Reuters has seen plans that indicate Volkswagen is fast-tracking development of a “small BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle)”, which will be the size of its Polo, and will be fully electric. Although the company didn’t elaborate on when we can expect to see launch or what the car will look like, the key info they have teased is a price point between €20,000-25,000 (about £18,000-23,000); making the new project significantly more affordable than this year’s ID.3.

In anticipation of the increasing green shift in the future of transportation, Volkswagen engineers are reportedly bringing forward development in order to keep up with strict EU emissions targets. VW intends to sell over a million electric cars annually by 2025, and only this month raised its planned investment in e-mobility to an eye-watering €35 billion over the next five years.

The cynical among us might point out that VW pulling out the stops to rush production might have less to do with any sudden climate enlightenment, and more to do with Elon Musk’s September assertion that Tesla will have a similarly-priced model out in three years’ time. But regardless of whether it’s driven by market competition or actual green values, the announcement makes welcome news — especially coming from a manufacturer that’s a tad more reliable than Elon when it comes to future promises. 

At nearly half the cost of the ID.3, the projected price of the unnamed “small BEV” is more in line with Volkswagen’s “For millions, not for millionaires” marketing, which was a nice sentiment still attached to a family car on the more expensive end of the scale (albeit a very impressive one). However, the lack of current details means we don’t know if it’ll inherit any of its older sister’s boastworthy features. Sadly, most consumers aren’t going to opt for a totally bog-standard EV when they could get a functionally identical petrol car for two thirds of the price.

Regardless, though, between VW, Tesla, and others such as Fiat jostling to get an elbow in at the EV table, it’s likely that competition will breed affordable innovation at shaved-down prices. Hopefully, within the next five years, new car shoppers will no longer dismiss electric options out of hand due to their reputation as expensive and obscure.