Automotive

VW ID. Life previews $24,000 everyman electric hatchback

VW ID. Life previews $24,000 e...
Both the hood and roof panel are made from a lightweight "air chamber textile" developed from recycled PET bottles
Both the hood and roof panel are made from a lightweight "air chamber textile" developed from recycled PET bottles
View 17 Images
Both the hood and roof panel are made from a lightweight "air chamber textile" developed from recycled PET bottles
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Both the hood and roof panel are made from a lightweight "air chamber textile" developed from recycled PET bottles
Volkswagen premieres the ID. Life at the new IAA Mobility show in Munich
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Volkswagen premieres the ID. Life at the new IAA Mobility show in Munich
A classic square hatchback electrified and readied for the near future
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A classic square hatchback electrified and readied for the near future
Volkswagen clears out the dashboard area but adds in a retractable projection screen
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Volkswagen clears out the dashboard area but adds in a retractable projection screen
The ID. Life debuts a new small front-wheel drive variant of Volkswagen's MEB architecture
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The ID. Life debuts a new small front-wheel drive variant of Volkswagen's MEB architecture
Charging hardware in a flip-up front compartment
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Charging hardware in a flip-up front compartment
Volkswagen plans to launch a small, entry-level car like the ID. Life by 2025
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Volkswagen plans to launch a small, entry-level car like the ID. Life by 2025
The ID. Life's front and rear lighting is integrated neatly into the bodywork
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The ID. Life's front and rear lighting is integrated neatly into the bodywork
Volkswagen intends to launch the production variant for between 20,000 and 25,000 euros
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Volkswagen intends to launch the production variant for between 20,000 and 25,000 euros
The quirky VW ID.
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The quirky VW ID. Life is aimed at a youthful demographic
A steering wheel touch panel provides control, and the driver's smartphone serves as an info-nav screen
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A steering wheel touch panel provides control, and the driver's smartphone serves as an info-nav screen
It appears the phone attaches magnetically
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It appears the phone attaches magnetically
The ID. Life doesn't end its duties at the parking lot, working as a cinema and gaming room
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The ID. Life doesn't end its duties at the parking lot, working as a cinema and gaming room
Sit up like a theater or fold the benches and lie down
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Sit up like a theater or fold the benches and lie down
The dashboard projection screen keeps the VW ID. Life party going
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The dashboard projection screen keeps the VW ID. Life party going
The specks of blue are recycled wood chips in the white paint, meant to add texture and color
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The specks of blue are recycled wood chips in the white paint, meant to add texture and color
Volkswagen refers to reinterpreted crossover proportions, but it looks mostly like an old-school five-door hatchback to us
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Volkswagen refers to reinterpreted crossover proportions, but it looks mostly like an old-school five-door hatchback to us
View gallery - 17 images

The US$40,000 Volkswagen ID.4 is a practical electric vehicle many drivers can embrace, but without government incentives it's still rather high-priced compared to the ICE competition. Volkswagen plans to go downmarket, though, previewing an entry-level compact electric hatchback with its all-new ID. Life. The concept car has modernized-classic hatchback proportions, a digitized stare, electric front-wheel drive and a targeted price tag as low as $24,000.

Styling-wise, Volkswagen hits the mark with massaged throwback proportions colored in by contemporary technology. The sharp lines and angles throughout elicit memories of Volkswagen Golf I and II models, while inset illumination, rounded corners and sustainable materials bring onlookers back to the present day. The ID. Life very much reminds us of an even simpler, more angular take on the Honda e, and Volkswagen makes a point to pare down exterior styling to the basics, deleting any ornamentation that doesn't serve an essential function.

