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Paris 2016: I.D. sparks ‘greatest change in VW history’

Brand aims to sell one million electric cars by 2025

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Volkswagen has unveiled the I.D. concept car at the Paris motor show and pledged the brand to an electric future.

The production version of the car will go on sale in 2020 as the first in a new range of Volkswagen electric cars, the brand’s board chairman Dr Herbert Diess telling the Paris show that VW aims to sell one million electric cars by 2025.

The I.D. is the first car to be built on an all-new modular electric platform with its batteries inside the floor. It will be powered by 125kW motor that Diess says promises driving pleasure, and have a range of up to 600km (370 miles).

Its batteries will be charged by wireless induction, and using the car’s park pilot function the process will be fully automated.

Inside the car uses the space vacated by the traditional internal combustion powertrain to increase room for occupants. The I.D. is the length of a Golf but according to Diess offers the internal space and comfort of a Passat, with luggage capacity to match.

The I.D. is also the first Volkswagen entirely designed to be ready for fully autonomous driving. It has a sensor system using 10 laser scanners, which form a central part of a safety package aiming at the brand’s ‘Vision Zero’ of fully accident-free driving.

The car’s cockpit lacks buttons or switches, instead being controlled by augmented reality displays projected on the windscreen and touchscreens in similar fashion to a mobile phone. These can be operated by voice and gesture control.

Diess also promises that each I.D. will be able to be fully individualised to the owner’s preferences; “It will be part of your digital lifestyle, and will become part of powerful community – electric is the new cool.”

And in potentially a major step forward for electric vehicles, Diess has told the show that the I.D. will cost the same as a VW Golf Diesel.

The unveiling comes as Volkswagen continues to suffer the fall-out from the ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal but Diess insists the brand is recovering; “We are making good progress on getting the situation under control, getting back on track. We are dealing with the challenges and have a clear plan how to make Volkswagen more profitable, and more future proof.”

The electric programme is a central part of this strategy. “We are putting a much closer focus on a new world of mobility, Our future will be electric and connected – we will target new competitors like Tesla, Apple and others.

“We expect a breakthrough in electric mobility in 2020 and Volkswagen will be ready and well prepared by then. In a groundbreaking new approach starting in 2020 we will launch a new family of electric cars, all based on the new platform designed exclusively for electric – no combustion engines, no plug-in hybrids.

“Our goal is to become global market leader in electric cars – to make that happen we have started the greatest change process in VW’s history.”


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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.