VW Signs Deals with Partners for Upcoming I.D. Project; Significantly Shortens Production Creation
Shots are about to be fired!by Robert Moore, on
Volkswagen hasn’t exactly fired shots in its massive EV offensive quite yet but, behind the scenes, the automaker is gearing up for war. At the MEB Supplier Summit, Volkswagen signed partnership agreements with “key suppliers,” all of which are now members of a group of more than 100 supplier companies that will provide necessary components for VW’s I.D. project. This major EV offensive will bring to market no less than 20 all-electric models by 2022 while VAG (think brand’s like Audi, Bentley, Porsche, Skoda, and Seat, among others) are expected to collectively launch as many as 32 all-electric models. All of these models will be based on VW’s new MEB architecture, a new platform designed from the ground up for electrified (hybrid) and all-electric cars. Want to know more? Keep reading for details on the first few cars to be presented from this EV offensive.
Volkswagen I.D. Project
There’s no denying that the I.D project is in full swing as we’ve seen a handful of concepts that are all fairly production ready. Production of the first I.D., MEB-based vehicle should start within 100 weeks from the time of this writing, which puts the production kickoff somewhere around mid-October or early-November of 2019 – just enough time for the scheduled launch at the end of 2019. The first model fired off as part of VW’s EV offensive will be a compact electric hatchback that you might remember as the 2016 Volkswagen I.D. Concept that was presented at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. It will be followed by the production version of the I.D. Buzz and production forms of the I.D. Crozz and Crozz II concepts, all of which should be introduced in short intervals from 2020 onward. All models will launch in the Euro, Chinese, and U.S. markets simultaneously. And, to top it all off, VW has managed to shorten the product creation process by as much as 11 months by reducing overall complexity. That means it can deliver new models quickly and precisely. So, let’s take a quick look at the concepts that represent Volkswagen’s electric future.
The I.D. Concept was the first concept created by VW to preview its future electric lineup and, to be honest, it was a bit futuristic. With that in mind, don’t expect it to look too much like the concept you see above. It may look similar on the outside, however, expect the exterior lights and wheels, at the very least, to change. The overall shell should carry over into production as will the front fascia minus a few tweaks here and there. Where the real change will come into play is inside where the production model will lose things like that retractable steering wheel and the dull-looking dash. As is the usual case with concepts turned production models, the interior will see a dash, instrument cluster, and even interior trim that’s more in line with what we see on modern cars now as, apparently, the future has no place in the present. Expect to see a larger touch-screen display in the center stack, with a premium offering potentially linking up with the instrument cluster in a Mercedes-ish type of way under a single pane of glass. The same seats could carry over; however, they’ll be tweaked to comply with safety standard for established at the time of launch. The rear sliding door could carry over but expect there to be a B-pillar between the doors as U.S. safety standards pretty much require it. Finally, don’t expect the handless door operation to find its way to production either, and you’ll most certainly have side-view mirrors.
As far as the drivetrain goes, the concept rocked out a 125-kW electric motor that was good for about 167 horsepower. It’s not much, but most small VW cars don’t come with that much power on tap anyway. The battery, which has yet to be announced or verified go unknown in size but was said to give the concept somewhere around 248 and 372 miles of range – not bad for a compact hatchback. On a side note, it’s quite possible that VW will shove two electric motors under the metal, allowing for an AWD application. The MEB platform allows for it, and that would up the total system output to at least 230 horsepower if not more, allowing VW to provide more powerful options later on after the base model launches.
The model we’ve all be waiting for, but didn’t know it until Volkswagen showed up in at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show with it. It’s an electric van fashioned after the iconic Microbus – God it’s about time this thing graces our presence once again. Its return will be seconded by nothing more than the return of Jesus himself. Long story short, the I.D. Buzz, which should come sometime in 2020, is basically a modern reinterpretation that uses an all-electric drivetrain for motivation. Like the other I.D. models, it is built upon the MEB architecture, but unlike the original I.D hatch, this concept had two motors – one in the front and one in the rear for true AWD capability. In this case, each motor delivers 201 horsepower that’s delivered through an electric driveshaft for a combined system output of 369 horsepower. VW claimed the Buzz could carry on for 600 km or about 372 miles. Of course, when compared to the U.S. driving cycle, those numbers could drop a bit, but expect the production model to carry around 300 miles per charge. Charging should be a breeze with an 80-percent charge coming in as little as 30 minutes when connected to a 150 kW charger system. A conventional outlet can provide charging as well, however, charge times will suffer quite dramatically.
Unlike the original I.D. Concept, the Buzz won’t change too much when it heads into production, but it will see some change to the interior. As of now, the Buzz features a pretty futuristic interior which just isn’t suitable for production at this time. As such, it should receive a more conventional dashboard with a digital instrument cluster. I would expect to see that large tablet-like display to carry over, though, and the passenger seat may still pivot around to allow at least the front passenger to interact with rear passengers. Aside from this, premium models should get improved infotainment systems with rear passengers potentially getting their own large display for television or gaming.
The I.D. Crozz has been shown in two variations. The original boasted a fairly futuristic design that mixed your typical small sedan with an SUV-like stance. It was quite attractive, and the interior was a little more down-to-earth compared to the other I.D. concepts. Just recently, VW decided to “revamp” the Crozz, and aptly called it the Crozz II. Of course, VW didn’t do much, but it did bring the interior a little closer to production which means the interior should carry over practically untouched with the exception of the weird retractable steering wheel. Instead, a digital instrument cluster will sit ahead of a traditional steering wheel. Otherwise, the seats and general trim layout should carry over. Don’t expect the entry to be pillarless, though, unless VW can come up with a way to pass safety regulations without them.
Under the metal is a production-ready drivetrain that VW actually provided specifications for, which means it should carry over to production. The rear end gets a 150 kW motor while the front gets a smaller, 75 kW motor. Total output is rated at 225 kW or just over 300 horsepower at full output. Power is sent from the motors through a pair of gearboxes. An electric propshaft splits that power between the front and rear as needed. Power is supplied to the motors by an 83-kWh battery, with overall range yet to be determined. Expect to production model to deliver somewhere between 300 and 350 miles per charge.
Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ Concept.
Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ II Concept.
Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen I.D. Buzz.
Read our full review on the 2016 Volkswagen I.D. Concept.