Volkswagen ID.6 Readied for China, Perhaps North America


Unveiled at the Shanghai auto show, Volkswagen’s ID.6 is reportedly ready for the Chinese market as the manufacture strives to present itself as an EV firm. Originally known as the spacious ID Roomzz concept, the three-row crossover will be the VW’s largest product on the Asian market and come in two distinct flavors — each the offspring of separate joint ventures required by the Chinese government.

The ID.6 Crozz (shown in orange) will be produced at the FAW-Volkswagen facility in Foshan while SAIC Volkswagen will be responsible for manufacturing the ID.6 X (purple) at its plant in Anting, near Shanghai. Regardless of which model customers go with Volkswagen is promising a vehicle “tailored specifically to the needs and wishes of Chinese customers in terms of space, functionality, design and, in particular, user experience.” While we may eventually see a version of the ID.6 coming to North America, China is Volkswagen’s largest individual market and ranks higher in the manufacturer’s list of priorities. 

Despite using VW’s increasingly common MEB platform, the ID.6 was intentionally designed with the Chinese market in mind from the outset. This includes its overall dimensions, which have skewed larger for customers in the region with a bit more spending cash than the average Chinese customer. While there are some slight variances between models, both ID.6 crossovers should be 192 inches long to help facilitate the optional third row — making for a vehicle that can seat seven.

Range is also supposed to be excellent at a claimed 365 miles using China’s NEDC testing cycle. Of course, that’s using the larger 77.0 kWh battery pack and testing metrics that aren’t nearly as conservative (realistic) as what’s deployed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The same vehicle operating in North America would probably tap out closer to 255 miles, which might further explain why VW is hesitating to send the ID.6 our way.

There’s also a smaller 58.0 kWh battery option that’s supposed to be capable of 270 miles (NEDC), which we would estimate somewhere around 190 miles of range. But these are just mathematical assumptions based on previous disparities between NEDC and EPA test results, with Europe’s preferred WLTP testing cycle typically splitting the difference.

Propulsion comes by way of either a 132 or 150 kW motor driving the rear wheels or the 4Motion, dual-motor configuration boasting a combined 225 kW and all-wheel drive. VW claimed the latter option can launch the ID.6 past 62 mph in just 6.6 seconds, though all of the crossovers will be limited to just 99 mph. The single-engine models take at least 9 seconds to reach 62 mph, which isn’t all that shocking since the lightest version of the crossover weighs 5,026 pounds.

The interior shows us what we’ve come to expect from Volkswagen’s ID-branded products. It’s spacious and minimalist to a point some will find polarizing. While many drivers seem to really enjoy a basic, no-frills interior that’s heavily reliant on the centrally mounted touch screen, others see it as cheap-looking and less intuitive than something offering more physical controls. Of course, VW isn’t going to leave customers hanging on some of the really eye-catching stuff. The ID.6 can have its panoramic glass roof converted into something retractable and there’s going to be a glut of new infotainment features and connectivity features — including some that are exclusive for the Chinese market.

While that might encourage you to imagine a button that allows you to report your neighbor for speaking out against the government, VW said it was actually focused upon allowing drivers to check air quality or digitally track the number of tickets they’ve been issued by authorities. It also is upgrading its voice-command system, going to great lengths to make sure it’s been tweaked perfectly for the market.

Automotive News recently stated that a VW spokesperson citing that a version could arrive for North America eventually. But we’ve heard from a couple of knowledgeable engineers that the manufacturer has been working on a separate MEB product that’s supposed to fill a similar niche as the ID.6 in our region. From the sound of things, it’ll be a little bigger and more SUV-like (think Atlas) and could be delayed until the company finds a way to improve range or come exclusively with the larger battery pack.

But that doesn’t seem terribly important to Volkswagen at present. It’s focused on building up its EV lineup in China so it can continue selling cars there.

“With the new ID.6, we are laying the foundations for at least 50 percent of our cars sold in China being electric by 2030,” Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter said in the release. “We are maintaining momentum and gradually increasing our range of MEB cars: By 2023, Volkswagen will have a total of eight ID. models in China, making MEB nationwide there. The economies of scale that we have achieved allow us to offer the latest technology at an affordable price — and thus further expand our electric offensive.”

The ID.6 Crozz and ID.6 X will be on display at the Shanghai Auto Show this month and available to view in person since it’s not going to be one of those horrendous virtual events that started becoming popular last year.

[Images: Volkswagen Group]

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