Volkswagen to Bring All-Electric Phaeton Successor to 2018 Geneva Motor Show

With brands such as Audi and Bentley in its portfolio, it would make no sense for VW Group to build a large luxury sedan under its "Car of the People" marque.
VW Phaeton rendering 1 photo
Photo: Theophilus Chin
And yet that's precisely what they've done with the now defunct Volkswagen Phaeton. The limousine was the ambitious project of then-CEO Ferdinand Piech, and it must have cost Volkswagen at least a hundred times more than what it got back through its sells.

With just 84,000 of the Phaetons finding their owners over a 14 year period, it's hard to imagine the R&D cost - as well as that of the Transparent Factory in Dresden which was purpose-built for the model - was covered. And even if Volkswagen didn't care for financial profit but rather a boost in its luxury credentials thanks to a new halo car, we doubt it made any difference to the Polo and Golf buyers who make up the bulk of the brand's sales.

Anyway, the company may not have learned its lesson as rumors have it that it's preparing some sort of successor, only this time it would use electric propulsion. It's no secret the Wolfsburg-based company is baking a true EV revolution inside its closely guarded oven, but a few bits of information - aside from the concepts shown so far - did manage to transpire.

For instance, we know of five vehicles that will be built under its I.D. brand, with a possible sixth added just the other day when news of a trademark application for the "I.D. STREETMATE" name broke out. One is a hatchback, the other is a crossover while the third takes the shape of a minibus. Two more were shown under wraps, leaving us to guess based only on their silhouettes.

Now, Australian website Motoring says that the Germans will launch an electric luxury flagship model at next year's Geneva Motor Show, and they're building their argument on a snippet they got from VW director of development, Frank Welsche.

The Volkswagen official revealed that the brand is not pulling out of the luxury segment: “We definitely do not give up the area [of large luxury sedans], and you could imagine an all-electric flagship," he's quoted as saying. "Better, we are going to have [one], we should discuss that in Geneva next year."

Whether he was talking about one of the two models hiding under the white sheets in the leaked presentation or a completely new model is anyone's guess, but we think "Lounge" would make a good name for a +16-feet (five meters) long limousine based on the MEB platform.

With enough room for I.D. Buzz's 110 kWh battery pack to slot under its floor, the sedan could offer a 300-mile real-world maximum range as well as decent performance thanks to a multi-motor setup and the quiet ride that comes included with any EV.

It's obviously too early to talk about a production timeline for the still unconfirmed model, but if it is the Lounge that Frank Welsche is talking about, then it should slot between the first two models - the I.D. and I.D. Crozz - and the I.D. Buzz, meaning late 2020 or 2021. If not, then the electric halo sedan could come at any given time after 2022.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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