Providing a first look at a revolutionary model that will go on sale in 2020, the Volkswagen I.D. Concept takes the automaker’s zero-emissions design thinking to an entirely different level. Making its global debut in Paris, this all-electric hatchback is the first vehicle to be built around VW’s new purpose-designed MEB – or “Modular Electric Drive” – architecture that will serve as the basis for numerous other EV models in the years to come. More than just a cleaner solution to tomorrow’s travel, the I.D. Concept also is the first Volkswagen to be capable of fully autonomous operation.

Outstanding range and excellent dynamics

Motivation for the Volkswagen I.D Concept is supplied by a 168-horsepower electric motor positioned in the rear of the vehicle that drives its aft wheels via an integrated single-speed transmission. Capable of running from 0-62 mph in less than 8.0 seconds and topping out at 99 mph, it’s fitted with a space-saving high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack integrated into the floor that, depending on capacity, will give the car a per-charge range of between 240 and 373 miles – albeit on the admittedly generous Euro test cycles. With a low center of gravity, long 108.3-inch wheelbase and a 48/52-percent front/rear weight bias, the I.D. Concept – which is roughly 6.0-inches shorter than a Golf – also promises to have excellent driving dynamics. When it comes time to replenish the battery, this VW can handle both plug-in and inductive charging technologies and get an 80-percent electric refill in just 30 minutes.

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Volkswagen’s I.D. Concept wraps its ultra-green drivetrain in bodywork embracing a new design DNA that celebrates its electric character with clean, flowing surfaces, sleek, LED-rich fascia and sill treatments, plus bold flourishes like the absence of a B-pillar and slide-back rear doors. The exterior lighting is multimodal and interactive, providing unique responses to various driving, charging and environmental situations.

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Inside its 4-passenger cabin – which VW has dubbed the “Open Space” -- the I.D. Concept is a study in minimalist future-think that doubles as a multi-purpose lounge where literally any person on board can operate all of the ancillary climate/infotainment system functions via a selection of touch displays, capacitive keyboards and voice/gesture control panels, including individual arrays in each door. The driver – whose system preferences are known to the vehicle thanks to a unique ID profile – controls the I.D. Concept via an adjustable/retractable steering wheel that emerges from the dash. Also on hand are a 10.0-inch Active Info Display, electronic interior e-Mirror and an amazing Augmented Reality Head-up Display.

Full autonomous capability, too 

At the touch of a button, this multifaceted VW can be switched over into fully autonomous “I.D. Pilot” mode, which retracts the steering wheel and raises four roof-mounted laser scanners that work in consort with ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors, side-view cameras and a forward-facing camera. During this time, real-time traffic data is constantly being collected and compared with the vehicle data stored in the cloud. And the driver can return to manual control mode at any time by merely pressing on the brake pedal.  

Volkswagen has set a goal of selling one million electric vehicles per year by 2025. While not sharing all of the details regarding the coming launch of its opening salvo in that effort, it did say a production version of the I.D. Concept will be priced “on a par with comparably powerful and well-equipped Golf models,” and that cars offering “I.D. Pilot” mode should be ready for series production in 2025.

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