And the new electric Passat for the US market could be the production version of Volkswagen’s I.D. Vizzion Concept, which was first displayed at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. Volkswagen presented the Vizzion concept as a next-generation, avant-garde premium class sedan that drives autonomously, can be operated by voice and gesture control and has artificial intelligence.

The Passat is a car that has a finite lifespan in terms of our planning. It’s probably a reasonable assumption that when this Passat reaches the end of its lifecycle, its successor will probably not feature an internal combustion engine.

Johan de Nysschen, Chief Operating Officer, VW America to CNET in February 2020
Volkswagen ID Vizzion Concept rear three quarter view
The I.D. Vizzion gets an electric AWD system driven by two electric motors, producing a combined power of 225 kW, and powered by a 111 kWh high-voltage battery. The driving range is 665 kilometres. The concept car measures 5,163 mm in length, 1,947 mm in width and 1,506 mm in height, and has a wheelbase of 3,100 mm.

Volkswagen has designed the I.D. Vizzion to be ready for Level 5 autonomous driving, making it a fully autonomous vehicle. With level 5 autonomous capabilities, the I.D. Vizzion concept doesn’t need a steering, pedals or a bucket seat, opening up space for a lounge-like seating. The car uses inter-connected laser scanners, ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors to sense objects in the near-zone and radar sensors for long distances, cameras at the front and rear and side area view cameras. Traffic data is collected continuously and shared through the cloud and is compared with the data in the car. However government regulations worldwide prohibit Level 5 autonomous vehicles and the company may have to stop with Level 3 (best case scenario) in the production car and even that reserved for developed markets.

With Volkswagen pumping in billions of dollars into the MEB electric architecture and planning sales of a million electric vehicles worldwide by the end of 2023, it is no surprise to us that the next generation Passat will be an electric car in some countries.

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