Volkswagen’s ID concept car: Electric and – later – autonomous

September 30, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the eve of the Paris Motor show, Volkswagen has lifted the veil off its concept car ID, positioned as a volume vehicle in the next decade. As a battery electric car, the ID is locally emission free, and it bears the prospect of autonomous driving – albeit at a later point in time. In terms of human-machine interface, the ID is opening new paths.

Under the impact of the ongoing Diesel scandal, Volkswagen is under pressure to present a “green” car. However, the ID does not seem to be a rush job; instead, the development has started quite some time ago, notes market watcher IHS. Thus, the ID’s state of maturity is closer to production than comparable concept cars. Available from 2020, the ID will be Volkswagen’s first product based on the company’s Modular Electric Drive Kit (MEB), a concept designed for cost-effective yet flexible volume production. This architecture also makes sure the ID is designed from scratch for electromobility. This concept allows for larger batteries which in turn will give the car a driving range of 400 to 600 kilometers despite its relatively powerful motors (125 kW) – a significant advance over current comparable models, but it will be interesting to see how the range of competing models will be grown at the time the ID will be available.


The powertrain is a bit different from today’s approach: Unlike the e-Golf or comparable models, the ID’s electric motor drives the rear axle which, according to VW, will enable more space and flexibility. The battery is placed in the vehicle floor, as usual.

No sticks, no switches, just screens:
The ID will have a rather puristic HMI

The user interface will appear in a rather puristic and simple way, compared to today’s volume models: “No switches, no sticks, just screens” said VW brand manager Herbert Diess at the presentation. All functions will be accessed through “virtual,” context sensitive switches on screens. Just the steering wheel remains  - as long as it is driven manually. Once the automated driving mode will be activated, the wheel is retracted into the dashboard, which increases the space available and the occupant’s freedom of movement. This automated driving mode will be available from 2025 onwards.

The ID will embody several additional digital functions. For instance, parcel delivery services