(Frankfurt) German car giant Volkswagen on Wednesday unveiled a new electric model “under 25,000 euros” in a bid to capture the coveted consumer battery-powered vehicle market.

This compact car, called ID.2 and planned for 2025, will be “as spacious as a Golf and as affordable as a Polo”, promises the brand in a press release, announcing a range of up to 450 kilometers.

With this car, whose sleek design was presented on Wednesday evening in Hamburg, the group says it wants to “democratize progress”. The starting price will be “less than 25,000 euros” ($36,000 CAN, editor’s note), according to Volkswagen, which did not give further pricing details.

Electric vehicles have conquered 12% of the European market in just a few years. But they remain confined to the upper segments by their purchase price, from 35,000 or 40,000 euros for models like the VW ID.3 or the Tesla Model 3 (excluding bonuses).

Manufacturers must therefore still offer vehicles to the middle classes.

The new “ID” arrives in a nascent market where the cheapest electric car, and one of the most popular, the Dacia Spring, is around 22,000 euros, without bonuses, with an advertised range of 230 kilometers.

The new “people’s car” from Volkswagen, the leading European manufacturer, will above all have to position itself against the Renault 5, which is due to be released in 2024 with a similar price.

Volkswagen had raised the suspense since the last Munich Motor Show where a model was announced between 20,000 and 25,000 euros.

But the increase in raw material and energy costs, supply problems since the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation have complicated this project.

“It’s not easy to present a vehicle under 25,000 euros,” Volkswagen board member Thomas Schmall explained at the brand’s annual conference on Wednesday.

But the sales volumes should allow for “economies of scale and to respect this price range”, he added.

The ID.2 will be the first of ten new electric models planned by Volkswagen by 2026 to be designed on the MEB platform, an updated version of the technical architecture specifically designed by Volkswagen for its electric vehicles.

The world number 2 says it is aiming for an 11% share of electric vehicles in its global sales this year and 20% by 2025, compared to 7% in 2022. The German group dominated the European electric car market last year but is largely outpaced worldwide by the American Tesla.

For the Volkswagen brand, battery cars should represent 80% of sales in Europe by 2030, recalled its boss, Thomas Schäfer, presenting an electric blue ID.2 prototype in Hamburg.

The European car market will have to go all-electric in 2035 if the European Union ratifies the ban on sales of new gasoline vehicles on that date.

With its more affordable price, this model is the “key to penetrate the markets of Southern and Eastern Europe” and to develop in the countries of Northern Europe, where more drivers are already behind the wheel of electric cars, explains to AFP Matthias Schmidt, analyst of the automotive sector.

The brand promises 80% charging in less than 20 minutes on DC fast charging stations.

The ID.2 should offer 490 to 1330 liters of storage space, and a range “that will allow you to reach your destination without problems, even on long journeys”, according to the press release.

Chinese brands like MG or Dr have already launched with attractive models under 30,000 euros. At MG, “many customers come from the thermal car, but did not necessarily have the means to go electric so far,” said a spokesperson for the brand in France.

At the same time, Volkswagen has confirmed that it is also working on a model for less than 20,000 euros. It will come to face the Dacia Spring but also the future models of Hyundai, Stellantis and Chinese manufacturers.