A week after offering us a shadowy sneak peek, Volkswagen is spotlighting its new ID.6 battery-electric SUV to help kick off this year’s Shanghai Auto Show.
The Volkswagen ID.6 is the German automaker’s latest all-electric model and, at least for now, its first “made exclusively” for the Chinese market, the company said. Two versions of the crossover will be produced and there continues to be speculation that one might yet find its way to the United States.
“For the ID.6, out aim from the start was to create the optimal experience for our Chinese customers, with a ‘lounge on wheels ‘(offering) a smooth, relaxed ride that is comfortable and safe,” said Stephan Wollenstein, CEO of Volkswagen Brand China.
A common platform, but significant differences
The three-row ID.6 is based on the original VW ID.Crozz concept Volkswagen introduced in in China in April 2017. In turn, the production versions will share the same underlying modular architecture, dubbed the MEB, with the ID.3 battery hatchback launched in Europe last year, as well as the ID.4 just going on sale in the States.
All told, the parent Volkswagen Group intends to spend more than $80 billion to electrify its various brands by mid-decade with at least 50 BEVs in the works. They will be sold through all of its passenger car brands, from entry-level Skoda up to exclusive Bentley. Sibling Audi is launching three new battery cars in Shanghai this week, including two versions of the Q4 e-tron.
The MEB platform will underpin the vast majority of the electric offerings, but it offers significant flexibility in its final dimensions. The ID.6 has been stretched about 12 inches, compared to the two-row ID.4, to 192 inches overall, allowing the addition of the third row. Both six- and seven-seat interiors will be available.
Two versions will be available
The two versions of the MEB tone down the lines of the original show car, though the ID.6 Crozz will maintain its more aggressive stance, the ID.6 X opting for a bit more conservative, family-oriented styling.
Both feature a sleekly tapered roofline flowing back towards a high-mounted rear spoiler, steps meant to enhance their aerodynamics and improve both range and performance.
To help distinguish them from conventional VW crossovers, it turned to a distinct visual signature. “With light being the new chrome, the illuminated logos on the front and rear make the ID.6 unmistakable on the roads of China,” it said in a statement accompanying the unveiling.
A digital interior
Like the new ID.4, the Chinese EV will minimize the number of conventional knobs and switches in its interior and rely on both a floating digital gauge cluster and a large infotainment touchscreen. There’s also an optional Augmented Reality head-up display that projects arrows and other information onto the road ahead to make it easier to navigate to a destination.
Other smart features, said VW, “include the ID. Light,” which communicates visually, for example, by accentuating information issued by the driver assist or navigation systems, or by indicating incoming calls.
The base ID.6 draws power from a single electric motor mounted on the rear axle. It makes 132 kilowatts, or 177 horsepower, and can launch from 0 to 60 in 9.3 seconds. Chinese customers also will have an optional 150 kW, or 201 hp, upgrade that can trim launch times to 9.1 seconds.
A dual-motor version, creating a through-the-road all-wheel-drive system, will make 225 kW, or 302 hp, and make it to 60 in 6.6 seconds. All versions will have an electronically limited top speed of 160 kmh, or 100 mph.
Extended range available
Two lithium-ion battery packs will be offered, the largest delivering up to 580 kilometers, or 360 miles, of range using the NEDC test cycle. That would likely drop down to around 300 miles using the tougher EPA test cycle.
In a curious move, Volkswagen will split up production of the two electric versions of the SUV. The ID.6 Crozz will be assembled by the German marque’s Chinese partner FAW. The ID.6 X will roll out of a joint venture plant shared with SAIC.
All told, VW expects to have at least eight BEVs on sale in China by the end of 2023. The Beijing government is pressing manufacturers to speed up the shift to electric propulsion, calling for 25% of a brand’s sales to come from either plug-ins or all-electric models by 2025. Regulators reportedly are considering going further and setting a timetable to go 100% BEV.