Volkswagen R Cars to Skip the Hybrid Phase and go Full EV

Volkswagen’s R brand likely won’t be putting a plug-in hybrid vehicle into production.

Speaking to Top Gear at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, R brand boss Jost Capito said that hybrid powertrains provide the “worst of both worlds,” for performance cars. He pointed out that the battery usually only lasts a short period of time on track or in spirited driving scenarios, leaving the combustion engine to do all the work and lug around a heavy battery pack for no reason.

“So that’s why I see the step going to electric; either it’s a full internal combustion engine, or it’s full electric,” Capito said.

Golf GTE Sport Hybrid Concept

VW is going all-in on EVs, so the first electric car to wear an ‘R’ badge probably isn’t too far off. The automaker is preparing to launch its first series production EV under the new ‘ID’ banner later this year, which rides on the flexible MEB platform for electric vehicles.

The platform is designed to underpin a variety of vehicles and adopt different powertrains with front-, rear- and all-wheel drive, so R should have plenty of freedom for its new EV.

TG also spoke to Volkswagen board member Jürgen Stackmann in Geneva, who elaborated on VW’s plans for R-badged I.D. vehicles.

“Clearly the team want to manage the next phase of R in the I.D. world,” he said. “So what is an ID. R, in production, going to look like? The team is now working on how we cross the boundary of an electric R series production model that is family-ready. but the ID. R helps them to experiment with motors and battery tech. There’s a lot of work we’re currently pulling out of the I.D. R racecar for production.”

VW Vortex recently dug up a trademark application filed by VW for the name ‘FighteR’. The capital ‘R’ in the name seems to indicate the name could be for an R-branded performance vehicle of some sort. It’s not clear if R’s EV will bear this name, although it doesn’t seem far-fetched.