Volkswagen has presented a sequel to the radical I.D Crozz electric crossover concept it premiered this past April in Shanghai — both of which preview the production car that’ll go on sale, with a range of up to 500km, in 2020.
This 4.6-metre long (bigger than a Tiguan) coupe crossover will go on-sale at the same time as the $40k VW Golf-sized I.D EV, and two years ahead of the I.D Buzz zero-emission van, a modern take on the famous Bulli/Kombi.
Imaginatively called the I.D Crozz II, the red-painted concept adds some design muscularity, with new 21-inch alloy wheels, new LED headlights and tweaked frontal design, gesture-controlled sunroof and lighting, and a slicker new voice interaction system.
Using this system, natural voice commands can be used to open or close all doors and to activate or deactivate the fully autonomous laser-guided 'I.D. Pilot' driving mode (something you can also do by pushing the VW logo on the steering wheel for three seconds). Voice control is activated by saying “hello I.D”, combined with a command.
The I.D Crozz is based on Volkswagen’s new modular MEB architecture designed just for electric cars, which will account for a targeted one million sales from the brand — and three-million from the wider VW Group as a whole — by 2025.
The compact electric drive system and integration of the lithium-ion battery into the vehicle floor free up space to give the cabin what VW reckons is “a flexible, lounge-like spatial concept that offers a superior amount of room”.
Integrated in the middle of the instrument panel is a 10.2-inch tablet – an infotainment system with an individually configurable home screen. Its layout can be personalised via four different function tiles, such as 'Messages', 'Media', 'Telephone' and ‘Navigation’.
The driver receives all data relevant to driving, such as speed and visual navigation instructions, via an augmented reality head-up display, while a 5.8-inch Active Info Display shows visual information to the driver too.
Meanwhile, where the interior rear-view mirror used to be there is now a system VW predictably calls the e-Mirror. A monitor here merges the data from the three external cameras. The images are transmitted from the exterior mirror cameras mounted in the left and right-hand sides of the car body and from a rear-facing camera.
Information and controls that have previously only been available to the driver and front passenger are now available to rear-seat passengers too – thanks to digital door panels. These white, semi-transparent control islands are ergonomically located in the trim of the four doors, where they appear to hover in mid- air.
The rather clumsily-named I.D Crozz II has an electric 4Motion all-wheel drive system where the front and rear axles each have one working motor, with torque distribution between them controlled via an 'electric propshaft'.
The system power output is a claimed 225kW — at the rear axle the work is done by a compact 150kW motor, while at the front there is a 75 kW coaxial drive — and the top speed is 180 km/h. Volkswagen claims that using a fast-charging system with a power output of 150 kW (DC) will let you charge the battery to 80 per cent within 30 minutes.
In most driving situations, the rear axle provides forward propulsion, but said 'electric propshaft' redistributes the power between the front and rear axles in fractions of a second. In addition, the I.D Crozz can be constantly driven in an all-wheel drive mode, on off-road trails or snow, for instance.
An ideal distribution of weight between the two axles has been achieved by integrating the battery centrally and locating the two drive system units at the front and rear. The ratio is 48 per cent (front) to 52 per cent (rear).
“This gives the I.D Crozz II handling properties on the same level as a Golf GTI,” Volkswagen boldly suggests.
The running gear has electronic damping control and newly designed multi-link rear suspension and MacPherson front suspension – each equipped with an integrated drive system and a decoupled subframe.
Ahead of the reveal of the I.D Crozz, the boss of the Volkswagen Group globally, Matthias Mueller (above), discussed its EV plans. Dieselgate clearly hastened this huge corporate shift.
"By 2030 there will be an electrified version of all 300 VW Group models sold around the world. By 2025 we will sell three million units [of EVs] annually. We're sending clear signals to suppliers and politicians. And customers.
"Volkswagen is going to lead the way to the future. A breakthrough won't be achieved by self-proclaimed pioneers, but those who put the tech on the road in relevant numbers... a group that sells 10 million cars every year in all segments and all regions.
"2030 is basically the day after tomorrow, which means we are going to pick up the pace. With our road map we are going to redefine our priorities.
"By 2030 we will make more than 20 billion euros available on vehicles that will be based on two newly-engineered EV platforms, in factories, in charging infrastructure, and sales and marketing.
"We have issued an invitation to tender for strategic partnerships in China, the US and Europe. It's one of the highest procurements in history. The term-of-project investment is 50 billion euros. MEB is the key.
"Then we have the next generation which is the solid-state battery with 1000km ranges.
"Electro-mobility is still in its infancy, there are many unanswered questions about raw materials, infrastructure and battery recycling... for us the former and latter are inseparable, and creating infrastructures will be critical to success. China and California are leading the way.
"In Germany much more needs to be done, and only then will EVs come out of their niche.
"That's what it's all about. It's a joint effort and everyone needs to make their contribution - the energy industry, auto industry and politicians.
"We still need IC as a bridge toward the zero emission era. They're not opponents, by selling vehicles of today were are making the money to afford the vehicles of the future.
"... ask us hard questions. We welcome them."