Volkswagen’s high expectations for the consistent and fate-determining electric offensive seem to be met. The compact hopefuls ID.3 immediately became a bestseller among e-cars. Although it was a few months late due to software problems and could only be delivered from September 2020, it was already leading the Europe-wide registration figures a month later.
In December, with almost 28,000 units sold, it was even in second place in terms of overall registrations and thus overtook almost all established models with combustion engines from scratch. Even the eternal VW bestseller Golf only had a lead of around 2,000 cars. And the more pleasantly drawn ID.4 SUV also got off to a successful start, as expected. As the magazine Auto Motor und Sport reported, the first batch of around 27,000 cars of the electric Tiguan alternative was sold out at the end of January, just a few weeks after the market launch.
VW is thinking out loud about an ID.3 convertible
In view of the success of the electric mass-produced models, the Wolfsburg-based company would now like to expand into niche segments as well. Ralf Brandstätter, the brand boss at VW, recently posted a promising design sketch of an ID.3 convertible on LinkedIn and at the same time asked the community for their opinion on an open version of the electric car. Herbert Diess, the CEO of the VW Group, repeated this action, but at the same time published an additional drawing that shows the car from a different perspective and asked in his tweet also about the feedback from his followers. The reaction was largely positive in both social networks. For some commentators, however, the design was not sporty enough.
The next few years will show whether VW will actually bring the ID.3 convertible into series production. The Wolfsburg-based company would definitely fill a gap in the market with the model. With the Smart EQ fortwo Cabrio and the new Fiat 500 Cabrio, there are already open Stromers, but the two small cars are two classes lower and are therefore hardly comparable. The concept of an open electric car makes perfect sense: Thanks to the lack of engine noise, you should be particularly aware of the background noise of nature.
Furthermore, compact convertibles have a long tradition at VW. In 1949, the Lower Saxony company first launched a fresh-air version of the Beetle manufactured by Karmann, which was replaced thirty years later by the equally successful Golf Cabrio. In 2016, however, the Wolfsburg-based company phased out the open version of the sixth generation Golf without a direct successor. The carmaker had already stopped production of the slightly larger convertible model Eos a year earlier. Since 2020 there has been a VW with a fabric roof again, but the T-Roc Cabrio is an SUV with a significantly higher seating position and a completely different character.
What will happen to the rest of the ID family?
In addition to mainstream models such as the ID.3 and ID.4, Volkswagen also had more emotional e-cars on its list from the start. Originally, a leisure-oriented “Icon” model family was to be launched on the basis of the modular electrical construction kit (MEB), which was obviously a project that was close to the heart of the chief designer, Klaus Bischoff and which was supposed to appear particularly individual. In some cases, the brand has already given a first preview of the supposed series vehicles with studies.
The ID buggy was officially canceled
In 2022, an electric beach mobile in the style of the historic Meyers Manx Buggy was supposed to come onto the market. Two years ago, the Wolfsburg-based company had made people want a supposed series model with the ID Buggy concept car, which, however, was only to be produced in small numbers. And that’s exactly why the project ultimately failed. The automaker’s plants are designed exclusively for mass production. That is why the Lower Saxony had actually considered that the beach buggy should be built as a commissioned work by the Aachen-based electrical specialist E-Go Mobile. However, these plans were thwarted by the bankruptcy of the 400-man company.
Apparently no other company came into question as a production partner for the Wolfsburg-based company. The brand boss Ralf Brandstätter said in an interview with the British magazine Autocar in 2020 that VW will ultimately not build the car after all. The originally envisaged ID Ruggdzz electric off-road vehicle is also a real blow job. The edgy Land Rover Defender-style off-roader didn’t even make it past the basic design process. Instead, Volkswagen would like to focus on developing a shortened version of the MEB platform. The ID.1 and ID.2 small electric cars, which are much more suitable for the masses, could stand on this from 2025.
The retro Bulli is coming next year
It looks much better for the long-awaited reinterpretation of the VW T1 from the fifties and sixties. The electric Bulli should come onto the market next year. VW gave a first look at the design four years ago with the ID Buzz study. However, it is not yet known whether the production model will adopt the newfangled name of the concept car. According to reports, the historically inspired name E-Samba could also be considered. VW recently published a new drawing showing a prototype of the self-driving version and, for the first time, allowing more precise conclusions to be drawn about the final design. The rounded basic shape of the ID Buzz is apparently taken over into the series, but the headlights on the sketch look much more conventional than those of the concept car from 2017. According to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, the retro van will be the first series VW to be able to drive completely independently from 2025 and can be used as an autonomous taxi. A comprehensive field test is scheduled to start this year.
But Volkswagen has even more ID models in the pipeline. The series version of the ID Space Vizzion study should roll off the assembly line in Emden by 2023 at the latest. The futuristic station wagon should represent an electric alternative to the next generation of the Passat Variant. The Wolfsburg-based company is also planning an upscale electric sedan and the larger ID.5 and ID.6 SUVs. The latter will be unveiled in 2021, is roughly the size of a Touareg and designed as a seven-seater. It is primarily intended for the Chinese and American markets, but will likely come to Europe later as well.