Say hello to the Volkswagen ID. Life, a fully electric entry-level city car that was unveiled for the first time at the IAA Mobility 2021 show in Munich. Besides being a car, Volkswagen said it can double up as a mini cinema or gaming centre, or simply be used as a space to unwind in nature. Do kids these days dream of cars like this?
Unlike the range of ID cars that came before it, the design of the ID. Life is more pared-down, reminiscent of the award-winning Honda e, even. The concept is still in its early stages, but key to its design is the two-tone paintwork, which creates a clear division between sheet metal and glass. Volkswagen says this contributes to its purist appearance, but when you want to take things a little slow, the roof (made of air chamber textile) can be removed, turning it into a convertible.
It’s also sustainably made. For example, the colouring of the clear coat is derived from wood chips, and the hardening agent is bio-based. The roof and front cover is made completely from recycled PET bottles, while the entire lower section of the dashboard and rear seat surrounds are made from real wood.
Seat surfaces and door trims are upholstered in sustainably-made ArtVelours Eco microfibre, whereas the tyres are made from a mix of bio-oil, natural rubber and rice husks.
Those interested in the gaming and mini cinema function will be glad to know that the car is fitted with a video game console and projector. When watching a movie, the brake and throttle pedals work as media control “buttons,” though the likelihood of this making it to production is really low. You know, for safety reasons.
Other electronics, such as a computer can be connected via a 230-volt, 16-amp power socket. In line with most futuristic concepts, the seating design is flexible. Both the front and rear seats can be completely folded down, ultimately creating a bed (or cargo space) that measures two metres in length.
Cameras replace the wing and rear-view mirrors, and the steering yoke (is this really a thing now?) grants quick access to essential driving functions. There’s no infotainment display, if you hadn’t noticed. That’s because your smartphone or tablet can be affixed to the dash, but fret not, your music, films, and games can all be seamlessly displayed on the projection screen.
Now, let’s talk performance. The ID. Life is based on a more compact version of Volkswagen’s MEB platform, and it’s the first front-wheel drive MEB-based model. A single 172 kW (234 PS) motor powers the front axle, allowing it to sprint from standstill to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds. Its 57 kWh high-voltage battery is said to offer up to 400 km of range on the WLTP cycle.
Thomas Ulbrich, member of the Volkswagen brand board of management for development, said: “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. 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.”
There’s no official word on pricing, but the Wolfsburg automaker is targeting a starting price of 20,000 euros (RM98k) for its entry-level EVs, such as the ID. Life. It attributes affordability as a crucial step towards full electric mobility. By 2030, the company expects EVs to make up 70% of all European sales, and 50% in the US and China.
Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstatter said: “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.”
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