What's all this about?
Volkswagen is creating a futuristic electric cars brand under the I.D. banner and while we've already seen the I.D. car and I.D. Buzz microbus concepts in the last 12 months, there's a new, third addition to the line-up debuting at Auto Shanghai 2017. It's called the I.D. Crozz and it's the SUV model of the family.
Right, but it won't go into production, will it?
Au contraire. Volkswagen says the Crozz and its fellow I.D. models will be in production by 2020 and, what's more, they'll all be fully self-driving by 2025. That makes the Crozz a machine which is truly en pointe with the current (if you'll pardon the electric pun) green cars zeitgeist.
OK. Tell me more about the funky exterior detailing.
The I.D. Crozz has C-shaped LED daytime running lights and five-bar LED lamps that give the impression of open or closed eyes, depending on if the SUV is switched on or off. There's a coupe sweep to the roofline to bless it with an additional premium air and at the back is a black panel linked by more sleek LED strips. Both 'VW' badges on the car are illuminated and if the car is in self-driving mode, lights on the front and roof go magenta/violet; they're light blue if the human on board is in control of the machine. You might also notice a singular lack of shut lines or creases at the front, designed to make the car look like it is 'hewn out of a single block of aluminium', while along the sides are gigantic 21-inch wheels in the arches and rear doors that slide backwards and forwards to let people in and out.
And that incredible interior?
Minimalist, isn't it? With a 5.8-inch Active Info Display in front of the driver and a 10.2-inch tablet in the central console handling the main infotainment, there's not a great deal else to look at. Mounting the lithium-ion battery pack in the floor of the I.D. Crozz maximises interior space, to the point that Volkswagen claims this four-seat coupe-cum-SUV has as much space within as the seven-seat Tiguan Allspace. Above the occupants is a panoramic sunroof that can be lightened or darkened using a virtual 'Light Blind' managed by gesture control, while the steering wheel retracts into or emerges from the dashboard depending on the drive mode the SUV is running in. Further features include an augmented reality Head-Up Display for the driver, a CleanAir filtration system to keep conditions on board super-fresh, the User-I.D. and Digital Key that automatically tunes the car's systems to a driver's preferences and a Delivery Service.
Let's suggest you order a package online and you're not going to be at home when it's delivered. A courier can locate the I.D. Crozz via GPS and is then given temporary access to the 515-litre boot via an app. The owner is notified of the delivery via and then the boot of the car is locked with the parcel inside. No more infuriating 'We Called But You Were Out' cards from delivery companies in your letterbox ever again.
Can we get onto motive power?
That floor-packaged battery is rated at 83kWh, which is massive, but if you hook the I.D. Crozz up to a 150kW direct current charging point, Volkswagen claims the unit will be back up to 80 per cent juice levels in just half-an-hour. And if you've got a fully replete lithium-ion battery in hand, then the Crozz can go up to 312 miles on a single charge. It has two electric motors and two gearboxes, which is all integrated into the front MacPherson strut suspension and decoupled sub-frame, and the specially-designed rear multilink set-up with a similarly decoupled sub-frame - all told, weight is split nicely in a 48:52 ratio front-to-back on the electric SUV.
And what's the power like?
Intriguingly for a Volkswagen, drive goes predominantly to the back of the car in normal conditions, as that's where the more potent motor is. It delivers 150kW (or 204hp), with 310Nm of torque on tap, while up front is a 75kW (102hp)/140Nm unit. Volkswagen claims sum-of-its-parts peak system outputs (well, it does for power with 306hp, so we'll assume 450Nm by proxy) and a top speed of 112mph. Acceleration from 0-62mph isn't quoted, but it should be fairly brisk with this hardware on board, unless the I.D. Crozz weighs the same as the Moon.
So you're sure this is going to go into production?
Apparently so. Herbert Diess, chairman of the Volkswagen's board of management, said: "By 2025, we want to have sales of pure electric vehicles up to one million units a year. The I.D. Crozz will play a key role in that. Production will start in 2020."
Matt Robinson - 18 Apr 2017