The Could Send VW Stock Soaring
Volkswagen AG (ADR) (OTC:VLKAY) introduced the “Budd-e” at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2016) in Las Vegas and it might just be what is needed to put a bottom under VW stock.
The microbus-concept, whose styling is inspired by the 1960s “Samba Bus” (a.k.a. the “hippy van”). Even The Grateful Dead would forgive VW over its emission cheating, as the design of the Budd-e so successfully captures the spirit of the 60s in ultra-modern fashion. For the record, the design is really like, totally far out man. (Source: “The VW Budd-e: Volkswagen’s new green machine,” The Telegraph, January 6, 2016.)
The Budd-e might just be the turning point VW stock needs, introducing the rock upon which it will build its emission-free redemption to please the modern Church of Environmentalism and Beatniks alike.
“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,” said Abbie Hoffman. The Budd-e puts VW customers back in the solution bus and makes VW stock gnarly again (in the good way).
First of New Electric Vehicles for VW
The Budd-e is the first of 20 electric and plug-in hybrid models that Volkswagen intends to launch by 2020. The design is not the only reason for its appeal. Surely it will bring customers to the showrooms and VW stock back up, but buyers will be most impressed by its more than 350-mile range on a single charge. That’s almost enough to go from Los Angeles to San Francisco on one charge, flowers in our hair included. (Source: “VW exec predicts US fixes for emissions test cheating,” Telegram, January 5, 2016.)
For an electric car, especially one as spacious and practical as the Budd-e, this kind of range is a remarkable achievement.
The Budd-e might just be able to make everyone forget the “Dieselgate” emissions scandal, because VW is known for making cars that are “a gas” to drive. VW has also filled the Budd-e with all kinds of technology. Equipped to be integrated into the “Internet of Things,” the head of VW AG’s Volkswagen brand, Herbert Diess, also confirmed it comes with all-wheel drive.
The new electric VW also comes equipped with two motors, one per axle, and delivers 235 kW of power (that’s the equivalent of some 300 HP in fossil fuel power), requiring just 30 minutes to recharge 80% of its battery. The “package,” in short, should be more than enough to contain or even eliminate range anxiety.
The concept model is 4.6 meters long, 1.94 meters wide, and 1.83 meters high, offering balanced proportions and clean lines without handles or mirrors. The mirrors are replaced by “e-Mirrors,” which are digital screens that display images from two external cameras.
The microbus’s true purpose is a platform for the “Modular Electric Toolkit” (MEB), which will equip all of Volkswagen’s future electric cars. It offers performance, long charge times, maximum space for occupants, and a variety of options to develop the interior. (Source: “The VW Budd-e: Volkswagen’s new green machine,” The Telegraph, January 6, 2016.)
Budd-e Is the Next Big Thing for VW
The van can communicate with “smart home” or “smart office” systems, integrating IoT, as mentioned earlier. According to Volkswagen, consumers can soon manage their home’s heating directly from the car, as well as the lights, door locks, and even appliances like the fridge to see if there is enough tofu for the Grateful Dead reunion party or enough eggs to make an omelet for dinner, for example.
Diess does not mince his message. The Volkswagen brand boss is convinced that VW’s new electric microbus represents a true turning point that anticipates tremendous changes in the development of a future zero-emission Volkswagen. The idea is nothing short of relegating internal combustion engines to the past. Therefore, Volkswagen stock has received the boost it needed to move beyond the Dieselgate scandal. (Source: “The new Volkswagen: electric and fully connected,” Business Insider, January 6, 2016.)
Just before last Christmas, Musk and other Silicon Valley leaders suggested that for VW, it’s not even worth the effort to attempt to fix Dieselgate. According to his letter, Elon Musk said he would prefer to see the Volkswagen Group promote zero-emission technology than spend more money correcting Dieselgate. (Source: “In a letter, Elon Musk tells Volkswagen to ‘cure the air, not the cars’,” Quartz, December 21, 2015.)
VW’s Budd-e van and the technology it introduces appear to have addressed Musk’s suggestions. Indeed, VW stock could even benefit by a greater migration of green investors, because the company is now speaking to customers and investors in an even more eloquent form of the environmentally correct language of Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk, the seeming champion of all manners of world-changing initiatives.
Still, VW has not given up on fixing the Dieselgate-offending vehicles just yet. Brand CEO Herbert Diess said the company is talking to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board, having received approval to fix 8.5 million cheating cars in Europe with repairs beginning now and ending before December 31, 2016. (Source: “VW exec predicts US fixes for emissions test cheating,” Telegram, January 5, 2016.)
All of this is good news for the future of Volkswagen AG (ADR) and VW stock investors.