Volkswagen has rolled out the fourth in a series of concept vehicles meant to preview the all-electric I.D. family it will launch by the end of this decade and, as with earlier models like the Crozz and Buzz, you can expect to see the big I.D. Vizzion sedan roll into showrooms “by 2022 at the latest,” the automaker said, at the big sedan’s official Geneva Motor Show debut.
Something of a battery-electric replacement for the VW brand’s old flagship, the Phaeton, the I.D. Vizzion concept offers a range of cutting-edge technologies, as well as an interior that can be transformed into a mobile living room when operating in fully autonomous mode.
“The I.D. VIZZION shows what our brand is capable of in terms of technology, design and quality,” said VW brand boss Herbert Diess, during a showcase of new products by the various marques operated by the parent Volkswagen Group. “ It is the most personal, most emotional and most individual Volkswagen of all times. And it also shows that, even in the electric, self-driving future, we will be using desirable, expressive and individual automobiles – and not just uniform tin boxes.”
That last comment clearly seems addressed at some of the concepts competitors have been rolling out in recent months, such as the toaster-shaped Toyota Palette that debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. (But VW also has shown a self-driving box of its own, the Sedric concept that would be targeted at ride-sharing fleets.)
(VW confirms plans for I.D. Crozz electric SUV. Click Here to check it out.)
Long heavily dependent upon diesel technology, VW has done a sharp about-face since acknowledging it rigged several diesel engines to illegally pass emissions tests several years ago. Last November its supervisory board signed off on plans to electrify its entire line-up, at an estimated cost of 70 billion euros, or $82.5 billion. That will include a mix of hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles. A number of those BEVs will specifically be sold through a new sub-brand dubbed I.D., and will include a production version of the Buzz, a modern-day take on the classic Volkswagen Microbus.
The Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion is a large and luxurious coupe-like sedan, clearly indicating that the German maker isn’t set to banish entirely traditional passenger car designs. That said, the show car isn’t just an everyday sedan. In concept form, at least, it drops the B-pillars between front and rear doors to make it easier to climb in and out of its spacious interior. Indeed, because the batteries and key electric drivetrain components are mounted under the load floor, the Vizzion offers even more cabin space than its exterior would suggest.
Meanwhile, designed to show what a fully autonomous vehicle might be like, the cabin is extremely flexible. In self-driving mode the seats could swivel to transform the car into a sort of mobile living room.
Whether the B-pillarless design makes it into production is uncertain, as it poses significant challenges for meeting crash safety standards. And, at least initially, the real-world version will likely have limited autonomous capabilities, with the normal set of driver controls — though VW plans to eventually allow it drive completely without human intervention as self-driving technology improves.
Other unusual features built into the I.D. Vizzion concept include an OLED display system built into the rear window, and a matrix of LED lights embedded in its grille. That would allow the car to communicate with human drivers and pedestrians when it’s operating in driverless mode.
(VW Arteon makes American debut. Click Here for the story.)
As for Vizzion’s driveline, the concept features a 111 kilowatt-hour battery pack, about 11% bigger than what Tesla currently uses in its Model S P100D sedan. That would give the VW model an estimated range of around 413 miles on the European test cycle – the EPA test system typically about 25% less.
Such a battery would need about 10 hours to fully recharge on a Level 2 240-volt charger. But while the automaker isn’t revealing its plans, sibling Porsche brand last week revealed its Mission E electric sports car will be able to use new Level 4 charging systems yielding more than 200 miles in range in less than 30 minutes.
The battery powers a 75 kW motor on the front axle, a 150 kW motor driving the rear wheels. That works out to around 302 hp, so that would make the I.D. Vizzion reasonably quick, if not up to Tesla’s Ludicrous Mode.
If VW holds to its current schedule, it will launch the base I.D. hatchback in 2020, followed the next year by the I.D. Crozz SUV and I.D. Buzz microbus. The company hopes to be selling 1 million electric vehicles through I.D. and its more mainstream line-up by 2025.
(Diesel crisis may have been just what VW needed to spur change, says U.S. boss. Click Here for the story.)