Volkswagen refers to reinterpreted crossover proportions, but it looks mostly like an old-school five-door hatchback to us
Volkswagen refers to reinterpreted crossover proportions, but it looks mostly like an old-school five-door hatchback to us

Underneath its modernized-retro skin, the 161-inch-long (409-cm) ID. Life stands on a new version of VW's MEB all-electric architecture adapted for small cars. It's the first MEB vehicle equipped with a front-wheel drive, pairing a 231-hp electric motor with a 57-kWh high-voltage battery pack for up to 249 miles (400 km, WLTP) of range and comfortable 6.9-second 0-62 mph (100 km/h) acceleration. That range is modest for a vehicle that won't hit streets for years but probably enough for a car meant to spend most of its time in the city.

"The ID. Life is our vision of next-generation fully electric urban mobility," says VW CEO Ralf Brandstätter. "The concept car provides a preview of an ID. model in the small car segment that we will be launching in 2025, priced at around 20,000 euros [approx. US$23,700]. This means we are making electric mobility accessible to even more people. In creating the ID. Life, we have consistently focused on the needs of younger customers."

The dashboard projection screen keeps the VW ID. Life party going
The dashboard projection screen keeps the VW ID. Life party going

With those younger customers in mind, VW posits that ID. Life drivers won't be concerned only with connecting points A and B but also with having "communal experiences" on wheels. VW turns the interior below the removable air-chamber textile roof panel into a multipurpose lounge that serves as a mini-cinema and gaming room. A retractable projection screen pulls up from the dashboard to work with the included projector and video game console. The front and rear benches, meanwhile, fold down for watching movies or gaming as if in one's own bedroom. The 6.6-foot-long (2-m) bed even teases the possibility of the ID. Life becoming the world's tiniest VW urban micro-camper.

The projector system absorbs some of the functions of the absent infotainment touchscreen, and the driver's smartphone takes on others, mounting to the dashboard for tasks like navigation and vehicle information. Volkswagen further streamlines the cockpit by eliminating the hard controls and centering a compact curved touchscreen inside the steering wheel.

A steering wheel touch panel provides control, and the driver's smartphone serves as an info-nav screen
A steering wheel touch panel provides control, and the driver's smartphone serves as an info-nav screen

We don't suspect gaming consoles or projector systems will be standard or optional equipment at VW dealerships anytime soon, but an ID. Life-inspired car will make its way to market as VW looks to rapidly multiply its electric offerings. It plans for EVs to make up 70 percent of total European sales and 50 percent of Chinese and American sales by 2030.

Europe is a safe bet, but Volkswagen's announcement does not indicate what other markets in which the ID. Life will be sold. VW has a few years to make that decision, though. For now, the model is on show at the IAA Mobility show in Munich, where it made its world premiere.

Source: Volkswagen

View gallery - 17 images
12 comments
12 comments
CAVUMark
Yeah, right. A bed and a fold down screen for "communal experiences", what parent in their right mind will lend this car to their teenage son/daughter. We used to make our own experince in a Chevy Van, "and that's all right with me".
The deerhunter
"But not our grand children" I hear a few million legacy Chevy van owners say!!!!
The deerhunter
A lot can happen before 2025. I will try to remember this in 2026 and see how the real ID Life matches up.
paul314
A gig worker could go with a car payment instead of apartment rent, and use the car for taxi/delivery work during the day. Sounds perfect for the future.
HAL
The headline says it's a hatchback but none of the photos show the the rear or interior with the hatchback open!
Suzanne B
Looks like a Mini in disguise.
nick101
Why not buy a car like this and lease the (removable) battery pack? That way you could get a cheap (under $10,000) car, and you would only pay for electricity used.
Jinpa
Reading a display on a rotating steering wheel would be difficult at best. The mockup doesn't show Adaptive Cruise Control aspects, without which this vehicle would be a dud. Vaporwear until production models hit the showroom floors, but the price would be a winner.
TomLeeM
I think that is neat looking. Like in the article, it does remind me of the Honda E. I am old and remember cars not costing so much. I remember the price of an air cooled VW Beetle being under 2000 dollars.
ljaques
Between the dipwad hood/roof, the control pedals, and the steering wheel, VW just lost half their potential sales. (Not everyone is 18.)
What's the warranty, 7 days or the life of the working parts?
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