Car Rental Firms Could Help With Volkswagen’s Forthcoming Electric Car
New ID.3 model boasts battery power range of 350 miles
When it comes to green technology, Volkswagen hasn’t been as adventurous as its automaking competition on either side of the Atlantic, but the Frankfurt-based company is hoping to change all that with the introduction of a new electric vehicle with a cutting-edge battery system.
The VW set of wheels in question is the ID.3, a vehicle that boasts a range of nearly 350 miles of battery storage power going for roughly US$33,000, considerably cheaper than a Tesla Model 3. The car made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show at a time when consumer confidence in buying electric vehicles is tentative at best as manufacturers wrestle with massive environmental regulations being imposed in Europe. VW is admitting its targeting a younger generation, despite that demographic’s lack of willingness to purchase vehicles when options like public transit, car rentals and ride sharing are more attractive.
VW will officially make the ID.3 available commercially in Europe by 2020, but hasn’t revealed any plans regarding when the car is set to make treads on these shores, where the auto market hasn’t been particularly kind to its players. A saving grace for most manufacturers is that many of them could improve their bottom lines selling a percent of what comes off the assembly line directly to car rental companies. A March study by McKinsey & Company revealed that selling electric vehicles directly to car rentals and fleet companies would certainly boost sales, while also reduce marketing, advertising and publicity costs by at least $1,000 per vehicle.
First quarter results in 2019 from the U.S. bear this out when it comes to internal combustion inventory. Even though the general public wasn’t buying much, automakers saw a six-percent spike in selling vehicles directly to fleet companies including car rentals, a scenario last witnessed in 2016. It might be an option that VW might be eyeing, but so far the company revealed that more than 30,000 ID.3 cars have already been presold.
Still, there’s a lot riding on the company’s reputation, besides trying to crack the electric vehicle circuit. There’s also a nasty company image they hope to wipe clean. Still recovering from a scandal dubbed ‘dieselgate’, when VW apparently rigged emissions test results of its diesel fleet issued to the Environment Protection Agency back in 2015, the company is still reeling from criminal charges faced by its former CEO, more than $30 billion in fines and a tarnished reputation.