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Scout’s Electric Trucks Will Be ‘Mechanical’ EVs, Not ‘Isolation Machines’

The brand's CEO says its EVs won't be as digitized as many modern EVs.
International Scout off-road truck
Scout Motors

With Rivian already the go-to name in electric off-roaders and Jeep moving in fast, VW’s resurrected Scout Motors brand needs to figure out a niche of its own. Scout’s CEO Scott Keogh thinks he has a solution: Invade the space Jeep is neglecting, with less digitized SUVs that immerse you in the world around you, not cocoon you from it.

Keogh explained the brand’s approach in an interview with The Verge where he outlined what to expect from VW’s off-roaders. It’ll be informed by the Scout name’s roots in the International Harvester Scout, a rugged early SUV that competed with the Jeep CJ. Fittingly, Keogh says Scouts won’t be “isolation machines” like many modern EVs, which surround occupants with software to keep them safe and entertained. Instead, Keogh suggested Scout will take a more analog approach.

International Harvester Scout off-roading
International Harvester Scout off-roading. Scout Motors

For starters, there’ll be no flush door handles or huge touchscreen (both safety hazards in their own right). Scouts will instead feature real handles and physical buttons in their cockpits like other future VWs.

“We do believe in mechanical, and we believe in chunky buttons,” Keogh reportedly said. He suggested software could take a back seat, stating that Scout will “pull it behind the curtain.” The fact that that may hide subpar execution also could benefit VW, whose infotainment systems in its ID line of EVs hasn’t been well-received.

1965 International Harvester Scout 800
1965 International Harvester Scout 800. unknown via FavCars.com

As for where these put Scout in the growing off-road EV market, it’s a more distinct place than you may first think. Though Rivian has the upscale all-terrain corner covered as an electric analog to Land Rover, Jeep is still moving in its direction with vehicles like the Recon and Wagoneer S. The Recon is meant to capture the Wrangler fanbase with its removable doors and retracting roof, but it doesn’t appear to feature the Wrangler’s removable roof. It looks to be a more softcore experience, while the Wagoneer S is emphatically a performance on-roader.

Neither capture the same fanbases as the Wrangler or Grand Cherokee Trackhawk though, so it seems Jeep is leaving the door open for Scout to move in. Given how well the Wrangler 4xe sells, Jeep of all carmakers should know how much people want their electric off-roaders to be raw.

Update: Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m. ET: A Scout Motors spokesperson informed The Drive that its EVs will not feature fold-down windshields as previously reported by The Verge. This story has been updated to remove references to the absent design feature.

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