Scout Motors is an unbiased US firm backed by Volkswagen Group whose board of administrators contains Dr. Gernot Doellner, the top of group technique at Volkswagen AG, and Peter Bosch, the member of the Bentley Motors board liable for manufacturing. Its CEO is Scott Keogh, previously head of Volkswagen of America. In a press launch dated March 3, 2023, Scout introduced it’ll construct its first manufacturing facility in South Carolina.
The 1600-acre web site is 20 miles north of Columbia and is bordered by Interstate 77 and Blythewood Highway. This locations it close to main cities and expertise hubs akin to Charleston, Charlotte, Greenville, and Atlanta, and supplies entry to main highways, the ports of Charleston and Savannah, and universities which are centered on automotive engineering. Groundbreaking for the $2 billion manufacturing unit is deliberate for mid-2023 with manufacturing is projected to start by the top of 2026. Scout Motors says it’s contemplating turning into a publicly traded firm sooner or later, a lot as Porsche did final 12 months.
The announcement claims the brand new manufacturing unit can have an annual capability of 200,000 electrical automobiles and will make use of as many as 4000 employees. “Scout Motors will present hundreds of South Carolinians with beforehand unimagined alternatives and prosperity for generations to return. The Palmetto State, with its wealthy historical past, superior folks, and sterling automotive manufacturing fame, is the proper place to restart this iconic American model,” mentioned Governor Henry McMaster.
South Carolina is a longtime chief in automobile manufacturing and is at the moment house to greater than 500 automotive-related corporations and 75,000 automotive trade workers. The state is No. 1 within the US for export gross sales of accomplished passenger automobiles and is dedicated to turning into the epicenter of electrical automobile innovation. An government order issued by McMaster in October 2022 prioritized constructing EV infrastructure, getting ready the state workforce for superior manufacturing jobs, and strategically organizing EV planning beneath a centralized state working group.
All New Proprietary Chassis
Scout’s vehicles and rugged SUVs will likely be constructed on a newly designed all electrical platform that delivers credible functionality and off street prowess, the corporate says. With inside engineering centered on attributes together with floor clearance, method angles, strong axles, payload capability, vary, and new digital options, Scout merchandise will honor their heritage whereas injecting contemporary American ingenuity to create a brand new period of iconic all function automobiles.
The unique Scout was produced by Worldwide Harvester from 1960 to 1980. It arguably was the world’s first utility automobile able to each off-road journey and household obligation, having pre-dated the unique Ford Bronco by 5 years. It was meant to be a solution to the unique Jeep, however with a totally enclosed physique as a substitute of the Jeep’s canvas enclosure. “The unique is now an American icon whose heritage is stored alive by a devoted neighborhood of doers that proceed to push their automobiles on the farm, within the wilderness, and on household outings,” the corporate says. “Scout Motors is revitalizing a legend and returning manufacturing to American shores.”
“We’re honored to companion with South Carolina to usher on this new period for Scout,” mentioned Scott Keogh. “Scout has been an American icon since introducing an SUV in 1960. It’s the automobile that took your loved ones on a tenting journey, that gave entry to the good outside, and that confirmed up on the job web site each morning. As we speak, we’re re-imagining Scout’s unique ingenuity and electrifying its future. We’re bringing the Scout spirit to South Carolina and it’s going to be a hell of a experience.”
Not Your Father’s SUV
In an interview with TechCrunch, Keogh gently mocks the present crop of SUVs which are extra smooth street automobiles than off street succesful. The phrase he makes use of over and over is “rugged.” Properly, having ridden in an unique Scout, all I can say is I query whether or not People, who complained bitterly in regards to the harsh rid of early SUVs, actually need the bone-crushing experience of the unique with its two stable axles and big unsprung weight within the suspension and drivetrain. Keogh says the response in focus teams has been overwhelmingly constructive however these folks might not totally admire that “rugged” and “comfy” are ar reverse ends of the spectrum.
One factor Keogh did say was that Scout Motors is evaluating the web gross sales mannequin pioneered by Tesla. “Now we have not determined however we’re taking an extended, arduous have a look at it,” Keogh mentioned. Traditionally, he mentioned, producers dominated the scene, however recently the dealerships have been calling the pictures, usually on the expense of everybody else. “It’s all the time been an trade that performed extra in direction of laws, industrialization, networkization, versus what’s one of the best client expertise,” he mentioned. “That is the differentiator: Superior retail expertise centered on the client, centered on expertise.”
We’re unsure “networkization” and “differentiator” might be present in your Funk & Wagnall’s, however we expect Volkswagen’s America sellers aren’t going to look too kindly on being minimize out of the loop when Scout automobiles go on sale. Alternatively, Ford has informed its sellers there will likely be some adjustments made in the way it sells its electrical vehicles, so something is feasible. There can be few tears round CleanTechnica world headquarters if there have been to be a rebalancing of the facility construction between producers and sellers.
Two Scout Fashions At First
The primary Scout mannequin will likely be a small, off-road centered SUV that Keogh calls an RUV, which stands for “rugged utility automobile.” The second will likely be a bigger truck which is able to “lean a bit bit extra on street” by way of its driving traits. The RUV will to begin within the $40,000 vary, whereas the truck will likely be “a bit north of there.” Each will likely be constructed on a bespoke body-on-frame chassis. A battery companion has not been introduced, however Keogh says the automobiles will have the ability to take full benefit of the incentives contained within the Inflation Discount Act.
Scout’s new EV platform will share some gadgets akin to heating and cooling elements, motors, and inverters with different Volkswagen Group automobiles, however Keogh insists the Scout automobiles will take a radically totally different method to software program integration and the general consumer expertise. Volkswagen has been criticized for being overly involved with smooth contact controls. Scouts will doubtless have actual controls that folks can really flip, click on, or twist. Actual knobs on the radio are a definite chance.
“We actually need to maintain a whole lot of the mechanical nature,” Keogh mentioned. “I believe should you have a look at the American patrons, sure, they admire software program, however they don’t need software program to be all-dominating. I believe you’ll see much more, let’s say, old style physicality, however in a great way.” Whereas Keogh is adamant that the brand new Scout will honor the previous, it gained’t be a model hung up on legacy like a few of its fossil fueled competitors. “I don’t need to make Scout a fossilized retro model that claims, ‘Pricey America, it’s 1977. Once more.’”
I do not like paywalls. You do not like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Right here at CleanTechnica, we carried out a restricted paywall for some time, nevertheless it all the time felt flawed — and it was all the time powerful to resolve what we should always put behind there. In principle, your most unique and finest content material goes behind a paywall. However then fewer folks learn it! We simply do not like paywalls, and so we have determined to ditch ours.
Sadly, the media enterprise continues to be a troublesome, cut-throat enterprise with tiny margins. It is a unending Olympic problem to remain above water and even maybe — gasp — develop. So …