VW teases new I.D. Concept electric car ahead of Detroit

We saw the I.D. Concept, an electric hatchback about the size of a Golf, last fall at the Paris Motor Show. Prior to that, we saw the Budd-e Concept, a VW Microbus-inspired electric van, early this year at the Consumer Electronics Show. Now VW is teasing a new I.D. family model that will be unveiled in January at the Detroit auto show.

Could this second I.D. Concept be the Microbus of the I.D. lineup? It sure appears so.

Three factors lead us to believe this second I.D. Concept is a van. First, VW says it has a mutli-functional, flexible interior. Second, the company claims it “forges links between the legendary origins of the Volkswagen brand and its electrifying future.” And third, that teaser shot, which we think is a front view, sure looks like a throwback to an old VW bus.

Here’s what we know. The I.D. shares the same MEB (Modular Electric Drive) platform as the I.D. hatchback we saw in Paris. However, it has two motors instead of one and all-wheel drive instead of rear-wheel drive. VW claims a long electric driving range, but isn’t providing any numbers. The I.D. hatchback is due for production by 2020. A second vehicle like this one could follow soon thereafter.

Volkswagen also says the I.D. Concept will be set up for fully autonomous driving in the future. Drivers will be able to press the VW logo and the steering wheel will retract and disappear into the dashboard. Laser scanners, cameras, and ultrasonic and radar sensors, will then monitor the surroundings and other vehicles to help pilot the vehicle safely.

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