One of Volkswagen’s latest concept cars teases what will eventually be the cheapest entry in the lineup of ID-branded electric vehicles.
Revealed at the IAA Mobility conference in Munich, Germany over the weekend, the id Life concept is a boxy little four-door compact car that is actually more reminiscent of the overly handsome Honda E than its more streamlined id siblings. It won’t go on sale until 2025 (which means we’re at least two years away from seeing a final production version), but when it does, VW says it will cost around €20,000 (about $24,000). Will be
That’s an incredibly aggressive price tag, and it’s one of the two big reasons VW (and the larger Volkswagen Group) have spent so many billions of dollars developing a modular “MEB” electric vehicle platform. Being able to power multiple cars at different price points with the same underlying technology is allowing the automaker to eventually charge much less for a capable EV without taking a total financial bath on the project. (The other reason was Dieselgate.)
The iD Life Concept will use a 57kWh capacity version of the MEB battery pack, which VW says can last about 400 kilometers (about 250 miles) on the European WLTP test cycle. A powerful 172kW motor (about 230 horsepower) will sit on the front axle – the id Life will be the first MEB car with front-wheel drive – and can propel the compact from 0 to 100 kph in just seven seconds.
A lot could happen in the next four years, but those specs are actually better than the current base model of the ID3, VW’s current entry-level, Golf-style electric vehicle.
ID is rare inside life. There’s a yoke-style steering wheel with touch-sensitive buttons, and no standard dashboard display – instead, VW imagines owners will leave their phone or tablet on a wooden dash and let those devices run the infotainment system . (There’s also a wireless charging… sleeve, or pocket, in the fabric of the driver’s side door.) The rear bench seat is smaller, and the front trunk is smaller, too, as it seems the front passenger takes up too much leg under the hood The space below that which is not occupied by the electric motor.
Of course it wouldn’t be a good concept car without at least one ridiculous idea, which VW conveniently supplies in the form of an integrated projector and a projection screen that extends from the dash – the idea being that you can move the front seats. Fold down from the back bench seat of the can ID Life and watch a movie or play a video game. (VW even says it includes a video game console, though it doesn’t actually name one.)
Lastly, VW is promoting the idea of using lots of natural and recycled materials with the ID Life concept. There are wood chips in the exterior paint for coloring. The roof and hood are made from recycled PET bottles. tires are made of”[b]Io-oil, natural rubber and rice bran.” These are very popular ideas in concept cars, but the recyclable material is still slowly making its way into production vehicles, so it’s anyone’s guess whether it’s a real How much does id LIFE make that will be on the road in 2025.
Truly cheap electric cars have been elusive to date (outside China, at least). Tesla spent years promising a $35,000 Model 3, but didn’t fully deliver on that promise. (Its cheapest cars now cost around $40,000.) The latest electric Mini starts at around $30,000, and a few other EVs like the Hyundai Kona and Chevy Bolt are approaching that price tag—though they both have massively priced EVs. But have also dealt with the memories of the LG batteries around which they are built. Every major automaker has a new EV or two (or three) coming out in the next few years, but VW is probably the best bet for making something as affordable and capable as it promises with the id Life.