Volkswagen plans to bring at least 50 all-electric vehicles to market through its many brands by mid-decade. Some will draw from the automaker’s past, like the VW ID. Buzz that will be the modern incarnation of the classic Volkswagen Microbus. Others are looking into new “white space,” and we got a signal of what that might include at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show with the debut of the ID. Space Vizzion Concept.
Now, it seems, VW has given this “wagon of tomorrow” a go for launch, with production set to begin sometime in 2023. The announcement came through a LinkedIn social media post by VW brand CEO Ralf Brandstatter, who said what is known internally as the “Aero B” concept will be the second all-electric Volkswagen to be built at the automaker’s plant in Emden, Germany. VW has been touting this vehicle since confirming it would be coming during the Geneva Motor Show in 2018.
“As an elegant Shooting Brake, it will be the first electric variant on the market,” the post noted. “It impresses with high-quality interiors and a lot of space: classy and spacious like a Phaeton, along with huge trunk volume. And with 700km a real range hero.”
That would work out to around 435 miles, or about 8% more than the longest-range product that Tesla currently offers – though about 85 miles per charge less than the Model S Plaid that is expected to hit streets in the second half of 2021 and 100 miles per charge less than the extended-range version of the Lucid Aero also set to debut in 2021.
That said, this is likely to be based on the European WLTP test method which is significantly more generous than the EPA test process. More likely, a U.S. rating would be in the mid- to high-300-mile range. Even so, this would indicate the production version of the ID. Space Vizzion would allow substantially more range than the ID.4, the first of the new wave of battery-electric vehicles VW will bring to the American market.
The automaker isn’t providing details but the ID. Space Vizzion concept shown in Los Angeles featured an 82 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery said to yield 590 kilometers, or 366 miles, using the WLTP test cycle.
Based on the extended range promised for the production model, that would suggest the wagon might need at least 100 kWh – though it’s also quite possible VW will offer more than one battery pack option, as is quickly becoming the industry norm.
The “shooting brake,” as the German’s prefer to call wagons, will share the same, underlying platform as the ID.4, Volkswagen’s highly flexible MEB architecture set to underpin the majority of the BEVs it now is developing.
Coming more than two years after the launch of the ID.4 and smaller ID.3 model that recently debuted in Europe, the Space Vizzion will offer “a bit more of everything: more space, more range, more acceleration and more top speed,” according to Brandstatter, “thanks to our continuously improved MEB.”
What that might mean in terms of production remains to be seen. The base, rear-wheel-drive version of the ID.4 will deliver 201 horsepower, a subsequent all-wheel-drive model expected to push that up to 302 hp. But the MEB platform itself is capable of handling significantly more power, according to Volkswagen officials, and the Aero 4/Space Vizzion just might be targeted to performance buyers. Some are speculating the production models could reach 360 hp or more.
How close the production model will be to the concept is far from certain, but some of the more futuristic features likely won’t carry over. The show car featured a minimalist instrument panel with few traditional gauges and controls. Most of the information that normally would appear on the instrument panel instead was projected, seemingly into space, using an augmented reality head-up display, or AR HUD.
Additionally, noted VW, “All information, entertainment, comfort, online functions, and vehicle settings are grouped together on a 15.6-inch touchscreen which appears to hover in mid-air.”
Even seemingly mundane things like the shifter were redesigned in the Space Vizzion concept, the driver using a small switch on the side of the steering column to go from Park to Drive to Neutral and Reverse.
What’s clear is that VW plans to follow through on its aggressive electrification plans. “By 2025 at the latest,” Brandstatter wrote on LinkedIn, “Volkswagen plans to sell a total of more than one million electric cars per year. #WayToZero Emden plays a crucial role on ours!”