Forget dieselgate, the VW Phaeton’s going electric
The second generation Volkswagen Phaeton is coming, and it will be electrically powered. Yup. In what might cynically be seen as the motoring industry equivalent of shouting look over there before running away, VW has announced the rebirth of its niche limo, with added e-power. It's newsworthy that the Phaeton lives on, though\: VW has also announced it's stripping one billion euros from its development budget in the wake of its emissions cheat, so the replacement for its luxury saloon - the first generation of which sells very modestly - is something that could easily have been culled had it been any further back in the pipeline. The Phaeton is far more important than that, though, we're told. VW says its Merc S-Class rival has embodied the brand's technological competence and brand ambition from the first generation onward, and that a second-gen car is on its way. The future generation of the Phaeton will once again be the flagship for the brand's profile over the next decade, it continues. In light of this, the Board of Management redefined the current project. The specification features a pure electric drive with long-distance capability, connectivity and next-generation assistance systems as well as an emotional design. VW talking up its zero emissions technology is no surprise, with the Porsche Mission E and Audi E-tron Quattro proving the requisite technology is being developed within the group. Watch out Tesla Model S, then. Further VW future plans have been mapped out too, the result of strategic decisions made in a special meeting held by brand chairman Dr Herbert Diess. These include further development of the MQB modular platform that underpins so many of the VW group's smaller cars, their ability to use plug-in hybrid powertrains in particular. Connectivity and driver assistance systems will also be given more attention. Pure electric vehicles are a big focus, with VW targeting the ability to travel up to 500 kilometres on one charge for a whole bunch of cars and small vans. Petrol and diesel vehicles haven't been forgotten, though, and the latter will only be sold in Europe and North America with scrupulous catalytic reduction systems to ensure they're as clean as possible. Back in the here and now, it's been announced that 400,000 of UK cars affected by the emissions rigging scandal will need a physical fix. Afflicted 1.6-litre TDIs will need fuel injector work as well as software tweaks. Recalls will start in early 2016.