Volkswagen’s first I.D. car, the Golf-sized hatchback expected to open the floodgates for the automaker’s new all-electric range, will keep most of its concept glamor the company has insisted. Shown off in concept form at the Paris Auto Show back in 2016, the VW I.D. introduced not only the I.D. brand – which has since grown to a number of models – but the next step in the automaker’s post-dieselgate mea culpa.
VW wasn’t shy in making promises, either. The I.D. was billed as being around the same size as the Golf, but built on Volkswagen’s new Module Electric Drive Kit, or MEB, platform. It’s the automaker’s highly flexible architecture for all-electric vehicles, capable of supporting two or four driven wheels, with multiple battery and motor configurations.
Most surprising of all, though, was VW’s promise that the I.D. was actually earmarked for production. In fact, the automaker said, it aimed to have the car on the road by 2019, the first of a growing I.D. family in dealerships. The big question was, just how close to the I.D. concept would the I.D. production car get?
Turns out, according to VW’s design chief Klaus Bischoff, the answer is pretty darn close indeed. “The proportions, the design cues and the wheel size are the same as the concept,” he told Autocar. “It looks like the show car.”
That means a dramatically short front overhang, and a rear-mounted motor system. We’re expecting around 168 horsepower from the single electric motor, while VW has previously said it expects the car to get potentially 370 miles or more on a single charge. It’s easily possible that VW could offer multiple variants of the hatchback, differentiated with varying range abilities much in the same way that Tesla offers the Model 3.
However, VW maintains that it will seriously undercut the Model 3, with today’s report suggesting the production I.D. will cost roughly the same as a diesel Golf might. It’s not 100-percent good news, mind. Some of the show car’s more fanciful detailing won’t make it to the production I.D., Bischoff admitted.
“We couldn’t do the camera-system rear-view mirrors for legal reasons, nor the electric door handles due to cost,” he explained, citing two of the more common concept design flourishes which seldom make it to road-going vehicles. “But other than that, it’s pretty much the same.”
VW hasn’t said whether it plans to bring the I.D. hatchback to the US. Instead, the first of the new EV family to make it to North America is expected to be the VW I.D. CROZZ, a crossover that’s also based on the MEB platform but which has the upright driving position that American drivers are so taken by. It’ll be followed by the I.D. BUZZ electric Microbus, among other models.