At the Paris auto show Volkswagen debuted its I.D. concept car, an all-electric compact built on VW’s brand-new MEB platform that will launch in 2020. We caught up with Volkswagen engineers and product specialists and asked them to tell us a bit more about the all-new I.D.
1. The I.D. will start at less than $30,000 before incentives. VW representatives said it would be priced around Europe’s diesel-powered Golf. Factor in incentives, and the I.D. should be a pretty nifty bargain.
2. There are four radars on the roof. It’s somewhat obvious that these are required so the semi-autonomous and fully autonomous driving features can function properly, but why one at each corner instead of one, bigger radar in the middle of the car? Because ultrasonics can only travel about five feet—whereas as laser can travel about 30 feet—so it’s the safest and most accurate to use this system at this time.
3. This I.D. has 10 battery stacks, but you will able to get I.D. with six or eight stacks. Ten lithium-ion battery stacks are crammed into the I.D.’s floor, but buyers will be able to save a little money by optioning either six or eight battery stacks instead of 10. Obviously that will affect driving range and performance.
4. All-wheel drive is definitely possible. The rear-wheel-drive I.D. has a 168-hp electric motor in the rear, but it would be possible to package a smaller, less powerful motor in front, even with the almost nonexistent overhang.
5. The door setup you see is likely the door setup you’ll get. Since the lower sill of the I.D. is so thick, seeing how the batteries are packaged in the floor, the car is very rigid. By using high-strength steel to construct an O-shaped body, Volkswagen didn’t need to fit the I.D. with B-pillars.
6. The rear seats don’t just fold flat. The seat bottoms also fold up, like the seats in a movie theater—a novel storage solution we don’t typically see in compact cars.
7. Americans probably won’t get the side-view cameras. Volkswagen doesn’t want to put side-view mirrors on the I.D., but it’ll have to if our legislation doesn’t budge. We’ll see how VW lobbies to change that before the I.D. launches in 2020.