Electrive is reporting today that the Volkswagen ID. Life urban electric car concept previewed last year is no longer under development, as the company rethinks the future of small electric cars in its model lineup. (US customers can skip the rest of this story, as it is a scientific fact that Americans will not buy any vehicle less than 17 feet long and weighing less than 3 tons.) The story is based on a report in Automobilewoche (paywall), which is how you say AutoWeek in German.
When the ID. Life was unveiled at the Munich auto show last year, Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, said, “The ID. LIFE is our vision of next-generation fully electric urban mobility. The concept car provides a preview of an ID. model in the small car segment that we will be launching in 2025, priced at around 20,000 euros. This means we are making electric mobility accessible to even more people. In creating the ID. LIFE, we have consistently focused on the needs of younger customers. We believe that, even more so than today, the car of the future will be about lifestyle and personal expression. The customer of tomorrow won’t simply want to get from A to B; they will be much more interested in the experiences that a car can offer. The ID. LIFE is our answer to this.”
The ID. Life we saw last year featured a 172 kW (231 hp) front-mounted electric motor, a 57 kWh battery, a projected range of 400 kilometers (WLTP), and a 0–100 km/h time of 6.9 seconds. Those specs clearly indicate the concept is built on the traditional MEB platform, not the MEB Entry platform Volkswagen says it is working on for its smaller electric cars of the future. That chassis is expected to have a maximum battery size of 45 kWh.
The ID. Life took many of its design cues from the original Golf. But now, chief designer Jozef Kaban says he and his team are working on a “new, decidedly modern design that is also intended to captivate young customers in terms of multimedia and connectivity.”
The rumors from inside the company suggest the new under €20,000 electric car from Volkswagen will be a 5-door hatchback about the size of the current Polo on the outside and the current Golf on the inside, thanks to the more efficient packaging of driveline components for EVs. The new car is expect to come to market in 2025 and will be known as the ID.2. Automobilewoche says it may also serve as the basis for a small SUV with the name ID.2 X — an electric counterpart of the T-Cross — scheduled to appear in 2026.
The Quest For Less Expensive Electric Cars
A few days ago, we published a story about how Volkswagen has resumed accepting orders for the e-Up! after an 18-month hiatus. Is it possible that car is to serve as a placeholder in the small car segment until such time as the ID.2 is ready for prime time? The roots of the e-Up! go back almost a decade. Surely a clean sheet approach would yield a small electric car that can be produced at a cost that will allow some profit for the manufacturer, no? Volkswagen reportedly sold the e-Up! at a loss, but may have found a way to reduce its costs enough to at least break even until a replacement is available.
Elon Musk says Tesla has too much on its plate to even think about a less expensive electric car. There are rockets to launch and brain implants to perfect first. Forget about less expensive cars. We are selling all the cars we can make right now so why would do anything else? Let others bring the EV revolution to different market segments. We’re busy over here. Leave us alone. We’ll get around to fulfilling the promise of our super secret master plan to rid the world of internal combustion engines later. What’s the big hurry?
Chinese automakers are targeting precisely the markets Tesla chooses to ignore. Volkswagen has seen the writing on the wall and decided it needs to be a player in those markets as well. Whether it’s called the ID. Life, ID.2, or ID.Urban, the Wolfsburg team is looking to crack the under €20,000 code for electric cars and that’s good news for everyone who supports the EV revolution.
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