Volkswagen AG plans to bring its first electric car to the U.S. in two years, joining an increasingly crowded field of battery-powered vehicles on the market.
Find out more about what the “race for the holy grail” involves for automakers.
Volkswagen, the largest of the European automakers, will bring its first electric car to the United States in two years, joining an increasingly crowded field of battery-powered vehicles on the market.
An e-Golf at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Volkswagen said it would develop more electric vehicles.
A Volkswagen official said on Tuesday that the e-Golf — an electrified version of the company’s subcompact car — would go on sale in 2015 as part of a broader plan to introduce more alternative-fuel models.
It is an important step for a company that is trying to expand rapidly in the United States, but has not kept pace with the market recently.
Marc Trahan, an executive vice president for Volkswagen’s American unit, said VW could follow the e-Golf with more electrified models if demand increased.
“We want to be the leader in the global context, but other manufacturers have gotten a little ahead of the curve,” Mr. Trahan said after a speech to the Automotive Press Association here.
The company’s entry into the electric market is another sign that automakers are pushing ahead with expensive new battery-powered models despite a tepid response from consumers.
General Motors, which has been moderately successful with its Volt plug-in hybrid sedan, which runs primarily on battery power but is backed up by a gasoline engine, is working on a purely electric model with an extended battery range.
Terry Rhadigan, a spokesman for G.M., said the company was experimenting with battery technology in the hope of one day offering an electric car with a 200-mile range on a single charge.
“That’s the race for the holy grail,” Mr. Rhadigan said. “The 200-mile battery will be an important milestone, and we are working on it.”
G.M., the biggest American automaker, has set no timetable for the vehicle. The company will be bolstering its alternative-fuel lineup next year when it adds a Cadillac version of the Volt.
BMW, the German luxury car company, will begin selling an electric car in Germany later this year. The company is also planning a high-end, hybrid gas-electric sports car for the United States by 2014.