Volkswagen is once again speeding up the transformation to electric mobility with its ACCELERATE strategy, making sustainable mobility accessible to even more people by 2025, a whole two years earlier than originally planned, Volkswagen will launch an ID. family model for the small car segment. It will cost approximately €20,000. The ID. LIFE1 concept car, which was presented at the International Motor Show IAA MOBILITY 2021 in Munich, gives an impression of how a vehicle of this type would look.
The vision of a fully electric small car for the urban environment is centred around people and communal experiences. The concept car combines sustainability and digitalisation with extremely flexible usage: the ID. LIFE can become a mini cinema or a gaming centre, for instance, or simply be used for relaxing in the open air.
“The ID. LIFE is our vision of next-generation fully electric urban mobility. The concept car provides a preview of an ID. model in the small car segment that we will be launching in 2025, priced at around 20,000 euros. This means we are making electric mobility accessible to even more people”, says Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand.
“In creating the ID. LIFE, we have consistently focused on the needs of younger customers. We believe that, even more so than today, the car of the future will be about lifestyle and personal expression. The customer of tomorrow won’t simply want to get from A to B; they will be much more interested in the experiences that a car can offer. The ID. LIFE is our answer to this.”
The design of the ID. LIFE is strikingly clear, pared-down and high-quality. Decorative elements and add-on parts are dispensed with, as is any complex mix of materials. The horizontal division between the body, glass surfaces and roof also contributes to the car’s purist appearance. An individualised and removable roof made of air chamber textile lends an open-air feeling in the ID. LIFE, while also reducing the vehicle weight.
Electric motor drives the front wheels
The ID. LIFE is based on a smaller variant of Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB) that has been developed specifically for the small car segment. This is the first time a vehicle based on the MEB has front- wheel drive. With its 172 kW (234 PS) electric motor, the ID. LIFE accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds, while its 57 kWh high-voltage battery enables a range of some 400 kilometres (WLTP).
“The ID. LIFE proves once again how uniquely flexible the MEB is. The platform is suitable for vehicles of all types, from small cars to vans,” says Thomas Ulbrich, member of the Volkswagen Brand Board of Management for Development.
“It’s the most scalable electrical architecture in the industry. We’re just beginning to tap into the potential of MEB. Performance, charging capacity and range will continue to improve with each new model and software update.”
Natural and recycled materials
The sustainable character of the ID. LIFE is reflected particularly in the choice of materials and paint finishes. In the clear coat for the bodywork, wood chips are used as a natural colouring agent along with a bio-based hardener. The air chamber textile for the roof and front cover is made from 100% recycled PET bottles. In the interior, wood in the dashboard and rear seat surrounds is combined with ArtVelours Eco for the seat surfaces and door trims. Bio-oil, natural rubber and rice husks are just some of the materials that serve as a basis for the tyres on the ID. LIFE.
The ID. LIFE is a reliable companion for digital experiences of various kinds. For example, it can be converted into a cinema or gaming lounge in no time at all. The vehicle comes with a video game console and projector, as well as a projection screen that extends from the dash panel when required. Other devices can be connected as needed to the 230-volt / 16-amp power supply in the interior.
The seating design, too, is extremely flexible, in keeping with the idea of the car as a companion for all situations and lifestyles. For instance, the front seat bench can be completely folded down, as can the rear seat bench. This enables a range of different possibilities, from cinema seating, to a bed measuring around two metres in length, to a cargo version that maximises luggage volume.
Innovative digital operating concept
Cameras and a display replace both the exterior and interior mirrors. Essential driving functions are controlled via a touch panel on the hexagonal, open-topped steering wheel, and a smartphone can be integrated in the operating system. Personal devices – whether smartphones or tablets – can be used to operate the navigation system, for instance. Music, films and games stored on the device can be used seamlessly in the ID. LIFE, with visuals displayed on the projection screen.
ACCELERATE strategy is speeding up the transformation process
The expansion of the ID. family into the small car segment at prices starting from 20,000 euros is another key step towards fully electrified mobility. By 2030, Volkswagen aims to increase the share of all-electric models in total vehicle sales in Europe to at least 70% and in North America and China to at least 50 per cent.
1 The vehicle is a concept car. The vehicle is not yet available for sale.