Volkswagen appears to be quite clearly committed to an ambitious program of electric cars following its diesel emission scandal.
But aside from two adapted models launched a few years ago—the VW e-Golf and e-Up hatchbacks—and a few low-range plug-in hybrids, it doesn't yet have much to put in showrooms.
Instead, it's launching a series of battery-electric concept vehicles under the Volkswagen ID label to show its thinking for models that will roll out starting in 2019.
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The latest of these will be unveiled on April 19 at the Shanghai auto show.
It's not quite clear to us from the English translation of the teaser press release whether it's officially dubbed the Volkswagen ID Crossover or if that's just a descriptor.
Regardless, VW says the concept vehicle will blend "four-door coupe" and crossover utility design cues in a new all-electric vehicle.
Volkswagen I.D. electric car concept, 2016 Paris auto show
The teaser photo, along with a 10-second video that accompanies it, seem to indicate the lines include at least a vestigial trunk and a sedan-like rear.
VW says only that the latest iteration of the ID lineup of zero-emission concept cars will have all-wheel drive and a self-driving mode, activated by a push on the VW badge in the center of its steering wheel.
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The battery-electric powertain will provide a "long range" equivalent to that in today's gasoline-powered cars, Volkswagen says.It notes that the ID family will advance electric vehicles worldwide from "a start-up niche to large-scale production models by the middle of the next decade."
The press release, however, spends more time discussing the latest Volkswagen ID concept's self-driving capabilities than its powertrain.
Volkswagen ID Buzz Concept
The steering wheel retracts electrically into the cockpit where it forms a single unit with the displays and controls that have been implemented fully digitally.
The electric vehicle recognizes its surroundings and other road users via laser scanners, ultrasonic and radar sensors and cameras.
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This third Volkswagen ID electric car design study follows the original VW ID, a compact hatchback the size of the company's best-selling Golf, unveiled at the 2016 Paris auto show.
That was followed by the Volkswagen ID Buzz concept, an all-electric interpretation of the classic Volkswagen Bus.
Volkswagen ID Buzz Concept
That electric VW Bus concept, in bright yellow with a white roof, drew much attention when it was unveiled at this year's Detroit auto show.
(The word "buzz," pronounced by Germans, sounds the same as "bus"—get it?)
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Later comments by VW executives, however, indicate that the compact hatchback will come first, likely in 2019, with a crossover utility vehicle to follow in 2020.
Meanwhile, the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf got a 50-percent battery capacity boost; it is now EPA-rated at 125 miles, up from the previous version's 83 miles.