Volkswagen revealed the new electric I.D. concept ahead of the Paris Motor Show, previewing a production model set to hit the market in 2020.
By the time the self-driving I.D emerges, VW plans to be selling - cue Dr Evil close-up - one million electric cars. Wolfsburg fervently hopes that it will be part of a rebuilding programme to revive VW's tarnished image in the wake of the "Dieselgate" scandal.
VW in fact states that this auto is the first in a "completely new fleet of highly innovative electric vehicles"; from the off the I.D. comes with a 125kW (167hp) electric motor and a projected range of between 248 and 372 miles (400-600km) on a single charge. This is the rolling electric symbol of that new way, and it's called the Volkswagen I.D. It also goes to show how the motoring landscape is changing that the big draw is a fully electric C-segment vehicle that will eventually be autonomous. That, Volkswagen says, is good for between 400 and 600 kilometers of range (249-373 miles) on a single charge. The I.D. has been engineered to be produced only as an electric vehicle.
For now, the concept is a four-seater and while we'll have to wait to see the interior, it's expected to draw heavily on the recent BUDD-e concept and have a cabin dominated by a pair of huge electronic displays, with both touch control and gesture control.
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As a concept, the new electric hatchback also gives us a glimpse of VW's autonomous driving technologies with the steering wheel retracting into the dashpad when in fully automated mode. While it's is about the same size as a VW Golf compact auto on the outside, it's as roomy inside as the mid-sized VW Passat, according to Volkswagen.
Price will be the critical factor.
The vehicle, called the I.D., is expected to cost less than $30,000, which is less than both the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt.