Volkswagen moving on from Dieselgate
You may remember that just a few short months ago, Volkswagen, still suffering in the wake of Dieselgate, laid forth its intentions for 20-25 percent of its sales to be composed of electric vehicles by 2025. This would potentially count for up to 3 million electric vehicle sales over the next 9 years, which to many of us sounded just a little bit ambitious. However, we’re now less than 6 months down the road and Volkswagen has announced plans for a new car; something that on the surface at least, seems every bit as avid.
Meet the Volkswagen I.D., introduced in concept form at last week’s annual Paris Motor Show. It certainly caused a bit of a stir among those in attendance, and we can see why. The I.D. is not simply an ‘electric vehicle’, it’s perhaps an important glimpse into the automotive future; a guide to the next destination along this ever-changing electric powered road we’re on.
“Getting back on track”
While unveiling the I.D., Volkswagen boss Herbert Diess spoke further about the future of the German company, detailing some transformations it would pursue in order to reinvent itself as the “leader in sustainable mobility”, and to tackle new rivals such as Tesla and Apple. “VW is facing some quite serious challenges, but we are getting back on track. We are looking to be more profitable and more futureproof. VW is going electric and fully connected. This is a new era for VW. Electric is the new cool.”
Electric is the new cool, but will the production car be?
This all sounds great, but as everyone knows, there’s all too often a largely disappointing disparity in ideology between the concept and the finished product (GM Volt, anyone?). Concept cars are often unveiled with little in the way of solid details, and are designed to create a tornado of hype as much as anything.
So, what do we know about the I.D. so far?
Well, for a start the I.D. is fully autonomous. A three-second touch of the VW logo on the steering wheel causes the wheel to retract, activating the I.D. Pilot system, which makes use of 10 laser-scanners to guide the car through traffic. An “Open Space” cabin will feature zero buttons or switches, as everything can be controlled entirely through voice and gesture commands. The heads-up display (HUD) is of the futuristic augmented reality sort, even making use of the entire windscreen for the display. This incorporates a navigation, information, and entertainment system. If all this isn’t advanced enough, each driver can also set their own ID, allowing their personal and driving information to be stored. It will even connect to their home and somehow allow parcels to be delivered to the car. You know, in case you’ve ever wanted to plan a surprise birthday gift for your ride, obviously.
Promising figures from the VW I.D
Enough of the sci-fi stuff, let’s see what we’ve got that’s a bit more “down to earth” (apologies for the pun). The I.D. will be VW’s first compact car to be based on its Modular Electric Drive kit, and will feature floor-housed lithium-ion batteries which interestingly allow for the I.D. to maintain a similar exterior footprint to the Golf, while also utilising Passat-like interior dimensions. Oh, and for the range; the batteries will supposedly be capable of reaching 360 miles on a single charge, while taking just half an hour to charge to 80%. Pretty neat stuff.
VW is aiming to have the production version ready for sale by 2020, which really isn’t that far away considering what it should be brining to the EV table. Whether or not the I.D. will come to fruition is yet to be seen, but whatever happens, the I.D. really does appear to lay out Volkswagen’s intentions for the coming years.