Volkswagen unveiled a small SUV concept at the 2021 Munich Motor Show (IAA 2021) – the VW ID. Life. The company has confirmed that VW ID. Life concept will morph into a production model in 2025. There’s enough evidence to suggest that the VW ID.2 will be this electric SUV.
At 4,091 mm long, 1,845 mm wide, and 1,599 mm high, the VW ID. Life is roughly the size of the VW T-Cross. The concept electric SUV’s wheelbase measures 2,650 mm, and its ground clearance is 2,650 mm. There’s 410 litres of luggage space, which can expand more than threefold to 1,285 litres with rear seats folded down.
The VW ID. Life might remind you of the Honda e with its silhouette, but it’s unique in every other way. Jozef Kaban, Head of Design, Volkswagen, is the man behind this charismatic concept car.
At the front, Volkswagen has used a translucent surface where conventional cars have headlamps and a radiator grille. Three circles in satin-finished glass and a straight line above them illuminate to mark the vehicle’s presence on the road during the daytime. The outer circles, being truncated at the top and bottom, give a moderately aggressive styling at the front. Matrix LED lights are also present behind the translucent surface, for when it turns dark outside.
The bonnet consists of a two-layer air-chamber textile attached to the body with zip fasteners. There’s a separate lid in front of the bonnet that opens a section where there is space to store the vehicle’s charging cable. Volkswagen has neatly integrated the vehicle’s charging port in this section, right beside the charging cable storage area.
On the side, the VW ID. Life has a diamond-shaped greenhouse, 20-inch alloy wheels, discretely flared wheel arch surrounds, and flush door handles. The 235/45 R20 tires consist of sustainably produced and transparently sourced natural rubber, vegetable oil, vegetable resins, silica from rice husks, and recycled rubber. In all, there’s a 37% renewable and recycled content in the raw materials of the tires. A character line runs above the door handles to add some definition to the simple-looking sides, and the trapezoidal shape in the side sill area does the same job.
At the rear, the light graphics are the same as at the front. Like the contours of the front apron and in the area of the side sills, the contours of the rear apron have a trapezoidal shape.
Expert auto illustrator Kleber Silva of KDesign AG has portrayed his depiction of the VW ID.2, the production version of the VW ID Life concept, in renderings.
The rendered production model has more realistic parts like conventional headlights, pull-type simple door handles, regular side mirrors, and a robust all-metal body. A beefier front bumper, a lower air intake, and black body cladding across the length make the production model look more aggressive. The rectangular, LED headlamps and the whole nose section have VW ID.3 written all over it, while the rectangular LED tail lamps featuring an X-shaped motif come from the VW ID.4.
The interior of the VW ID. Life oozes minimalist vibes. Volkswagen has reduced the number of parts down to the essentials of a highly futuristic EV.
There are no switches, buttons, or any other conventional controls. The hexagonal and open-topped steering wheel has a touch-operated section for gear selection and other functions such as turn signals, horn, and windscreen wipers. The dashboard is a plain wooden surface, and it integrates a touch surface for light and basic climate control functions. There’s no instrument cluster, just a head-up display. There is a 9-inch display in the upper part of the dashboard, though.
Volkswagen has used eco-friendly materials on the inside, too. ArtVelours Eco for the seat surfaces and door trim is one example. It consists of 71% recycled PET bottles and shredded T-shirts. Another example is shredded tires, which are the main ingredient for the rubber paint finish in the entrance area.
Like the bonnet, the roof consists of a two-layer air-chamber textile attached to the body with zip fasteners. The ability to remove the roof means that the occupants can enjoy an open-air feeling as if they were in a Targa model. Another benefit of this type of roof is weight reduction.
Variable seating layouts make the interior suitable for different needs, such as transporting long objects up to 2.25 metres long, gaming, relaxing, and even sleeping. In the relaxing position, the front bench folds down so that the occupants can stretch their legs out sitting at the rear. In the sleeping position, the rear bench also folds down, providing a sleeping space that extends over two metres.
“Bring your own device is the motto,” Yasmin Pallenschat, Software Engineer, CARIAD, said during the VW ID. Life presentation. The customer’s device can handle almost everything via an app on their smartphone or tablet and attach that device to the dashboard magnetically. Changing the ventilation and climate control settings, navigation route planning, parking, communication, and infotainment functions, are all possible using this app.
The VW ID. Life’s multimedia system integrates a gaming console and a video projector for entertainment while on the move. When using the video projector, with just a press of a button, a screen measuring around 34 inches appears from the dashboard and covers up the windscreen.
The VW ID. Life sits on the ‘MEB eco’ platform. It’s a lower variant of the MEB, presumably the same variant that Cupra terms as ‘MEB short’. Unlike in the standard MEB platform EVs, the electric motor powers the front wheels by default. Volkswagen calls this type of FWD application ‘MEB eco.’
