Why the VW ID.1 electric city car would be the cheapest in its class [Update]

Volkswagen will be expanding its ID electric car line-up with a compact city car, ID.1 that will be replacing the e-Up! when launched in 2023, according to a British news report.

A rendering from Brazilian Instagram account Auto Noticias that represents what the ID.1 should look like. The fully electric entry-level ID model is quite similar to the Fiat Panda while holding on to the looks of the ID.3. Volkswagen intends to make the design of the ID family instantly recognizable with a ‘charismatic’ front, striking C-pillars, flowing surfaces, large and expressive wheels, and a profile that is inspired from a honeycomb.

To be a five-door minicar, the VW ID.1 will have the footprint of the Up! but will borrow styling cues from the upcoming ID.3 hatchback. According to Ralf Brandstätter, Chief Operating Officer of Volkswagen, it will be 40 per cent cheaper to build electric cars on the MEB platform than on a conventional chassis. Mr Brandstätter has told Car magazine that Volkswagen is working on a battery-electric vehicle that will be priced under 20,000 Euros. Though Volkswagen already has the e-Up!, that was not an electric car to start with (launched in 2011 as the VW Up! petrol) and has been built on a conventional chassis which puts it at a disadvantage. The electric Up! will come to the point in its lifecycle shortly where it would have to switch to the next generation to be competitive.

VW MEB Entry family
Volkswagen has confirmed that a family of MEB vehicles for the entry segments is part of the ‘first wave’ of its electric cars that starts with the ID.3 this summer in Europe. The VW ID.1 & ID.2 will ride on a shrunk version of the MEB platform with less content.

Car Magazine also reports that the ID.1 will be offered with two battery options – 24 kWh and 36 kWh. The battery range will be between 175 km to 250 km, serving the purposes of city driving. The ID.1 will be Volkswagen’s volume product to achieve its target of selling a million EVs a year by 2025, and two competitors we can think of are the Dacia Spring and the Renault Twingo Z.E.

And that’s not all. Volkswagen is also reportedly planning the ID.2 that will be a size bigger than the ID.1. The VW ID.2 will rival the likes of the Renault Zoe and Peugeot e-208 and is expected to have a slightly larger battery and more interior headroom and legroom.

Volkswagen ID.3 battery chassis
Expect the Volkswagen ID.1 to follow the layout of the ID.3 with its permanent-magnet synchronous motor (power electronics and gearbox included) integrated into the rear axle. The high-voltage battery is placed flat on the underbody. The battery position in the underbody causes the center of gravity to remain very low and the ID.3 is also characterized by ideal weight distribution between front axle and rear axle that should be inherited by the ID.1 & ID.2.

Volkswagen will be kicking off the ID brand when it starts the deliveries of ID.3, the first pure electric car from the range in Germany this summer. Based on the MEB platform, the ID.3 will be offered in three battery capacities – 45 kWh, 58 kWh or 77 kWh – with a range of 320 km, 420 km and 550 km respectively.

Volkswagen has confirmed that the ID.3 will be less expensive to both buy and operate than similar-sized combustion engine models and this principal is expected to be true for the ID.1 & ID.2.

Volkswagen India’s first electric car is the VW ID.4 SUV that is expected to launch in the second half of 2021.

VW reportedly now leading the MEB Entry Family’s development after Seat drops out

While Volkswagen’s low-cost EV project was assumed to be sailing smoothly to fruition, the group has encountered challenges. Automotive News reported in early May that Volkswagen hasn’t decided which brand to consider for the small electric cars.

In March 2019, it was announced that Seat will lead the development of fully-electric city cars, costing less than 20,000 euros to replace the troika of the electric VW Up, Skoda Citigo and Seat Mii. The cars would be built on the VW Group’s MEB platform that will be heavily modified to be less than 4,000 mm in length. To get the platform to meet the cost target, engineers are looking at smaller electric motors and different battery pack configurations. However now, Seat has lost the project, which is attributed to its CEO Luca de Meo’s departure to take up the post of CEO of Renault. Another reason is Seat’s postponement of the entry into China, where it was due to collaborate with VW Group’s partner JAC Automobile Group to develop these cars.

With Seat not in the driver seat of the entry-level EV project, Polish auto site Autokult.pl confirms that Volkswagen has taken over the project which ensures that its plans to sell 1.5 million electric cars a year by 2025 are on track.

During a recent workshop with a group of journalists, Klaus Bischoff, the head of Volkswagen Group design was asked how long it would take to design and build a small electric car from scratch that would answer the challenges (the demand for personal mobility) following the Coronavirus pandemic. He replied: “We are already building such a car.”

Not entirely sure about what the Polish journalist heard, he called up a spokesman at the VW headquarters in Wolfsburg who admitted that the company is indeed working on an electric model smaller than ID.3.

[Source: carmagazine.co.uk, Instagram.com, AutoNews.com]

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