Volkswagen is accelerating its push into the all-electric market as it prepares to bring dozens of different models to market by mid-decade, and that includes a production version of the ID. Space Vizzion concept it will debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month.
Make that “versions,” plural, as it appears that the concept is a somewhat amorphous design, the German automaker explaining that when it starts rolling down the assembly line “in late 2021, (it) will come in different versions for North American, Europe and China.”
And, by then, it will join other new VW-badged battery-electric vehicles to include the ID.3 hatchback targeting Europe and the ID.4 that will be the marque’s first U.S. BEV.
(VW’s U.S. CEO has seen the future, and it’s all about SUVs and BEVs.)
Like the new VW ID.3 hatchback officially unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September, the ID. Space Vizzion is based upon the new Modular Electric Drive Matrix, or MEB, platform that will be used for dozens of future products. In production, it eventually may wind up getting a less fanciful nameplate, much like the ID.3.
“So far, with our ID. family, we have shown what is possible with electric vehicles in each known car category,” said Klaus Bischoff, Head of Volkswagen Design. “With the ID. SPACE VIZZION we create a new, fully electric segment.”
The L.A. show car, based on the new renderings, is more wagon than crossover but, considering global sales trends, it likely will position it more as a CUV, particularly with the version bound for the States.
Images of the interior show four captain’s chairs in the Space Vizzion’s cabin, with a broad center console running deep into the vehicle. There are two large screens, one for the gauge cluster, the other for infotainment, and they appear to largely replace conventional analog instruments and controls.
(First Look: 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport)
The automaker, reflecting a growing industry trend, says the concept opts for “a vegan alternative to leather,” a sustainable material it is calling AppleSkin.
As for drivetrain technology, not much is being said beyond noting its “aerodynamic exterior design helps reach range of up to 300 miles,” according to a statement. We know that the MEB platform can handle front, rear or all-wheel-drive layouts.
The L.A. unveiling comes at a significant time for Volkswagen. The parent company has plans to bring out close to 50 all-electric models through its dozen brands by 2025. That includes products like the Audi e-tron that is already on sale in the U.S. and other markets, as well as the Porsche Taycan that debuted recently – and which will roll into showrooms next year. But the largest array of all-electric models will carry the recently modified VW brand logo.
(Hyundai set to nearly triple eco-focused line-up of hybrids, BEVs, fuel-cell vehicles by 2022)
The “people’s car” division just this week officially completed the transformation of its plant in Zwickau, Germany from producing gas and diesel models to all-electric offerings, the ID.3 now rolling down the line in limited numbers.
Over the next few years it will follow up by converting three other plants in Germany, one in the Czech Republic and two in China. VW also plans to erect an all-new BEV factory near Shanghai and it will add the capacity to produce electric vehicles both at its Mexican assembly complex as well as the factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee currently producing its Atlas SUV and Passat sedan.
The ID.4 SUV initially will be imported into the States but production will shift to Chattanooga a couple years later, according to Scott Keogh, the CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. The automaker will build a second all-electric model at the plant after it completes an $800 million expansion, but has not yet announced what that model will be. Meanwhile, the Mexican operation will export the ID Buzz, the modern, all-electric take on the classic VW Microbus.