Volkswagen smallest EV will be based on an unknown platform and be similar in size to current Polo.
Volkswagen is working “full steam ahead” on a sub-€20,000 (AUD$32,000) electric ‘ID 1’ that will sit underneath the new ID 2all, although brand boss Thomas Schäfer has admitted that achieving the target price is proving a major challenge.
The new Volkswagen ID 1 will be the smallest model in the brand’s line-up of bespoke electric cars. Previously hinted at in a teaser sketch, it’s not yet revealed which platform the model will use.
Meanwhile, the recently-revealed ID 2all, the Cupra Urban Rebel and an entry-level Skoda model will all be based on Volkswagen’s MEB Entry platform.
Volkswagen has long been working on plans for a truly affordable EV with a target price of less than €20,000 (AUD$32,000). The front-drive MEB Entry platform will allow for more cost-effective lithium-iron-phosphate batteries, and the economies of scale planned should help to substantially reduce costs.
The machine will effectively be twinned with the ID 2all, which is likely to be slightly larger and take on more of a crossover appearance. That model will go on sale in 2026 with a target price of €25,000 (AUD$40,000).
Schäfer admitted that “it’s not an easy game at all” to produce an electric vehicle that can be sold profitably for $32,000. He added: “Now we can do a lot in terms of economies of scale. Within our volume brand group, we’re producing four vehicles along with Cupra and Skoda. That volume will help us to bring prices down to be competitive and also still make money.”
Speaking about the future model, Schäfer confirmed that “we’re also working on a vehicle below €20,000 that will be even a bigger challenge. It’s part of our DNA where Volkswagen has also a commitment that we all have to embrace and we’re working on at full steam ahead. In the next couple of months we will be reporting on this.”
The new ID 1 will be broadly similar in size to the combustion-engined Polo and could potentially take that nameplate, in the same way that Volkswagen is planning to use the Golf and Tiguan monikers for future EVs. Schäfer said: “The Polo is very successful and one of our icons, and we’re going to use that vehicle concept in the future as well. Whether we use the same name of the vehicle we don’t know yet. We’re currently working on those iconic names into the future to make sense of the product line-up.”
The German car maker gave a hint of what to expect from its most affordable EV with the quirky ID Life concept at the 2021 Munich motor show, but a new preview image suggests the design team have gone back to the drawing board to give the production version a stronger visual link to the Volkswagen Trinity sedan, which will go on sale at around the same time.
It has also been reported that Volkswagen designers were seeking to give the production version of the ID Life a more futuristic look and emphasise its digital functionality, with the aim of attracting younger buyers. A sketch shows that a sleeker, more muscular silhouette is the result, with an angular front end and characteristic ID cues, such as the horizontal front light bar, cementing its position in the expanding ID family.
The new Polo-sized EV – which is expected to take the ID 1 name into production – will use a shortened version of the ID 3’s platform, referred to as MEB Entry and reduced in length by around 100mm.
It is also expected to be offered with the same 172kW front-mounted motor and 57kWh battery as the concept to give a range of nearly 400km and a 0-100km/h time of less than seven seconds.
Overall, it will offer substantial performance, efficiency and functionality improvements over the Volkswagen e-Up, for which it will essentially serve as a replacement.
It will be built from 2025 in Spain – alongside technically identical sibling models from Cupra and Skoda – where the Volkswagen Group has committed over $15 billion to the electrification of its operations, including the construction of a dedicated battery factory.