Recently, Volkswagen invited Fully Charged host Robert Llewellyn to South Africa to drive a pre-production prototype of the ID 5 door sedan scheduled to go on sale in 2020. This is the first car built on VW’s new modular MEB chassis, which the company says could form the basis of 50 million or more electric cars over the next several years.
Llewellyn, who happens to drive a Tesla Model S at home, is the first automotive journalist in the world to drive the prototype and he was forbidden to film the dashboard of the car or reveal very much about the technical marvels tucked away beneath is camouflaged flanks.
But he did remark that the back seat was crammed with computers monitoring every aspect of the car’s performance.
Along the way, he made reference to a large heads-up display that projects important information onto the windshield ahead of the driver. He also referenced a unique climate control system that has a carbon dioxide heat pump at its heart.
The Fully Charged host is no stranger to the Volkswagen Golf, a car that is similar in size to the ID, having owned 5 of them, including a GTI and a VR6. He also has owned a Nissan LEAF and, as noted above, currently drives a Tesla Model S, so he is no stranger to electric vehicles. He came away from his test drive very favorably impressed — so much so that he referred to his test car as “absolutely amazing.”
He was accompanied on his journey by Frank Bekemeier, chief technology officer for e-mobility at Volkswagen. The sum and substance of the information that can be talked about with regard to the ID is that it will be offered with three different battery sizes, cost about the same as a current Volkswagen Golf Diesel, and have a range of between 205 and 311 miles using the (now obsolete) WLTP testing protocol. (EPA numbers should come in about 30 to 40 percent lower.)
The base battery is expected to be about 48 kWh and the car will have either a 7.2 kW or 11 kW onboard charger, according to Inside EVs. It will be compatible with DC fast chargers with up to 125 kW of power. We learned recently that over-the-air updates will be part of the ID package.
Bear in mind that the car Llewellyn drove is a pre-production prototype. What you see may or may not translate to actual production. But if he is correct, the VW ID and its siblings may indeed be the affordable electric cars the world has been waiting for.
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