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Volkswagen ID1 supermini due to launch in 2023

Added: 13 January 2021

The Volkswagen Group is set to launch an MEB-based, pure-electric supermini within the next three years. It will be called the ID1 and will be of a similar size to the Volkswagen Polo, although the packaging benefits of the electric underpinnings could mean it will as much interior space as a car from the class above.

After launch, the Volkswagen ID1 will be a direct competitor to the Peugeot e-208 and the Vauxhall Corsa-e. A starting price of around £20,000 is rumoured.

Last year, the Volkswagen Group confirmed that it was developing an MEB entry family, which will use a more cost-focused version of the firm’s MEB platform that will underpin cars that will be around four metres long. It’s likely that the ID1 will be joined by a new B-segment crossover, based on the same underpinnings.

SEAT has been appointed by the brand to lead the development of these two entry-level MEB models. The project could also deliver similar packaging gains as the ID3, potentially producing small electric superminis with the same inside space as a Golf.

The project will also need to make some significant savings over the MEB platform, in order to make the finished cars financially viable. Just a small amount of improvement on the MEB, for example, on the costs, won’t be enough for what is needed for a small battery-electric car.

There are still very few official details available on Volkswagen’s Polo-sized electric hatchback, but there have been some hints dropped by Volkswagen executives about the future might hold for their plans.

Dr Frank Welsh, the Volkswagen Group’s board member for technical development, has provided a potential solution for the problem of the price. He has discussed how using less powerful electric motors and further advancements in battery technology could lead to a reduction in cost. These adaptions should help Volkswagen to meet the expected entry figure of £20,000.

Battery technology and electrochemistry tend to bring improvements every two to three years. In the case of a smaller MEB entry, this is unlikely to happen before 2023, so there will have been at least some improvements by then, allowing Volkswagen to make a car that is financially viable.

Another option could be designing a smaller concept, with a vehicle that doesn’t need a range of 500km, or where they cannot afford a battery capacity of 80kHw. This could be possible, especially with how technology should improve over the next three years.

Volkswagen appears to be happy with the tech that they have in place for the wave of ID, but they are now working to look at how costs can be brought down. To do this, they will have to consider every part of the vehicle in order to make significant savings.

The ID1 will be the smallest ID in a line-up of electric cars, build around seven main models. The next one up, the ID2, will be the rival to the Renault Zoe and Peugeot e-208. A high-performance R version of the ID3 hatch is also expected. Next is the ID4, based on the ID Crozz concept.

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