How Scout Motors plans to bring a solid, retro reputation to the EV era
“We’re working Scott Keogh laughed in his first interview as CEO, saying: Scout EnginesThe American EV new startup has left the VW Group.
Whereas most established automotive gamers take orders from sprawling company palaces, Scout bases most of its operations – at the least for now – at a WeWork close to Washington, DC.
Scout Motors’ base of operations will finally be “anchored” close to the $2 billion plant in South Carolina, which was introduced Friday, however Keogh believes distant work will likely be key to Scout Motors’ success. The corporate already has important workers working remotely in the USA and abroad.
“I firmly imagine that period is over,” Keogh stated of the classical days of centralized institutions. “I do not assume it exists anymore within the spirit of the People, within the spirit of the corporate.”
Capturing the spirit of the People is an enormous a part of what Keogh hopes and plans to do with Scout Motors, an all-electric model launched with a $100 million funding from Volkswagen. About $40,000 by the tip of 2026. Scout was the previous client automotive model of Worldwide Harvester and discontinued manufacturing in 1980 after labor disputes and the 1979 power disaster.
5 years earlier than the Ford Bronco hit the scene, the unique Worldwide Harvester Scout was a go-anywhere, do-anything utility car that adopted within the footsteps of the unique Jeep, however with a extra sensible, closed physique. “In our minds, Scout form of planted the seed, and should you have a look at just about each SUV, they mainly stole that identify and made some modifications to it,” stated Keogh, who later used acquainted nameplates like Trailblazer, Pathfinder. Explorer and Discovery.
These fashions could also be derivatives, however they’ve one key benefit over the Scout: They’ve all gone into manufacturing sooner or later within the final 40 years. In the meantime, Scout has a tough time attempting to honor the previous whereas making up for almost half a century of misplaced time. As if that wasn’t sufficient, Scout additionally has to distance himself from Volkswagen.
Keogh used the phrase “clear slate” 4 occasions throughout our interview, referring to every little thing from software program to seller presence. Scout Motors, with its Volkswagen ties, seems to have a definite benefit over different EV ventures in that it will probably theoretically flip its again on a whole lot of US VW sellers. That stated, Keogh says there are benefits to following Tesla’s path in figuring out a means for producers to promote automobiles on to customers.
“We have not determined, however we’re wanting into this at size and depth,” Keogh stated of on-line direct promoting. Traditionally, he stated, producers dominated the scene, however currently franchises are making the selections, typically at everybody’s expense. “Versus what the most effective client expertise is, it is all the time been an trade that performs extra in direction of laws, industrialization and networking,” he stated. “That is what’s totally different: An amazing customer-centric, technology-driven retail expertise.”
Keogh has confirmed that Scout Motors will launch its first two EVs in fast succession beginning in late 2026.
The primary will likely be a small, off-road SUV that Keogh calls the RUV: a “stable industrial car.” Secondly, it is a larger truck that may “bend a bit extra on the street” by way of driving traits. Particulars comparable to vary and energy have but to be decided, however pricing for the RUV is anticipated to start out within the $40,000 vary and the truck is “a bit north of there.”
Neither will likely be devoid of off-road functionality, a model new focus for the Volkswagen Group.
Each automobiles will likely be constructed on a bespoke, on-board platform of the kind utilized by essentially the most expert off-road machines prior to now. Manufacturing will happen in the USA on the firm’s newly introduced manufacturing facility in Columbia, South Carolina.
A battery companion was not disclosed, however Keogh was dedicated to structuring suppliers to take full benefit of the electrical car incentives provided by native manufacturing necessities, the Inflation Discount Act.
Scout’s new EV platform will share sure elements comparable to HVAC elements, motors and inverters with different Volkswagen Group automobiles. However that is the place the similarities finish. Scout Motors goals to ship driving character and functionality like no different below the VW Group, a large firm that features a lengthy lineup of electrical car platforms. VW Group created the MEB underlying Volkswagen ID.4, its successor MEB+, the J1 Efficiency platform below each the Porsche Taycan and Audi E-Tron GT, and the upcoming PPE platform for the upcoming Porsche Macan EV.
Along with a bespoke platform, Scout’s automobiles may also take radically totally different approaches to software program integration and total consumer expertise. Some key options of the software program will likely be supplied by Cariad, Volkswagen’s software program arm. Keogh stated the underlying software program structure is in place. The consumer expertise will likely be radically totally different, he added.
Keogh factors to bodily touchpoints as the principle differentiator. For instance, VW’s ID.4 has been criticized by many for its over-reliance on touchpads.
“We actually wish to protect many of the mechanical construction,” Keogh stated. “Should you have a look at American consumers, sure, they admire software program, however they do not need software program to dominate every little thing. I believe you are going to see much more, for example, old-school physicality, however in a great way.”
So there isn’t any touchscreen-controlled air flow like on the Tesla Mannequin Y, then? “Yeah, I can just about verify,” stated Keogh.
seems sooner or later
Two fashions of the Scout will likely be launched in early 2024. The corporate had restricted showings of prototype automobiles at focus teams in California and Texas in comparison with conventional choices just like the Broncos and Rivian’s newer entries. Keogh anticipated the ideas to achieve California with extra EV-conscious and pleasant audiences, however even the suggestions in Texas was sturdy. “We have had a number of the greatest outcomes we have had in clinics, interval,” he stated.
What about Scout loyalists who nonetheless symbolize the model at annual occasions like Harvester Homecoming? “To be honest, it runs the gamut,” Keogh stated of the suggestions they obtained, and a few discovered the model a bit too progressive. However Keogh says they should transfer the model ahead. If Worldwide Harvester had by no means stopped making automobiles after the Scout II, “We might be in Scout 8 now,” he stated. “You undoubtedly don’t need Scout VIII to be like Scout II.”
For Keogh, the important thing to attracting prospects is the identify. “It is a easy line we’re utilizing, however I believe it really works, the idea that the world wants extra Scouts. Scouts can excel in issues like climbing, climbing Everest, for example on the extra excessive aspect of Scouts, or considerably extra to go after somebody who is aware of the most recent concepts. They could be much less excessive.
Whereas Keogh is adamant that the brand new Scout will honor the previous, it will not be a legacy model caught with a few of its gas-firing rivals: “I do not wish to make Scout a fossilized retro model that claims: ‘Pricey America, it is 1977 once more.'”
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