I.D. Buzz

Concept art of the I.D. Buzz, one of Volkswagen's planned electric car models. The Buzz, which is similar in build to the Microbus of the 1960s, is scheduled to debut in 2022.

Scott Keogh was in Omaha on Monday for the grand opening of Baxter Auto Group‘s new Volkswagen dealership at 17220 Burt St.

The Volkswagen North America CEO, who said he goes to a dealership opening about once a month, sat down with The World-Herald to talk about Volkswagen’s latest initiative: electric vehicles.

Responses have been edited for clarity.

Q: In March, Volkswagen announced plans to produce 22 million electric vehicles by 2028. What went into that decision?

A: The first thing is compliance and global legislation. You look at where legislation is heading in Europe; stricter emissions with reductions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), NOx (nitrogen oxide).

China has set a target to become the leader in electric vehicles. That’s our No. 1 market. If you look at America, the same thing is happening legislation-wise.

The second thing is more consumer appetite for electric vehicles.

The third thing is a responsibility for the environment. There is a need for companies to do more, and if you think about Volkswagen, we’re the world’s largest automotive manufacturer.

Q: In terms of looking at VW’s planned electric vehicles and electric vehicles that are currently on the market, how are yours going to be different?

A: What we’re looking to do with the I.D. Crozz (Volkswagen’s planned electric SUV) is make the thing mainstream. The No. 1 segment (of car sales) is small SUVs. We wanted to enter the biggest segment with electric vehicles because the trick is not to get an electric car person to buy another electric car.

It’s to get someone who buys a combustion engine to say, ‘Ah, now I’m gonna make the leap.’ And we wanted to make that leap as easy as possible.

Q: When will these electric cars be going on the market?

A: The I.D. Crozz, the SUV, will be coming the fourth quarter next year. And then we will be launching one electric car nearly every year for the next couple years.

The Buzz (a planned Volkswagen electric vehicle that will have a similar build to its iconic Microbus of the 1960s) should be coming in ’22, and so there’ll be a proper cadence to keep launching these cars.