VW ID.1 electric city car: the first EV for millions of millennials

Published: 13 March 2020

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Volkswagen’s burgeoning range of electric cars will soon spawn this entry-level city car born for the urban playground: the new VW ID.1, due in showrooms around 2023.

The ID.1 will have a similar footprint to the 2020 e-Up it replaces, with a boxy five-door body meaning space inside but short overhangs for easy urban driving. Expect to see a few styling cues from the ID.3 in the production version and our rendering by Andrei Avarvarii depicts the likely squat dimensions and family look. 

Interestingly, the usual variant spin-offs are already under development: a rugged ID1 Crozz version and e-Roomzz van derivative have also been spotted on the drawing board.

VW ID.1: the electric specs

While the e-Up shoehorned an electric drivetrain into a city car conceived for internal combustion engines (ICE), the ID.1 is a pure battery electric car. VW engineers have used a decontented form of the MEB architecture (below), which underpins the wave of electric VWs that began with the ID.3. 

Cheapest electric cars and EVs

Volkswagen MEB electric platform

Two battery capacities are expected – most likely 24kWh and 36kWh – to allow a lower price in return for a shorter range. It’s a proven trend for focused all-electric city cars, such as the Honda E and Mini Electric.

Word is that the smallest electric Volkswagen would have a range around 185 miles with the bigger battery pack.

Making the business case for the Volkswagen ID.1

VW had hoped to build a €10k (£8800) EV – possibly with Suzuki – but that hasn’t worked out. So Wolfsburg is pressing on, confident in its electric strategy. 

In fact, its aim of selling a million EVs a year by 2025 has been brought forward to 2023. Boss Ralf Brandstätter says MEB-based cars can be 40% cheaper to build than EVs based on conventional chassis. 

Ralf Brandstätter, head of the VW brand, says a sub-£18k EV is in the works

The head of the Volkswagen brand told CAR magazine: ‘In future, it will make no sense putting battery cells in a car designed for an engine as we have done with [2020’s updated] e-Up – that was a stepping-stone project. We are working on a BEV below €20,000 (£17,600) – we can shrink the MEB architecture with less content to get the cost down.’

The ID.1 will be the smallest ID in an electric line-up built around seven main models. The next one up, the ID.2, will be VW’s rival to the Renault Zoe and Peugeot e-208. A high-performance R version of the ID.3 hatch is in the pipeline. And the next ID production model is the ID.4, based on the ID Crozz concept, expected towards the end of 2020.

Further electric car reading

Best EVs and electric cars on sale today

A guide to electric Volkswagens

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

By Georg Kacher

European editor, secrets uncoverer, futurist, first man behind any wheel

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