- volkswagen unveiled the id.life concept, a mini-suv with an electric powertrain, at the 2021 munich auto show.
- the id.life previews a future production model that will slot in under the id.3 hatchback and id.4 compact crossover in vw's global lineup starting in 2025; it may even make its way to north america.
- a 231-hp electric motor drives the front wheels, while a 57.0-kwh battery pack is said to deliver up to 249 miles of driving per charge on the european wltp cycle.
update 9/6/2021, 9 a.m.: we have added comments from scott keogh, president and ceo of volkswagen of america, in which he leaves open the possibility that a production version of the id.life suv could someday be part of vw's u.s. lineup.
volkswagen's plans for its next generation of small evs is coming into focus with the premiere of the id.life concept at this year's munich auto show. the concept previews a new model that vw plans to launch in europe by 2025 and could make its way stateside as an entry-level model in vw's range of id electric suvs.
looking like a mashup between a city car and a subcompact suv, the id.life is powered by a 231-hp electric motor that drives the front wheels; a 57.0-kwh battery pack is estimated to deliver up to 249 miles of driving per charge on the european wltp cycle.
the id.life concept's roof, which is constructed of air-filled pockets of a textile/plastic material, can be removed to provide an open-top driving experience. the roof and other parts inside the id.life are made from recycled plastic bottles. other eco-friendly materials used throughout include natural rubber, rice husks, and wood chips.
the interior itself is highly configurable, with settings that will allow the front and second-row bench seats to transform into a bed as well as a mode that maximizes cargo space. vw also says the id.life's cabin can be turned into a comfortable place to watch a movie or play video games, but only when the concept is parked.
a hexagonal-shaped steering wheel has an inset digital display screen and in lieu of a more traditional infotainment display mounted to the dashboard, the driver can dock his or her smartphone. instead of interior and exterior mirrors, the id.life concept uses cameras and small displays, but this is one futuristic feature we expect won't make it to the production model.
the production vehicle that is previewed by the id.life concept car is critical for vw's goal to increase its share of ev sales to 70 percent in europe by 2030. the starting price for this entry-level model should be the equivalent of about $24,000 in europe, and vw is hoping it will attract a new class of buyers to the ev market.
as for whether or not the production version of the concept will come stateside, volkswagen of america president scott keogh said, "i think a car like that, strategically, it’s got some suv-esque proportions and the packaging, [it] is something certainly we want to do. you can't get to all these dreams of [up to] 70 percent [of new cars being evs] . . . if you can't hit a price point that's lower. so i wouldn't say no. i would say take a look at it.
"i think the biggest message that's being missed with electrification right now is, your average car in the united states has a transaction price around $32,000," keogh said. "if you look at most ev announcements, most of them are $70,000 or $80,000."
volkswagen is aiming for at least half of all new vws sold in both north america and china to be electric by the same 2030 target date, so while there's no current plan to sell the production version of the id.life in the united states, a lot more electric models using a similar architecture are are expected to launch here soon, including the id.buzz minivan and a three-row id.8 crossover.