VW ID.2 & ID.3 set to replace the Polo & Golf in electric-only markets [Update]

Sales of Volkswagen’s iconic models that run on conventional gasoline technology like the Polo, Golf and Passat would not continue in the future in markets that ban ICE vehicles. Volkswagen is not looking to strap electric motors and batteries to comply with government regulations. The brand would sell equivalent vehicles from the ID family.

Talking to Auto Express in May 2020, Jürgen Stackmannn, former Member of the Board of Management Volkswagen Passenger Cars for Sales, Marketing and After Sales, provided details. He said that models like the Golf will not be selling alongside ID range of electric cars in the electric-only future. In places like the United Kingdom, where new ICE cars are banned from 2030, VW will not make models like Golf and Polo to comply. However, in regions like Asia and Africa, which are behind the curve in adopting electric cars, the two powertrains would run concurrently.

VW ID.2 – Polo class car to release in 2025

VW ID.2 confirmation (Entry ID.s for everyone)
In her presentation, Silke Bagschik, Head of Sales and Marketing (ID. Family), Volkswagen, confirmed plans for the VW ID.1 and ID.2 on 15 September, 2020. Image Source: Volkswagen Group

2025 would be the year the VW ID.2 arrives in the marketplace. Battery costs would reach a level in the next four years for Volkswagen to give the green signal for electrifying the base segment, which currently comprises the Polo and the T-Cross. Volkswagen Group is also developing a low-cost architecture, led by group brand SEAT, to support base electric cars, discussed later in the story.

VW Small BEV 2025 launch VW ID.2
The ‘Small BEV’ concept was teased at the VW Way to Zero Convention on April 29. Image: Volkswagen News/YouTube

At the Volkswagen Way To Zero Convention on April 29, 2021, Ralf Brandstatter, CEO of the Volkswagen Brand, mentioned that a Small BEV would arrive in 2025. “Our small electric Volkswagen for the entry-level segment will follow in 2025,” he said. “All these models are based on the MEB, our e-mobility platform,” he added, referring to the complete ID. carline. A common speculation in the media was that he was talking about the VW ID.2

In June 2021, Thomas Ulrich, BoM member for Development, Volkswagen, revealed at a presentation in Amsterdam that the VW Small BEV, which media reports refer to as VW ID.2, will have an SUV-like body. Furthermore, Ulrich revealed the first teaser of the purported VW ID.2, along with a target base price of under EUR 25,000. Ulrich was presenting Volkswagen’s plan at the Move Experience Center in Amsterdam where the ID.4 GTX was shown to the media. This was brought to our attention by our supporter Roland Tameling who mailed a picture of the slide (you can follow him on Instagram)

VW ID.2 teaser image cropped
The base VW ID.2 will cost between EUR 20,000 – 25,000 and promises to democratize electric vehicles in the European market. The image was mailed by our supporter Roland Tameling.

In an interview with Germany’s Auto Bild in February, Brandstatter said that the company might unveil a new EV (presumably in a concept version) that costs around EUR 20,000 at the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021) in September. There’s a wide gap between the prices, but it is still possible that he talked about the same model. Like Seat, maybe Volkswagen wants to price the base ID.2 between EUR 20,000 and 25,000 but is yet to determine which amount is closer to the number it can achieve.

Our trade fair star could be a vision for an electric car that does not yet exist. Around 20,000 euros, compact, with features that you would not expect in this class.

Ralf Brandstatter, CEO, Volkswagen, on the company’s IAA 2021 model plan

The teaser shows a typically smart-looking European small SUV with a floating roofline, sleek greenhouse, and raked rear windscreen. Moreover, we can see the ID.2 taking advantage of the bespoke EV platform with a noticeably short hood compared to the VW T-Cross and VW T-Roc.

Expect the length at around 4.1m, but thanks to the skateboard platform and cab-forward proportion, space for passengers and luggage is likely to be higher than a comparable combustion model, say on the MQB architecture.

Battery & Specifications

The ID.2’s battery pack could be about 35 kWh to meet the usage and the price expectations of city car users. The driving range may not exceed 250 km for a charge, enough to complete a week’s worth of driving in the city for most car users. Like currently, VW could offer a bigger battery to users needing more range.

Volkswagen Group had revealed at the Power Day event in March 2020 that it plans to start using unified cell technology for the battery system of its EVs from 2023. The company confirmed that the chemistry of its unified cells would vary as per the segments. For the entry-level cars, it plans to use Iron Phosphate chemistry.

“We do have an entry chemistry with Iron Phosphate,” said Frank Blome, Head of Battery Cell and System, Volkswagen Group Components. “In our entry segment, the unified cell will bring down battery cost by 50% compared to today,” said Herbert Diess, CEO, Volkswagen Group. VW’s unified cell tech utilizes the same physical pack formats, with just different chemistries. This would make designing future electric cars less expensive and time-consuming.

Blome admitted that switching to LFP chemistry has “a slight range disadvantage,” but it comes without any Cobalt, Nickel, and Manganese and is a very robust technology. The cycle stability is very good, which means it is suitable for cars with a low range.

Volkswagen Group LFP battery cost advantage
Volkswagen Group aims to achieve a 50% cost advantage by using LFP chemistry in the entry segment models like the VW ID.2. Image Source: YouTube/Volkswagen Group

Unified cell basically means an overall similar format or design for all the EV battery cells, but with different chemistry inside. “With this concept, we are really able to put 80% of a unified cell in our cars,” said Thomas Schmall, Board Member – Technology, Volkswagen Group, at the Power Day event. This 80% level will be achieved by 2030.

