With its I.D., I.D. Buzz (pictured), and I.D. Crozz concepts, Volkswagen has already teased some intriguing ideas for how it might take a portion of its lineup in an all-electric direction. Together, they’re more than auto-show concoctions or vaporware; it’s quite likely that multiple variants of the I.D. family will be produced and that several versions will find their way to the U.S. market, as the California portion of Volkswagen’s diesel-emissions settlement has some interesting language: a requirement for several new, distinct electric-vehicle models.
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A presentation slide, recently leaked from a dealer meeting in Germany and obtained by the Dutch website Autoblog.nl, outlines five models in a proposed I.D. family as part of a new-product rollout that would happen from 2019 through 2022.
According to that presentation, an I.D. small car would be bound for Europe only, while a coupelike crossover variant, the I.D. Cross, would be sold in Europe and China. They would be followed by two models bound for the United States and China, the Lounge and the AEROe, neither of which has even been teased yet as a concept.
The I.D. Lounge seems to be a more upright crossover, likely with four doors; the second is the I.D. AEROe, seemingly a low-slung sporty car. At the far end of the I.D. chronology sits the I.D. Buzz—the quirky, well-received spaceship-meets-Microbus concept from this year’s Detroit auto show. That model has recently been confirmed as production bound, although, as the presentation points out, it might not arrive until 2022, and Volkswagen hasn’t yet decided on markets.
An I.D. Directive?
The California Partial Consent Decree, established in December 2016 as part of the emissions settlement, specifies that Volkswagen must offer at least three all-electric vehicles in California in the future—in a very specific timeline, actually. One of those could be the e-Golf or its replacement, but the requirements specify one all-electric sport-utility vehicle during or before 2019—and two all-electric models on sale from the automaker by the end of 2019. By the end of 2020, California requires another all-electric SUV, for a total of three models with no fuel tanks or tailpipes.
But wait, there’s more. The California language requires that those models be sold in the state through 2025, and it requires a total of 35,000 of the three new nameplates combined to be sold from 2019 through 2025. If VW introduces any other all-electric vehicle within that time window, it must sell that model in California at least through 2025.
A Volkswagen of America spokesperson couldn’t provide additional comment but did confirm that the California agreement has cinched up the timeline for VW’s electric vehicles.
China’s electric-vehicle mandate is proving to be another key driver for EV product plans. As Reuters reported, a credit system requires plug-in vehicles in China to represent the equivalent of 8 percent of sales by 2018, 10 percent by 2019, and 12 percent by 2020—with no exceptions for foreign automakers. In other words, regulators on both sides of the Pacific are strong-arming Wolfsburg toward a much more electrified future.