The Volkswagen I.D. concept car revealed at the Paris motor show this morning is as significant for the German brand as the original Beetle and Golf, the company claims.
The huge electric push comes as Volkswagen re-positions its brand in the wake of the diesel scandal, and sets itself on a course to be the global electric car leader by 2025, by which time it wants to sell one million EVs per year.
Remarkably, the production I.D. hatch is expected to cost the same as a diesel Golf (around $35,000) when it hits the road in 2020, and will offer a claimed electric range of 600km. The beginning of EVs becoming properly mainstream is clearly here.
The German brand also claims the production I.D. will be a similar size to a Golf hatch but will offer vastly more space (on a level with the Passat) thanks to the location of the batteries on the floor and the compact size of its 125kW electric motor mounted on the rear axle.
Yes, the I.D. is a rear-engined model, just like the original Beetle. Back to the future, indeed.
The I.D. is also the first Volkswagen concept car to be fully autonomous in the "I.D. Pilot" mode, activated by touching the VW logo on the steering wheel, which then disappears into the instrument panel.
The conventional car key has been retired in the I.D. concept. Instead, a smartphone will be used as a "Digital Key" to open the car and enable the vehicle to start. In the near future, individuals who drive a Volkswagen will get their own "Volkswagen ID”, the company claims.
This ID is an individual profile that stores such information as personal seat and climate control settings, favourite radio stations and play lists, settings of the sound system, contact data for friends and business partners and the navigation system configuration. This profile is called up via the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud.
Volkswagen I.D. key facts:
- I.D.. is the first Volkswagen in a completely new fleet of highly innovative electric vehicles.
- I.D.. is immediately recognisable as a zero-emission vehicle thanks to a newly developed design DNA for electric cars.
- I.D.. is driven by an electric motor with an output of 125 kW and has a range of between 400 and 600 kilometres on a single battery charge.
- I.D.. has an interior that offers an entirely new spatial experience.
- I.D.. will be launched as a compact electric car in 2020 parallel to the Golf.
- As a concept car, I.D.. gives us a first tangible glimpse of fully automated driving – this mode will be offered from 2025 onwards.
- I.D.. retracts its multifunction steering wheel into the dashpad when in fully automated mode ("I.D.. Pilot").
- I.D.. can receive parcels using a new delivery service, if its owner isn't at home.
- I.D.. is the first compact Volkswagen based on the Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB).
- Volkswagen has set itself the goal of selling a million electric cars a year by 2025