Volkswagen is serious about electrification – and when one of the world’s largest car manufacturers invests so much in electric technology, you can tell that the world is finally changing. Up to now, electric cars have either been short-range city hatchbacks or luxury cars – but VW’s I.D. range will offer an electric contender in every significant segment. All will be based on the same, highly-flexible MEB platform, with batteries mounted low and an extended wheelbase giving more passenger space. Either one or two electric motors can be fitted depending on the model and spec.
The I.D. Neo – the name has been trademarked but is yet to be fully confirmed – is a Golf-sized hatchback and it will be the first of the I.D. family to be launched. Scheduled launch date is 2020, and Volkswagen see its significance to the company up there with that of the original Beetle and Golf. The design is striking and modern, with a hint of futuristic Golf about it, while the compact packaging of the batteries and electric motors will give it a spacious and airy interior within the footprint of a family hatchback. A gloss black roof and tailgate will feature on Neo and are intended to be ‘signature’ design features of the I.D family. VW anticipates a range up to 372 miles on a single charge depending on the model chosen. Price will be comparable with a powerful and well-equipped Golf. By 2025, there are plans for the I.D concept car to have fully automated driving on command. The feature will come as a downloadable update for owners of any I.D bought before 2025.
Perhaps the most keenly anticipated of all the new I.D. models, the BUZZ is a modern-day, all-electric evocation of the famed VW Microbus campervan. Electric power suits the van-like body style, creating an open and spacious living space with batteries and motors taking up a much smaller proportion of the space than a petrol or diesel engine powertrain.
The production BUZZ is set for launch in 2022 and will have a range of around 370 miles, with 0-62mph estimated at around 6 seconds from the all-wheel drive’s twin electric motors. Buttons will be kept to a minimum, there will be seating for eight, a touchpad interface will control all infotainment functions and the Intelligent Co-Pilot will enable the BUZZ to assess dangers and keep you safe by anticipating the behaviour of others.
After the hatchback I.D. and the funky BUZZ, expect a sporty all-rounder. The I.D CROZZ is just a concept, but with the popularity of the coupé/SUV crossover sector it’s a fair bet this or something like it will be part of the I.D. range.
It will have the space and versatility of an SUV with the styling cues of a sporty coupé, and as the electric powertrain is so compact this means it can be both sleek outside and spacious inside.
According to Volkswagen the I.D CROZZ can up to 310 miles on a single charge and hit top speeds of 111 mph. With versatile seating, sliding doors and no central B Pillar you will even be able to fit a bike inside.
By the time VIZZION is launched in the mid-2020s, Volkswagen confidently expects a high degree of driving autonomy to be both legal and practical. VIZZION uses inter-connected laser-scanners, ultrasonic and radar sensors to closely monitor the surroundings.
That means there’s no steering wheel, pedals or dash panel, just extra space to sit back and relax. VIZZION will also use swarm intelligence to avoid congestion in both its immediate surroundings and wider environment.
Microsoft HoloLens technology will use augmented reality to make interacting with the car simple and intuitive, while language control means you can alter settings without lifting a finger.
Will an electric Volkswagen be fun to drive? To answer, VW created the I.D. R, a motorsport-oriented single-seater prototype and took it to the famed Pike’s Peak hillclimb in the USA in June 2018. Their aim was to beat the existing electric car record, but they ended up setting an outright record for the climb at 7.57.148, beating the existing record of 8:13.878 set by Sébastien Loeb in a Peugeot 208 T16 and becoming the first vehicle to go under the 8-minute barrier. The effect was seismic; for the first time, enthusiasts could see that electric power could be faster as well cleaner than its combustion engine equivalent.