Volkswagen has provided a hint at its upcoming big electric SUV with the public debut of the I.D. Roomzz concept in Shanghai. The forerunner of a production car due in 2021, the vehicle has some nice concept touches, including remarkable double sliding doors either side and a disappearing dash.
Conceived as a semi-autonomous lounge on wheels, the horribly named I.D. Roomzz concept is a beefy-looking vehicle with some oddly attractive lines riding high above the wheel arches and funky integrated lighting front and rear.
Sliding doors are commonplace in vans and people movers, but we haven't seen them before in this kind of SUV – and we certainly haven't seen them used for both front and rear doors. The I.D. Roomzz looks bizarre when it's all opened up, the front doors seeming to hover in mid-air. But access to the seats looks amazing, and you could park this thing in tight spaces without having to worry about banging doors with the car next to you. Mind you, the car next to you would totally bang your doors, so that's pretty much a moot point – and we'd be surprised to see this kind of feature go through to the production model.
The fully electric drive system uses a motor on each axle for a total output of 225 kW (302 hp), giving a 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 6.6 seconds and a limited top speed around 180 km/h (112 mph). An 82-kWh battery gives a 450-km (280-mile) range on the tough WLTP standard, and it can accept fast DC charge rates up to 150 kW for 30-minute 0-80 percent charging.
For a segment of car that's normally built for families, it's interesting that VW has chosen to fit this concept car with just four seats, and that's to demonstrate a social aspect of the machine. The I.D. Roomzz has level 4 self-driving autonomy – purely imaginary at this stage, of course – and when you switch it to "I.D. Pilot" mode you can rotate the seats 25 degrees inwards to make the cabin a better place for conversations, or recline the seats way back so you can catch some Zs.
The concept doesn't get a traditional dash. Instead, information is presented via a HUD and a screen embedded in the steering wheel, giving a clean and futuristic look to the cabin. Like Tesla's "Bioweapon Defense Mode," the I.D. Roomzz will roll with a CleanAir filtration system to let the car's occupants breathe easy even when air quality is terrible outside. That's a pertinent inclusion for a car launched in smog-choked Shanghai, where the public will get its first look at this thing at the Auto Shanghai show between April 18-26.
This concept heralds a production car due to launch in 2021, headed first to China and then to the rest of the world. Which of these concept touches will be echoed in the production machine? Probably not many, but it's still a nice look forward at what VW wants to do with its I.D. range, and a snapshot of the auto industry as it navigates the awkward transition between traditional manually driven cars and fully self-driving JohnnyCab pods.
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