VW ID Roomzz unveiled in Shanghai - and this lounge-alike electric SUV will go on sale in 2021

Published: 15 April 2019

► VW ID Roomzz electric car
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The new Volkswagen ID Roomzz concept car has been unveiled on the eve of the 2019 Auto Shanghai motor show, showing how VW’s electric car range is expanding at a dizzying rate. And this is no flight of fancy; it’s previewing a new type of crossover/MPV mash-up, due to go on sale in China in 2021. European sales are likely to follow suit, according to Wolfsburg top brass CAR spoke to.

It’s no accident that the new EV is being shown in China; this is the world’s biggest zero-emissions market and this week’s car show will be festooned with battery-powered electric cars. In 2018, some 950,000 electric new cars were registered in China, out of a mind-boggling total of 22 million registrations.

This is why Volkswagen chairman Herbert Diess (below) came to Shanghai to unveil the new ID Roomzz on the eve of the main expo.

VW chairman Herbert Diess unveils the ID Roomzz at the 2019 Shanghai motor show

CAR magazine is reporting live from Shanghai, so stay tuned for plenty more coverage in the coming days.

Our guide to all the electric Volkswagens

VW ID Roomzz: your essential briefing

This is a large, five-metre long car, whose focus is on interior space and versatility, hence the four large suicide doors that open like a reverse handclap for ease of access. Sadly, those reverse-hinged doors are not bound for production cars (and nor are the cameras for door mirrors, scuppered by cost).

Volkswagen talks of ‘a lounge on wheels’, as its designers grapple with what the autonomous future looks like. The ID Roomzz features ID Pilot mode, which allows for full hands-off, level 4 driverless mode, you see – freeing up the cabin to double up as your sitting room.

VW ID Roomzz

Drivers place their hand on the VW badge on the steering wheel for at least five seconds to enable autonomous mode; the wheel then moves discretely out of the way, freeing up more space for the interior lounge effect.

Autonomous car levels explained

Electric car tech

The new VW ID Roomzz is based on Wolfsburg’s new soon-to-be-ubiquitous MEB modular electric architecture – the backbone of most of the first tranche of EVs emerging from VW, Seat, Skoda and Audi in the mainstream branch of Volkswagen’s sprawling empire.

‘The ID Roomzz shows us what we can expect from full-size electric SUVs in the future,’ said VW design boss Klaus Bischoff. ‘The puristic look emphasises the clear function and the user experience is intuitive and natural.’

He told CAR magazine that the new generation of ID electric cars has been the highlight of his career. ‘It’s great, it’s awesome,’ he said, admitting that designing transformational cars that would change the face of Volkswagen was an unbelievable challenge. ‘I can’t wait to show the first production cars at the Frankfurt motor show in September.’

Huge displays - and the VW ID Roomzz's steering wheel disappears when in autonomous mode

Look no further than the new AppleSkin artificial leather, which contains 20% vegetable matter from apple rind. ‘This is close to production reality,’ said Bischoff. The seats themselves have three different modes: they can be configured in the following layouts:

  • ID Drive mode  Normal front-facing configuration for regular driving
  • ID Pilot mode  All seats rotate 25deg towards each other for a more social space
  • ID Pilot Relax mode  Each seat can be fully adjusted individually

The idea being that the cabin layout can be adjusted to match the driving mode of the car. When in full Level 4 autonomous setting, the seats can swivel to a two-facing-two mode – perfect for a family game of cards or business meeting on the fly.

The concept car is a four-seater with a glass roof. But VW admits the production version will be offered with three rows of seats as a seven-seater, as a standard five-seater or even as a four-seater with a pair of captain’s rear seats, according to Bischoff. For this concept iteration of the VW ID Roomzz, those electric chairs pivot outwards to make it easier to climb in or out. 

VW ID Roomzz tech specs, battery range, performance and more

The new ID Roomzz is a powerful crossover, with two electric motors: the front axle is powered by a 75kW motor, while the rear axle boasts an output of 150kW. Under normal driving conditions, it’s rear-wheel drive but the front wheels come to life under full throttle or if slip is detected, activating all-wheel drive 4Motion mode.

The Volkswagen MEB electric car architecture underpins the ID Roomzz

With 225kW in total (equivalent of 302bhp), this large car is impressively fleet of foot. Volkswagen quotes 0-62mph in 6.6sec and top speed is capped at 112mph (the limit that’s likely to spread like wildfire across most cars; Volvo has already committed to it across its range).

Of rather more interest, the lithium-ion battery pack has a 82kWh capacity, which brings a 280-mile range on the latest European WLTP combined cycle. VW says the ID Roomzz can charge at up to 150kW DC; on rapid charge, that means the battery can be topped up to 80% in around half an hour.

Augmented reality: head-up displays go high-tech

Note also the latest augmented reality (AR) tech which beams nav instructions and other notifications on to the head-up display in front of the driver. They’re super-imposed on the view ahead, with arrows indicating the direction of travel, a bit like the latest Mercedes-Benz MBUX system.

Volkswagen ID Roomzz: full electric SUV due in 2021

Up to nine cameras are peppered around the electric car’s bodywork, keeping a watchful eye on proceedings for the semi-autonomous drive systems. Cleverly, some of the radar scanners are hidden behind the paintwork.

And that ID Roomzz name?

Ah yes. What can we say? Wolfsburg is working the ID family tree hard and the youthful name is just one of those cringe-worthy badges we’ll have to accept for now and hope doesn’t make it to production… Many of the cars feature the double Z, like the ID Buzz and ID Vizzion.

Like all the other VW ID family members, this electric car is based on the group’s important new MEB EV car architecture. You can read our detailed explainer about the clever tech onboard here.

Electric Volkswagen ID family

It’s the sixth battery-powered car shown so far, following in the silent tyre tracks of the ID, ID Crozz, ID Buzz, ID Vizzion and the ID Buggy (above). 

There’ll soon be an electric Volkswagen for nearly every conceivable niche… 

2019 Shanghai motor show preview guide

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet