LOS ANGELES—Buzz. Crozz. Buggy. Vizzion. And now Space Vizzion. No, I haven’t overdosed on the letter Z; those are the slightly wacky names for a series of not-at-all-wacky electric ID concept cars from Volkswagen, the newest of which was just unveiled on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
The ID Space Vizzion is the latest installment in an electrification push from one of the world’s largest automakers, one aiming to sell 20 million electric cars worldwide over the next 10 years.
Volkswagen Group had little choice but to embrace electric powertrains in the aftermath of dieselgate—the alternative would be failing to meet 2021’s European CO2 rules, which would result in billions of dollars in fines. Audi and Porsche, the two big premium brands within the group, got their battery EVs to market first. The first of these—the Audi e-tron—is mainly a stop-gap, a Q8 with batteries and two electric motors in place of the normal internal combustion engine stuff. The Porsche Taycan had an extra year to gestate, and is all the better for it, a mostly clean-sheet design that’s wowed everyone who’s driven it.
Meanwhile, over at VW (the brand, not the group) the engineers were working on MEB (, or Modular Electrification Toolkit), which it will use to build millions of BEVs over the next decade. VW has long embraced the use of modular architectures; its current MQB (, or Modular Transverse Toolkit) gives rise to such diverse cars as the VW Atlas and Audi TT-RS. And MEB should be even more flexible, as the various ID concept cars have shown.
Ignore the ID Space Vizzion’s Z-overdose name and think of it instead as an electric Passat station wagon. It’s a five-door, more practical evolution of 2018’s ID Vizzion, itself VW’s take on a Passat-sized electric sedan. But this one looks better because as we all know, wagons > sedans. I’m also impressed with how aerodynamic it is—VW told me that the Space Vizzion’s drag coefficient is just 0.24, and that’s with conventional side mirrors, too.
Between the axles there’s an 77kWh battery pack. Add that to the low-drag body, and the result is at least 300 miles on the EPA test cycle or 590km on the WLTP test, VW says. The rear wheels are driven by a 205kW (275hp), 550Nm (406lb-ft) motor, although there will be an option for all-wheel drive with a total power output of 250kW (335hp).
The fact that VW is talking about options on a concept car should give you the idea that this is one of those thinly disguised production car concepts rather than a “it’s made entirely out of clay and half the stuff in it hasn’t been invented yet” kind of concept car. In 2022 the Space Vizzion will go on sale, probably with a slightly more boring nose, almost certainly with a more boring interior, and definitely with a less Z-filled name.
If you don’t want to wait that long for an electric VW, the ID.3 hatchback is on sale in Europe, and next year here in the US we get the ID.4 crossover (which will also be built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, starting in 2022).