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Volkswagen R division will live on once EVs take over

The automaker is currently considering how to apply a performance feel to its future electrics.

One of these in an aggressive R trim would look pretty damn good.


Way back in the day, many people thought that electrification would be a death knell for performance cars, but oh, how our tunes have changed since then.

Volkswagen's R performance division is currently investigating the idea of performance-oriented electric vehicles, Autocar reports, citing a conversation with Jost Capito, the head of Volkswagen R. "If we do an R electric car, then it will be a proper R, or else it wouldn't make sense," Capito told Autocar.

The division head claims it has an idea of when such a car would arrive, but with the rapid pace of development, that figure could change, so there won't be any official announcements just yet. The first two EV Volkswagens on its new MEB electric platform will be the I.D. hatchback and the I.D. Crozz crossover, the latter of which should be the first to arrive in the US.

The trick to putting the R badge on an electric vehicle is finding balance, Capito told Autocar. Prioritizing outright performance will have an effect on the vehicle's range, and too short a range could make a vehicle undesirable, even if it's a blast to drive. Thus, Volkswagen R is trying to find that sweet spot that'll make its cars appealing from both sides. Autocar notes that the first two I.D. EVs to arrive would both make great platforms for performance variants -- especially the latter, as performance crossovers are very much in vogue now.

Volkswagen's first foray into performance electric vehicles came by way of the I.D. R Pikes Peak, an all-electric race car built solely for the purpose of smashing the Pikes Peak hill climb record, a feat it accomplished in late June. With 671 horsepower coming from its electric motors, the I.D. R didn't just capture the hill climb record for electric vehicles -- it broke the overall record.