New VW MEB electric vehicle, with up to 373 miles of range, coming in 2020

It's all part of VW's big electromobility plan.

By any measure, it's been a tough year at VW. The details of who, exactly, is to blame for the diesel cheat scandal are still coming out, but for the other tens of thousands of employees who didn't have anything to do with the mess, things were rough. Diesel, as a brand, has tanked, and it seems that the people in charge at VW realize that something needs to change. That's going to happen at the upcoming Paris Motor Show.

VW's new slogan is not subtle: "Think New."

During an promotional event this week in Germany focusing on electromobility, J├╝rgen Stackmann, a member of the VW Board of Management, said that an upcoming concept will show the world the company's new public face after a year full of "hard work" for the company. VW's new slogan for Paris is not subtle: "Think New,"

Christian Senger, the head of VW's BEV series group since January, said that VW's new production EVs will use the upcoming MEB platform. MEB is the German acronym for Modular Electric Model line-up, and the platform will be used with wide number of EVs. The MEB platform is built around the battery, and with the wheelbase increased and the overhangs shortened, interior design space is opened up. According to Senger's vision, he imagines a large HD display, haptic feedback, and gesture controls as part of the package. "The car of tomorrow must feel like a mobile device on wheels," he said.

But what about range? Senger said that the minimum that people will accept is 400 kilometers, or about 250 miles. The MEB will be scalable to 600 km (373 miles), giving VW options. He said that today's E-Golf drivers say they don't need more range or fast charging on the highway because they don't use their e-Golf as their primary car, but VW can't be an EV leader by selling second cars. The company has bigger dreams. Much bigger. Senger said that VW hopes to sell two-to-three million electric cars a year by 2025.

The first MEB EV will start production at the end of 2019 as a 2020 model year vehicle.

Which brings us back to the electric concept that VW will show in Paris. Previewing the first MEB vehicle, it will start production at the end of 2019 as a 2020 model year vehicle. It will use a li-ion battery, no outlandish body materials, and be "highly automated."

Before the MEB EV arrives, a better e-Golf with "more range and more affordability" is coming, Stackmann said. The number that Stackmann and others kept throwing around for that was a 300-kilometer (186-mile) range. That's on the more forgiving European drive style, but it's still a lot better than the current e-Golf, which gets 83 miles per charge. The new e-Golf goes into production in December.

Stackmann said more details on the MEB EV and the future of VW will be available soon. "We want to use Paris, basically, as the lighthouse to show you where we are heading as a brand," he said. "There are so many tremendous things happening at VW at the moment. We are taking big, bold decisions fast to really get the brand moving and we are excited to show you the first glimpse of that at the Paris Motor Show." The Paris show starts October 1.

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