Volkswagen’s aggressive rollout of battery-electric vehicles continues ramping up this month with the debut of the new ID.6 model at the Shanghai Auto Show.
The Volkswagen ID.6 will share the same underpinnings as the ID.4 model that recently went on sale in the U.S. but will make room for six passengers in three rows. Two versions are planned, the ID.6 X and ID.6 Crozz, the latter picking up on the theme of the ID.Crozz concept VW introduced in China in April 2017.
Both variants are geared to the Chinese market, though VW insiders have hinted that one model eventually will make it over to the U.S.
VW has big BEV plans
The parent Volkswagen Group has committed more than $80 billion to electrify its line-up. That includes models for all of its various brands, from entry-level Seat and Skoda up to top-of-the-line Bentley. A new partnership with exotic-electric automaker Rimac is expected to yield battery-electric models for Lamborghini and even Bugatti.
The vast majority of the 50-plus battery-electric vehicles the group plans to launch by mid-decade will use the automaker’s modular MEB platform. That skateboard-style architecture permits a variety of different powertrain layouts.
VW has yet to reveal specific numbers, but it is expected the ID.6 variants will follow in line with the smaller ID.4. In the case of the ID.6, the base design should be motivated by a 201-horsepower electric motor driving the rear axle. A dual-motor system, with one on each axle, will produce a reported 302 hp combined.
Picking up on the ID.Crozz concept
The teaser image Volkswagen released suggests the ID.6 gets a more muscular-looking body, with distinctively bulging wheel arches, especially over the back end. This appears to be the ID.6 model, with a relatively squared off roof line. The ID.6 Crozz is expected to get a more coupe-like body style, more in line with the 2017 ID.Crozz concept.
The debut of the ID.6 in China is no surprise considering that market’s increasing focus on BEVs. The Beijing government recently upgraded its New Energy Vehicle targets, manufacturers now expected to have their BEVs and plug-in hybrids account for 25% of total sales by mid-decade.
The U.S. isn’t expected to come close to that number before late decade, though President Joe Biden’s new infrastructure plan aims to charge up the BEV market with $174 billion in spending on things like public charging stations and expanded consumer incentives.
For its part, VW also aims to be a leader in the growing American market. The company signaled the ID.6 may just wind up in U.S. showrooms, though it has also hinted it would be limited to just one version.
Like its competition, VW has ridden the growing wave of the SUV market in the States. That’s why it decided not to bring the little ID.3 hatchback now on sale in Europe to the U.S.
But the ID.4 is still a relatively compact model with seating for five, at best. Considering VW’s success bringing over the conventionally powered Atlas model, it would be a surprise if it didn’t see an opportunity for a three-row BEV, as well.
Is there room in Chattanooga?
Assuming a version of the ID.6 will be introduced in the U.S. that raises the additional question of where it would be produced. The Chinese market will get a locally assembled model and it could be possible to export that — though currently frosty relations between U.S. and China might make VW think twice about that.
One possibility is that VW could turn to its plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The factory is undergoing a major expansion that will see it launch production of the ID.4 in 2023. VW officials already said they subsequently will add a second model there. It remains to be seen if that will be the ID.6.
Still other BEVs targeting the U.S., such as the ID.Buzz microvan, will be imported from Mexico.