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Volkswagen used the Munich Motor Show to preview its next affordable electric car with a new concept. Called Volkswagen ID. Life, it’s designed to sit below the ID.3 in the brand’s EV lineup and as a result it’s almost certain to pick up the ID.1 or ID.2 badge when it gets to the middle of this decade.
VW had originally expected the vehicle to appear by 2023, leading a project called MEB Entry, but the challenges of creating a small EV platform that would be able to support a car costing as little as 20,000 euros ( £17,000) proved complex enough to push the on-sale date to 2025. VW boss Ralf Brandstatter also said at the Munich reveal that the concept would cost “between 20,000 and 25,000 euros” , a hint that it could still miss its initial price target.
VW teased a hatchback design for its baby ID model a few years ago – but the concept for the vehicle has reportedly been heavily revised under the marque’s latest design boss, former Skoda and BMW man Jozef Kaban.
The identity. Life is halfway between a city car and a baby SUV, and VW describes it as a crossover. It typically has short front and rear overhangs and a five-door layout – plus it uses innovative materials in its construction. The roof and hood are made of an air-filled fabric that attaches to the vehicle via zippers, which VW says allows the roof to be easily removed, leaving only a crossbar for a one-to-one experience. targa-style open roof.
The concept also makes extensive use of sustainable materials. The clear paint finish is made from wood chips, along with an organic hardener. The textile used in the roof and hood of the inner tube is produced entirely from recycled plastic bottles, and the cabin features wood on the dashboard and eco-velvet on the seats and upholstery. carries. Substances used for tires include bio-oil, natural rubber and rice husks.
The overall look is chunky, but the headlight and taillight graphics are friendlier – almost cute, in reference to the original VW Beetle. VW CEO Ralf Brandstatter described the car as “VW for a young generation”. The car is 4,091mm long – around four centimeters longer than a VW Polo – but has a wheelbase of 2,650mm, around 10cm longer than that of conventionally powered superminis.
The concept has a 231hp, 290Nm electric motor on the front axle, delivering a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds. VW says the battery capacity is 54 kWh, providing up to 248 miles of range under the WLTP test cycle. It is extremely likely that these numbers will be recalled for the cheaper versions of the ID.1 or ID.2, but the models will feature fast charging. VW says ID. Life can add up to 100 miles of range in 10 minutes.
Inside, two fold-down bench seats offer several fittings. The concept includes a retractable projection screen that would allow occupants to watch movies and play video games while the car is parked. More tangible features include side cameras instead of exterior mirrors, a nine-inch display in the upper dash, and door pockets with built-in wireless charging capability for smartphones.
The standard boot capacity is 225 litres, with an additional 108 liters of space under the floor and another 68-litre compartment under the bonnet. There’s also an eight-litre storage section up front, designed to accommodate the charging cable.
The production version of the ID. Life is almost certain to be produced alongside sister vehicles from SEAT and Skoda in a Spanish factory, probably in Barcelona. VW has already confirmed that the southern European country will be the base for localized battery production.
Q&A with Jozef Kaban
Head of Volkswagen Design
Q: What is the thing that really matters to you when it comes to designing sustainable mobility?
A: The most important thing is that we love cars. We even love them in the future; they will change, but in a positive way. This is the biggest challenge we have.
Q: What vehicles did you take as inspiration for the ID. The life?
A: We looked at the Golf, the T1 (VW motorhome); we even looked at the Type 181 (a boxy convertible sold as the Trekker in the UK). This car may not offer the best aesthetics but a good experience.
Q: So what do you think you achieved?
A: I think the ID. Life has its own character, and VW is always looking for that. The design is very clean, with almost no finicky details that can get old. Everything is built around simple shapes, straight lines, etc. The color distribution gives the car a nice character on the outside, but also on the inside.
Q: Tell us more about the cabin. What is the thought there?
A: It is a compact car, but there is no compromise on packaging; this car offers many possibilities. The seats have many variations; you can even adjust it to make a bed, so you can go on a trip, have your adventure and then sleep in the car. Additionally, there is the option to game, stream, socialize with your friends; it is important that the younger generation loves cars even more.
Q: Will the production car be like this?
A: Well, we’ve already said that we’re planning a similar sized car to this. Everything is possible.
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