Volkswagen may have only just kicked off production of the ID.3, its first all-electric car based on the new MEB platform, but that hasn’t stopped it from previewing a new EV concept that could reboot the wagon. The VW ID. SPACE VIZZION will make its public debut at the LA Auto Show later this month, but don’t let the fact that it’s a concept fool you.
It’s the seventh member of the ID. family, following the original ID. hatchback, the ID. CROZZ crossover, the ID. BUZZ electric microbus, the ID. VIZZION luxury sedan, the ID. BUGGY electric dune buggy, and the ID. ROOMZZ three-row SUV. While VW describes them as concepts, in reality they’re thinly-disguised previews of upcoming production cars.
The VW ID., for example, has gone on to become the VW ID.3, production of which kicked off this week in Germany. Around the size of a Golf, the electric car will debut the automaker’s Modular Electric Drive Matrix (MEB) platform to the market when it arrives in dealerships in mid-2020. The US’ first taste of MEB will be in the form of the production version of the ID. CROZZ crossover.
That leaves us mighty intrigued about the ID. SPACE VIZZION. VW describes it as “a wagon of tomorrow” in that it “combines the aerodynamic characteristics of a Gran Turismo with the spaciousness of an SUV.” It’s an intentional shift into a brand new category, the automaker says, rather than previous ID. concepts which have stuck to established segments.
If it could be compared to anything, that’s perhaps Volvo’s Cross Country series of cars. They’re based on the Swedish automaker’s regular wagons, like the V60, but with raised suspension and beefier cladding. While Volvo wagons still struggle – like, indeed, all wagons – in the US, the Cross Country series has managed to carve out a niche among those drivers who want some of the stance of an SUV or crossover, but driving dynamics more in line with a car.
In the case of the ID. SPACE VIZZION, there’s a bold front-end and a swooping roofline. Volkswagen says that’s not only visually appealing but extra-slippery when it comes to wind resistance. Range could be around 300 miles on the EPA cycle, it’s suggested.
Inside, meanwhile, there’s a completely digitized cockpit along with sustainable materials in place of the usual palette of leather and wood. AppleSkin artificial leather, for example, is made in part from residual matter from apple juice production. There’s seating for five, and a sizable touchscreen in the center console – reminiscent, it has to be said, of that of the Tesla Model 3 – with embedded driver instrumentation in an slender panel behind the steering wheel.
What’s particularly interesting is that Volkswagen is upfront about its plans for the concept. “The ID. SPACE VIZZION is a study for the future, but not a dream,” the automaker insists. “The production version will be released in late 2021, and will come in different versions for North America, Europe and China.”
That leaves plenty of time to settle some of the unknowns. The MEB platform offers no shortage of flexibility when it comes to drivetrain, accommodating one or more electric motors for front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive in different configurations.