Opinion: Here’s the rundown of Volkswagen’s planned electric vehicles, including the mass-market ID.4 and modernized ‘hippie van’

The electrification of the automotive industry is in full swing, and Volkswagen has a smorgasbord of entrants.

With the ID series, the German company has put into motion a plan to launch an entire range of fully electric models. True to its namesake (“people’s car”) and ID’s motto (“electromobility for everyone”), Volkswagen’s VOW3, +0.54% VWAGY, -0.13% ambition is to make electric cars mainstream. Volkswagen says half its sales will consist of battery-electric vehicles by 2030.

The economic and technological backbone for this great transition from ICE (internal combustion engine) to EV (electric vehicle) is Volkswagen’s platform dubbed MEB (Modulare E-Antriebs-Baukasten, or modular electric-drive toolkit) — a set of common components upon which VW EVs are built.

Thomas Ulbrich, a member of the Volkswagen Board of Management for Mobility, called MEB “probably the most important project in Volkswagen’s history — a technological milestone, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf.”

By the end of 2022, four Volkswagen Group brands will be ramping up 27 MEB models worldwide, ranging from compact cars to the lifestyle minivan, Bulli.

Read: All the companies that are making or planning electric vehicles

Thanks to MEB, all vehicles in the ID lineup will feature the unique layout of key components, which will enable a series of innovations such as significantly larger interior space, more optimal weight distribution and handling, and driving range between 200 and more than 340 miles on the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) cycle. All this with decent charging speeds of up to 80% in 30 minutes.

Introduction in 2016

The ID series was premiered at the Paris Motor Show in 2016. That was four years after Tesla TSLA, -0.67% started selling its first mass-produced EV, the Model S. Since then, nine concept cars have been introduced to the public, the latest being ID Life at IAA MOBILITY 2021 in Munich. Several of these concepts have already been converted into production models.

The first was the ID.3, a compact based on the “ID” concept vehicle, which was introduced in 2016 as the forerunner of the series. The recommended price point was 30,000 to 40,000 euros ($34,900 to $46,500). It entered production in 2019; in 2020, 54,495 cars were sold, making it one of the best-selling models in Europe.

Although ID.3 won’t be coming to the U.S., two other vehicles based on the concepts from the series will cross the pond — ID.Buzz (also known as the VW Electric Microbus) and ID. Crozz, an electric crossover.

The latter concept was the basis for what’s today known as ID.4, Volkswagen’s first fully electric crossover SUV, which debuted in September 2020. Dubbed a “car for millions, not millionaires,” with a price tag of $40,000, ID.4 is positioned as a high-volume, mass-market vehicle. Considering its somewhat late rollout, ID.4 still had decent sales: 4.800 cars were sold in 2020, and 27,368 by the end of July 2021, making it highly probable that ID.4 could repeat its predecessor’s success.

ID. Roomzz, which was introduced at the 2019 Shanghai Motor Show, is the next car in the ID concept lineup. The resulting production vehicle, dubbed ID.6, is a Chinese market-exclusive SUV, available in two trims: Crozz and X. The price for the respective trims is between 239,800 yuan ($36,980) and 334,800 yuan ($51,630) after subsidies.

By 2023, Volkswagen will have launched a total of eight ID models in China. With ID.6, the company wants to increase the share of its EVs sold in China to at least 50% by 2030. Even though VW’s public-relations statement makes it clear that “[t]he car is tailored specifically to the needs and wishes of Chinese customers,” there is a possibility that some variant will reach global markets.

The rest of the concept cars in the ID series still don’t have their production counterparts, but the timelines have been set for the most models.

ID.Vizzion concept car, which was introduced in 2018 at the Geneva Motor Show, inspired two production variants: a sedan and a wagon. A wagon version, dubbed ID.Space Vizzion, will have a price tag of around $54,000, while the ID.Vizzion sedan still has no price tag declared. The models are scheduled for 2023, but will lack many advanced features, such as autonomous Level 5 driving.

The idea behind the ID.Vizzion is to show what transportation could look like in 2030; a different, more advanced production-level model will likely be reintroduced later, once all features become available.

‘Hippie van’ reincarnated

ID.Buzz, also known as the VW Electric Microbus, is an electric minivan that recalls the famous “hippie van.” The modernized, updated version for a new digital era was presented at IAA (International Mobility Show) in 2017, and production is scheduled for 2023.

Opinion: Here’s the rundown of Volkswagen’s planned electric vehicles, including the mass-market ID.4 and modernized ‘hippie van’

Just like ID.Vizzion, the updated hippie van will have features including autonomous Level 5 driving that will be implemented in future versions once they become available. VW representatives claim this could be as early as 2025. ID.Buzz will be available in a “Cargo” version with increased cargo capacity and a simplified rear-drive powertrain. The expected price tag is around $40,000.

ID.Life, the small-car segment concept vehicle that was revealed at the International Motor Show IAA MOBILITY 2021 as a compact crossover, is advertised as a forerunner of entry-level electric mobility for Volkswagen. As a part of its electric-vehicle market-domination strategy, VW plans to release the car by 2025. Its price tag of between 20,000 and 25,000 euros makes it an ideal mainstream EV candidate.

The aggressive price point is possible thanks to the MEB platform that unites all vehicles in the ID series. Using the same underlying technology enables the manufacturer to cut costs that come as a result of employing too many customized processes during production. Also, lower prices are enticing to customers with lower buying power. Finally, investing in EV production serves to combat the bad rep caused by the Volkswagen emissions scandal, showing the manufacturer’s remorse and willingness to turn over a new, eco-friendly leaf.

The rest of the ID lineup consists of a buggy and a racing car — ID. Buggy and ID. R. Both vehicles represent a niche offering for which neither the production date nor the launch prices are known or certain. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see the production models if Volkswagen decides to release them.

There you have it. Do you like Volkswagen’s ID lineup? Do you think the German automaker has what it takes to dominate its segment of the EV market? Let me know in the comment section below.