Volkswagen’s ID concept car: Electric and – later – autonomous

Volkswagen’s ID concept car: Electric and – later – autonomous

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Under the impact of the ongoing Diesel scandal, Volkswagen is under pressure to present a “green” car. However, the ID does not seem to be a rush job; instead, the development has started quite some time ago, notes market watcher IHS. Thus, the ID’s state of maturity is closer to production than comparable concept cars. Available from 2020, the ID will be Volkswagen’s first product based on the company’s Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), a concept designed for cost-effective yet flexible volume production. This architecture also makes sure the ID is designed from scratch for electromobility. This concept allows for larger batteries which in turn will give the car a driving range of 400 to 600 kilometers despite its relatively powerful motors (125 kW) – a significant advance over current comparable models, but it will be interesting to see how the range of competing models will be grown at the time the ID will be available.


The powertrain is a bit different from today’s approach: Unlike the e-Golf or comparable models, the ID’s electric motor drives the rear axle which, according to VW, will enable more space and flexibility. The battery is placed in the vehicle floor, as usual.

No sticks, no switches, just screens:
The ID will have a rather puristic HMI

The user interface will appear in a rather puristic and simple way, compared to today’s volume models: “No switches, no sticks, just screens” said VW brand manager Herbert Diess at the presentation. All functions will be accessed through “virtual,” context sensitive switches on screens. Just the steering wheel remains  – as long as it is driven manually. Once the automated driving mode will be activated, the wheel is retracted into the dashboard, which increases the space available and the occupant’s freedom of movement. This automated driving mode will be available from 2025 onwards.

The ID will embody several additional digital functions. For instance, parcel delivery services will be able to access its trunk with a digital one-time key to deliver goods. This is a feature currently all the rage; Daimler as well as VW’s sister company Audi also have announced similar capabilities. What might me more interesting is the fact that the conventional car key – even the radio key – will be retired with the introduction of the ID. Owners and  authorized users will open, access and start the car with a smartphone where a digital key can be placed permanently or temporarily. The digital car key also stores the user profile – things like personal seat and climate control settings, contact data for friends and business partners, favorite radio stations, sound settings and playlists. Also the navigation targets will be stored this way. The profile itself is stored in Volkswagen’s Automotive Cloud and can be accessed and updated by the user after proper authorization.

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