Volkswagen’s flagship electric car range, what it has labelled its “I.D.” series, now has a leading model: the compact hatch which is internally known as the Neo.
While we have not been able to share much information about it with you prior to this, there are now more details to hand: VW has confirmed it will be offered in three versions, with different ranges.
“We will have three different ranges of I.D. hatchback, to allow for people with different budgets. The entry-level car will have a range of 330km, and it will also have more limited performance,” Christian Senger, who heads the e-Mobility series at VW, told AutoExpress.
He adds that if a buyer is wanting something zippier however, they’ll need to shell out more for a more upmarket version of the I.D.
“If people want a faster car then I don’t want them coming back after three months telling me that it’s fast but that the range is too short. So if you want a fast car, you’ll need a bigger battery – simple.”
The basic version of the I.D. will sport a 48 kWh battery and will cost something close to that of a well-equipped diesel Golf offered – that for around 29,000 euros.
The medium and long-range versions of the I.D. hatch will of course offer incrementally larger batteries, with corresponding ranges – but the battery size of the top range model is not yet pinned down.
“For the mid-spec, we have actually exceeded our target, which was 400km. It’s more than that – closer to 450. And we’re still finalising what the range-topping battery capacity will be,” said Senger.
Given that the I.D. is based on the new modular electric car platform MEB, in which the car’s batteries are placed in the floor, the top range could be substantial – VW has said recently it could offer up to 600 kilometres or more.
In addition to the local emission-free drive and fast acceleration typical of an electric car, the I.D. will offer more space in the interior compared to others in the segment, given the extra room made available by placing the battery in the floor, and a long wheelbase that will make the interior space comparable to that of a VW Passat.
VW says it will use the extra room in front of the dash to install an augmented reality navigational display, and that the I.D. will also be VW’s fully connected vehicle, able to access services through the cloud and have its firmware updated in a manner similar to Tesla.
It even has a space where induction charging technology can be added when it becomes available.
VW has meanwhile rejected the idea of installing identical hardware in all I.D. cars and subsequently having these activated or deactivated by the customers via a smartphone app.
“We did the numbers and it was still too expensive. You can’t just put heated seats in every car and then charge some people for them; the unit cost is too much,” Senger said.
The MEB platform, which was announced last week by the German automaker under a banner befitting its origins – ‘Electric for All’, will be used as the basis for at least 27 EV models across the group’s various brands.
By the end of 2022, four Volkswagen Group brands hopes to launch 27 models worldwide with the MEB platform, and by 2025 the group plans to have 50 EVs on the market in total.
The first wave of these will consist of the I.D. series, the first of which we now know is the I.D. hatch – followed by the electric version of the iconic Kombi, the I.D. Buzz.
According to a spokesperson from VW Australia, these will be rolled out internationally from 2020.
When asked about availability in Australia, The Driven was told, “we expect to introduce our first electric vehicles from the ID family locally once production commences in Europe from 2020. At this stage, we anticipate this to be from 2021 onwards.”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.