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VW rules out RHD e-Crafter until next generation arrives

  • Large VW electric van on its way…
  • …but not until 2026
  • VW Van bosses confirm current generation won’t come in RHD at all

Written by Tom Webster Published: 23 September 2022 Updated: 13 June 2023

The Volkswagen Crafter will come with an electric van version in the UK, but not until the next generation arrives in 2026, VW bosses have confirmed.

The current generation of VW Crafter was made with an electric model as part of the range, but this has only ever been sold in left-hand drive markets. Originally it was thought it would come a couple of years after the Crafter first launched in 2017 and then it was ruled out until the mid-life facelift, which was believed to be around 2023.

However, VW vans boss, Carsten Intra, confirmed that there is now no chance of the Crafter being offered in the UK as an electrified version until the future model comes and that won’t be until 2026.

Why the delay to the VW e-Crafter?

VW didn’t go into any detail on why the e-Crafter is not going to be offered in right-hand drive, but it did admit that the current model was ‘limited’ in key areas.

‘I think that [the current Crafter] was a huge step forward in terms of drivability, it was really like a passenger car – it was really fun to drive. However, it was limited in terms of battery capacity and other needs,’ said VW Vans’ sales and marketing boss, Lars Krause.

VW e-Crafter grille
VW e-Crafter grille

He pointed to the VW ID.Buzz as an example of what the brand wants to do with the next generation of Crafter in terms of making a ‘clear statement.’

Intra also said that the success of the current Crafter in diesel form means that it will be left on sale for longer than it might have been – 2026 will take it to nine years on sale, which is marginally longer than the eight-year life cycle that is common in the van industry. This would still be shorter than the long-lasting Citroen Relay and Peugeot Boxer, though.

‘If battery electric vehicle comes in that segment, it must be a pure battery electric vehicle it can’t be compromised,’ said Intra. This means it has to be developed from the ground up as a BEV, which is not how the Crafter was created. To do this, VW needs a partner, and it says that it is a long way down the line on that hunt.

So the new VW Crafter will be a Ford Transit underneath, right?

The VW/Ford commercial vehicle partnership means that there is an obvious partner waiting there, but Intra says that this is not necessarily going to be the case and there is no guarantee that the next Crafter will also be a Ford Transit. It is not decided yet, he says.

‘We see that continuing partnerships that you already have always makes sense but it’s not decided yet. We still have some room for manoeuvre,’ he added. So while the next VW Transporter and Ford Transit Custom will share a platform, the same cannot yet be said for the bigger model in the VW vans range.