We will put battery in the middle of the heart of our development of cars. This is the major cost point in the EV world. If we have the volume, and we will roll it out, we need (to) put it in the middle, in the centre of our cars, and then defining the cars around the battery.

Thomas Schmall, Board Member – Technology, Volkswagen Group (Power Day)

Reports say that Guoxuan High-tech is considering making LFP and NMC batteries for Volkswagen Group’s MEB cars. The former (Lithium Iron Phosphate) chemistry has proven to be inexpensive and safe. If the issues related to its performance in low temperatures are resolved, it is an ideal option for entry-level cars. The German conglomerate owns a 26.5% stake in the Chinese battery maker.

Production

Volkswagen Group has not talked about the VW ID.2’s production site, but we think it’s Seat’s Martorell factory (Spain), the possible production hub for all MEB entry models, not excluding the VW ID.1.

Volkswagen Group sees Spain as a potential strategic pillar of its transition to EVs. The company plans to participate in the country’s PERTE project and base its budget EV project in the country. A whole “Small BEV Family” could roll out of the Seat Martorell plant come 2025. Their components and the cells of the battery packs could also be of Spanish origin.

Spain could get Volkswagen Group’s third battery cell plant in Europe after Germany (in Salzgitter) and Sweden (in Skelleftea). This could be a gigafactory with the potential to ramp up production to 40-gigawatt hours annually by 2030. “We are willing to establish the entire value chain of e-mobility in the country – electric vehicle production, electric car components, a Group-new cell factory,” Diess said on 13 July 2021.

SEAT urban electric car to arrive before ID.2

The VW Group says that the proportion of electric and hybrid cars it sells in Europe would move up to 60 per cent from the previously announced 40 per cent by 2030 as EU’s CO2 targets get more stringent. It is investing more than half of the planned 73 billion euros ($86 billion) through 2025 on battery electric vehicles, it said on 13 November 2020.

The MEB entry or MEB lite platform will underpin the VW ID.2, and basically, every A- and B-segment electric car Volkswagen Group introduces this decade. The German conglomerate has assigned the development of the platform to SEAT. When AutoExpress, asked Axel Andorff, VP – R&D, SEAT, about the Spanish company leading the project, he said:

Yes, we have a team working on it now. What we already know is that just a little improvement of the main MEB platform on costs and so on will not be sufficient for what we need for a small electric car.

Axel Andorff, VP – R&D, SEAT brand
Seat urban electric car teaser
The SEAT urban electric car, like the VW ID.2, will belong to the B-segment. Image Source: SEAT

With SEAT in the ‘driver seat’ of the MEB entry platform development, its electric supermini would understandably arrive before the VW ID.2 or the equivalent Skoda model. The company confirmed on 22 March 2021 that it plans to launch an urban electric car in 2025 and position it in the price segment of €20,000-25,000.

VW ID.3 succeeds the e-Golf

Volkswagen’s fully-electric Golf, the e-Golf, was discontinued in late 2020 following the launch of the ID.3. The e-Golf has a 35.8 kWh battery pack and offers a range of 231 km (WLTP). Though the e-Golf is acknowledged as fun to drive and enjoyed brisk customer demand, the travel range is not very competitive. The Golf-sized ID.3, however, offers a driving range of up to 320 km in the lowest spec and goes up to 550 km with the largest battery pack on offer.

VW Polo and VW Golf to be discontinued?

While the long-term future does look uncertain for combustion-engine models like the Polo and Golf that have dominated the sales tables in Europe for decades, their story is not coming to an abrupt end.

Stackmann had confirmed to Auto Express that a ninth-generation Golf would be launched before the switch to full-electric models happens worldwide. The eighth-generation Golf is available with five engines – two petrol engines, two diesel engines and one mild-hybrid powertrain. There’s also a GTE plug-in hybrid version with a TSI four-cylinder engine and an electric motor for a combined output of 245 PS (180 kW) and 400 Nm of torque. The GTE Golf has an all-electric range of 60 km and can be driven up to 130 km/h in this mode.

As for the VW Polo, businessinsider.de speculates that it will probably be discontinued “on time for its fiftieth birthday,” which will be in 2025. It says that the stricter Euro 7 emission norms will make it virtually impossible for automakers to offer an ICE small car from 2025. However, there’d still be many markets worldwide, even in Europe, where it’s not feasible to launch a small electric car as a complete replacement. For those markets, the Polo will likely be continued, in our opinion. It’s worth noting here that the Polo was Volkswagen brand’s second-best-selling model worldwide in 2019 and 2020, with 488,000 units and 724,000 units sold, respectively.

The Volkswagen brand is ramping up efforts to be the world’s largest producer of electric cars. The target is to manufacture 1.5 million electric vehicles a year by 2025, and the models include the VW ID.3, VW ID.4, VW ID.5, VW Aero, VW ID.6, VW Bulli and the VW MEB Entry model ID.2.

VW ID.2 FAQs

What is the VW ID.2 release date?

The VW ID.2, based on the MEB-Lite architecture, can be expected in the first half of 2025.

What is the expected VW ID.2 price?

The VW ID.2 will cost between €20,000 and €25,000 in the European market.

What will be the VW ID.2 rivals?

The VW ID.2 will compete with the SEAT ‘Urbano’ electric car, and the likes of Peugeot e-2008, Opel Mokka-e, and Hyundai Kona EV.