The Jetta and Passat have been some of the most popular passenger sedans ever made by Volkswagen, but as the company transitions to building only electric cars (by 2033 at the latest, according to the company’s plan), it will need an electric sedan to replace them both. The ID.7 is that car — or so Volkswagen hopes. CleanTechnica writer Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudza says he is looking forward to the new electric sedan from Volkswagen after being the happy owner of a Passat for many years.
In a press release on August 21, 2023, the company announced the symbolic start of production of the ID.7 at the company’s newly revamped and upgraded factory in Emden, a city in the northwest corner of the country not far from the border with the Netherlands.
There was a lot of speechifying from company and local officials during the event. The ID.7 will be available to customers in Germany this fall, while other other customers in Europe and North America can expect to start taking delivery of their electric Volkswagen sedans early next year.
Volkswagen And The ID.7
Thomas Schäfer, CEO of the Volkswagen brand, told the assembled multitude that Volkswagen is sticking to its ambitious plans for electromobility. “The market launch of the ID.7 is another important milestone on the way to the electric future of our brand. As a group and brand, we are investing heavily in technology, new products and the transformation of our locations, such as here in Emden.”
Schäfer added, “A system change to e-mobility requires a joint effort by business, politics and society. A customer oriented, functioning charging infrastructure is crucial for the switch to the new drive technology, as well as targeted incentives for private and commercial customers and good conditions for research and industrial production.”
Stephan Weil, prime minister of the German state of Lower Saxony, which is a major stockholder in the company, told the audience, “Congratulations to all employees in Emden on the launch of the ID.7! With the ID.7, a midrange car is now available that also meets high demands and will find many friends. For the Emden location, the ID.7 is another step towards the future. Driving is going electric; this trend is irreversible. This is good for the climate and ensures more driving pleasure. I am very pleased that Emden will become an even more important electromobility location in Germany with the start of production of the ID.7.”
The ID.7 has a range of up to 700 km (435 miles) in the European WLTP test. EPA numbers will be somewhat lower, but should still come in at around 350 miles, making the ID.7 one of the longest range electric cars on the market. Fast charging at up to 200 kW of power is featured, along with plenty of space and intuitive operation.
General and Group works council chair Daniela Cavallo celebrated the ID.7 as a worthy successor to the Passat. “Our plant in Emden is a factory with a proud history, fantastic products and, above all, a highly motivated, highly qualified and always extremely flexible workforce. I’m sure that our Emden colleagues will continue the success story of this location with the ID.7, which has so far mainly been linked to the Passat.
“With its Passat genes, the ID.7 as a sedan made in Emden closes an important gap in our electric range and I am convinced it will [be a] hit in the market. It is important that we as the industry continue to work hard on the framework conditions together with politicians — starting with the charging infrastructure for our customers’ electric vehicles through to a competitive environment for us car manufacturers in Europe.”
The Emden Factory
Thanks to being reconfigured to produce electric cars, the Emden factory will achieve higher productivity through optimized processes, digitized production, knowledge transfer in the production network and a new logistics concept. Improvements in logistics include short distances, less space required and more automation.
The primary focus areas for the upgraded factory are:
- Carbon dioxide reduction — The plant logistics showed numerous measures to reduce CO2 in logistics processes. These include “combined transport,” initiatives such as “no plastics,” the reduction in the variety of variants and the new high-bay and small parts warehouse, which has been supplying production with production materials fully automatically since March of this year. In total, the plant logistics saves more than 10,000 tons of CO2 per year.
- Focus on people — With a strong focus on the health of employees, the location implements numerous measures: Reduced noise levels using the latest EMS conveyor technology instead of loud chain conveyors, a special LED lighting concept with daylight properties for a healthier biorhythm even when working shifts, and wearing ergonomic passenger belts contribute to a healthy environment in assembly.
- Process improvements in assembly — Certain processes are technically supported with the focus on supporting employees at their workplace, ensuring quality and reintegrating the existing components. State of the art AI supported camera systems are used to get an all around view of the quality and to bring the information to the installing teams in real time. Voice outputs and lighting concepts also support employees in selecting and installing the right components.
- Artificial intelligence and autonomous driving — The test and finish area of the new assembly hall for electric vehicles focuses on the future use of artificial intelligence and the collection of data in order to be able to tailor the test processes even better and more efficiently to the respective vehicle types. The new hall is also designed to use autonomous driving for certain processes. In order to be able to implement this in the coming years, preparations are now beginning in cooperation with other locations.
Firsts For The ID.7
The Volkswagen ID.7 is the first MEB-based vehicle to use the new, more powerful, and more efficient drive system developed in-house by Volkswagen. Taking all of its features together, the nearly 5-meter long ID.7 is a comfortable limousine for long distance travel and opens up a new segment for the ID. family, the company says.
The ID.7 has benefited from extensive design and testing to improve aerodynamics. According to a company press release, the car will have a coefficient of drag of 0.23 and a frontal area of 2.46 square meters.
Inside, drivers will find:
- a 38-centimeter (15-inch) infotainment touchscreen
- an augmented reality head-up display
- a new air conditioning operating concept integrated on the top level of the infotainment system as well as freely assignable favorites buttons
- a back-lit touch slider
The ID.7 features new massage seats and an panoramic sunroof with smart glass that can be switched between opaque and transparent settings by touch control or by voice commands using the new IDA voice assistant. The optional Climatronic front seats offer heating or cooling as required — a first for ID.-branded electric cars from Volkswagen. Other options include a 700 watt Harman Kardon audio system that features 14 high-end speakers, including a center speaker in front and subwoofer mounted in the trunk.
Will the Volkswagen ID.7 be a worthy successor to the Passat? There is every indication the answer to that question will be “Yes!”
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