The VW ID.2 may come with fewer hardware configurations compared to its ICE counterpart VW T-Cross. This would allow Volkswagen Group to manufacture it with fewer complexities and more efficiently. It may equip the electric SUV with features that customers can enable later, including connected vehicle tech, particularly useful for ride-sharing. The larger and pricier VW EVs based on the SSP platform would be even more digital and available in fewer configurations. For example, rival company Mercedes is charging an annual fee to unlock the rear-wheel steering on the EQS.
The VW ID.2’s concept version uses a permanent magnet synchronous motor generating 172 kW (234 PS/231 hp) of power and 290 Nm (214 Lb.-Ft.) of torque. A 57 kWh battery pack provides electricity to this motor. A 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) sprint takes just 6.9 seconds, and the top speed is 180 km/h (112 mph). Volkswagen estimates a WLTP range of 400 km (249 miles) in this configuration. Expect Volkswagen to offer a similar range and battery pack in the production vehicle.
LFP Battery Cells
Volkswagen Group’s small EVs like the yet-to-be-named Seat crossover and the VW ID.2 derivatives are likely to benefit from unified cell technology. With the same physical pack format used for different chemistries, unified cell technology would lower development and production costs. “In our entry segment, the unified cell will bring down battery cost by 50% compared to today,” said Diess at the company’s Power Day event in March 2021.
Volkswagen Group would use Lithium Iron Phosphate cells in the batteries of the budget ID. models. “We do have an entry chemistry with Iron Phosphate,” said Frank Blome, Head of Battery Cell and System, Volkswagen Group Components, at the event mentioned above. He acknowledged the “slight range disadvantage” of LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) compared to NMC (Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Oxide). However, LFP is more sustainable because of greater supply security. “The cycle stability is very good,” Blome said. “That means specially for cars with low range, this is a very promising technology,” he added.
In China, Guoxuan High-tech, a local battery maker in which Volkswagen Group owns a 26.5% stake, is considering producing LFP and NMC batteries for the company’s MEB platform-based models, as per local reports. The Spanish-made VW ID.2 will probably have EU-sourced batteries, though.
We will put battery in the middle of the heart of our development of cars. This is the major cost point in the EV world. If we have the volume, and we will roll it out, we need (to) put it in the middle, in the centre of our cars, and then defining the cars around the battery.Thomas Schmall, Board Member – Technology, Volkswagen Group (Power Day)
Production of the VW ID.2 and other MEB – small platform models will likely take place at the Seat Martorell plant. “A future common vision (of Volkswagen Group, Seat, and Spain government) includes local production of small electric vehicles in the Martorell factory, as well as the local production of battery cells and battery modules,” Seat announced on its 70th anniversary on March 5, 2021.
Volkswagen Group plans to participate in Spain’s PERTE project and make the country a strategic base for its small EV models. The company could make the Seat urban electric car, the VW ID.2, and other affordable EVs of the platform for the VW Group brands at the Seat Martorell factory. These models would belong to a “Small BEV Family” and are technically similar for competitive pricing. Volkswagen Group wants to make even electric components and battery cells in Spain to keep costs down. At the IAA 2021, it was confirmed that Skoda and Cupra would have derivatives of the production ID.Life concept.
After Germany (in Salzgitter) and Sweden (in Skelleftea), Spain could get the third battery cell gigafactory of the Volkswagen Group. The potential Spanish battery cell plant could have an annual production capacity of 40-gigawatt hours.
Volkswagen says that the production version of the ID. Life, presumably the ID.2, will cost between EUR 20,000 and 25,000.
Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen (USA), has hinted that a VW ID.2 U.S. launch is possible. He doesn’t think that the VW ID. Life concept, which should morph into the confirmed VW ID.2 B-SUV in the future, is too small for American customers. Speaking to CarBuzz, Keogh suggested that the EV’s economical pricing is its main highlight on which we should focus. He stopped short of confirming that an ID.2 U.S. launch is under consideration, saying that the company would be interested in launching an EV like the ID. Life that comes in an SUV body style.
A car like the (ID. Life) that’s got some SUV proportions is something we’d want to have. I wouldn’t say no. I’d say let’s take a look at it.Scott Keogh, President and CEO, Volkswagen (USA)
Volkswagen has traditionally ruled out sub-compact models like the T-Roc, T-Cross, Polo, etc., in the U.S., so chances for the ID.2 ideally would’ve looked slim. However, the company could reconsider launching small models if enough customers demand in the future. With the driving range a crucial factor in the purchase decision in the electric era, we think that’s very much possible.
VW ID.2 FAQs
What is the VW ID.2 release date?
The VW ID.2 should be launched in the first half of 2025 and be manufactured in Spain.
What will be the VW ID.2 price?
The ID.2 will be priced between EUR 20,000-25,000, Volkswagen has confirmed.
Featured image: Autovisie; ID.2 teaser from Roland Tameling