VW believes that by 2025 it will be selling 1 million plug-in electric cars a year and that the first step towards that goal starts at the Paris Motor Show and the I.D. concept car, which will go from show car to reality before the end of this decade.
Unveiled in front of the world’s motoring press at a special event ahead of the show proper, the I.D. is, as far as Volkswagen is concerned, what the compact family car of 2020 will look like and, more importantly, what it will offer to mainstream environmentally conscious consumers.
VW claims that on a single charge this car, which is smaller than the current generation Golf on the outside yet has more cabin and storage space on the inside than a Passat, can return a real-world 400-600km.
It is powered solely by a 125kW electric motor — equivalent to 168bhp — and the space saved with this electric powertrain is how VW will be able to offer D segment room in a C-segment car.
Following the dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen has redoubled its efforts to highlight its innovation in green motoring areas. And, this car, which is destined for production alongside the next-generation Golf in just four years’ time, could well help in reversing its brand image in North America.
Yet, it’s worth noting that in its European heartland, where the levels of good faith it has built up with consumers is considerably greater, the company has neither experienced a genuine drop in new car sales over the past 12 months, nor have its used cars decreased in resale value.
It’s also worth adding that though the car is very nearly a production reality, the interior and the autonomous driving capabilities it hints at, including the multi-function steering wheel that retracts entirely into the dashboard when the car is put into full self-driving mode, won’t be coming to market until 2025. But from that date, “I.D Pilot.”, as VW is calling it, will be an option.
Nevertheless, the I.D. is a very bold statement of intent and a foundation for the growth of mainstream electric motoring in the most literal sense. The car is the first to be built on VW’s new Modular Electric Drive platform, a piece of automotive architecture that will cost-effectively support the creation of a host of different sized models.