Engineering is under way on an electric version of the upcoming second-generation Volkswagen Amarok.
The German car maker has teamed up with Ford for the zero-emission pick-up truck, which is tipped for possible production by the middle of the decade as a smaller and potentially more efficient alternative to the likes of the Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T.
The partnership is an extension of the so-called Global Alliance, through which Volkswagen and Ford have developed more conventional petrol and diesel versions of the second-generation Amarok and fourth-generation Ford Ranger alongside each other in a program based at Ford Australia headquarters in Broadmeadows, Australia.
“We’re looking at a pure-electric version,” said Lars Krause, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle board member responsible for marketing, giving new details of the new Amarok in Wolfsburg, Germany.
“It’s still early, but it’s something we’re considering within the lifecycle.”
The move to begin engineering studies into an electric version of the new Amarok comes after Volkswagen decided not to offer the upcoming second-generation Amarok with the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain earmarked to be made available for the new-look Ford Ranger in 2023.
Despite calls for a plug-in hybrid version of the new Amarok, particularly in European markets, where emissions-based road tax has the scope to severely penalise petrol and diesel versions of the new pick-up, Volkswagen said such a model would only make sense when it can guarantee an extended electric range.
“Right now, we’re not satisfied with the electric range of the plug-in hybrid. I’d never say never, but we’re looking more towards a full electric version,” Krause told Autocar.
The Volkswagen official is confident the chassis used by the new Amarok, a box steel structure developed by Ford, could accept an electric drivetrain and battery pack.
“We think it’s possible. Obviously, we’d need to modify certain elements. But yes, we’re seriously considering an electric variant,” he said.
Volkswagen plans to invest up to £140 billion across its portfolio of brands into the development of electric vehicles this decade.
While it’s yet to officially pinpoint the electric Amarok as one of the models it plans to place into production, the firm’s Commercial Vehicles division is fully integrated into the programme, having secured a key role in the engineering of the new Volkswagen ID Buzz, which is produced at its manufacturing headquarters in Hanover, Germany.
It has also engineered an electric version of the new Volkswagen Multivan in partnership with Abt.
Ford began production of the F-150 Lightning pick-up, an electric version of its perennial best-selling model, earlier this year, paving the way for the smaller electric Ranger.
Although it’s still early days, suggestions are the electric Amarok and Ranger could be built at Ford’s plant in Michigan, the US, where petrol and diesel versions of the Ranger are set to begin production in 2023 following initial production at Ford’s Silverton plant in South Africa.