Electric cars are already a smorgasbord of new and exciting tech, but this new concept car from VW takes it to a whole new level. That’s why it includes fancy features like a games console and even a projector.
Revealed at the IAA Mobility show in Munich to present the ‘Accelerate’ strategy, which involves making sustainable vehicles more accessible by 2025, the VW.LIFE is part of a VW mission to launch more electric vehicles.
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The ID.LIFE is a preview of a next-generation ID car, set to launch in the small car segment in the near future. Though with this being a concept, that car is presumably going to look quite different. Still, it’s a vision of what the future could have in store for EVs.
The Accelerate strategy emphasizes sustainability, so it’s no surprise that the ID.LIFE’s body will be made up from sustainable and recycled materials. That includes wood, recycled PET bottles, and tires made from a mix of bio-oil, natural rubber and rice husks.
But if the electric car industry has shown anything over the past decade, taking a more sustainable and eco-conscious approach doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice performance. So inside the ID.LIFE is a 57 kWh battery that offers around 249 miles of WLTP range. It can recoup 101 miles in just ten minutes when hooked up to a DC rapid charger.
Engine-wise we’re talking a 172kW (around 230hp) electric motor that can hit 62 miles per hour in 6.2 seconds. Top speed is around 112 mph. The car is also front wheel drive, and VW says it’s the first one based on the modular electric car drive matrix (MEB).
None of that is particularly ground-breaking, but then that’s not the point of the ID.LIFE. Those specs are exactly what you’d want in a car you only for daily driving, not long trips. Thankfully it does include room for all your stuff, with 45.3 cubic feet of total storage space. That's not SUV-level cargo space, but it's still quite a lot of space to fill.
But the ID.LIFE really shines thanks to the technology inside the cabin, some of which has been taking a bit of inspiration from the competition — Tesla in particular.
You’ll notice that the ID.LIFE doesn’t have wing mirrors, because VW has replaced all the interior and exterior mirrors with a camera system. There’s also a Tesla-style yoke steering wheel that includes a touchpad for controlling various in-car features.
On top of that is a retractable projector screen that comes out of the dash panel, and can be used to play the car’s built-in games console. It’s a pretty hefty screen too, covering almost the entirety of your windscreen.
The interior seats are also built to accommodate this screen, with the option to fold completely flat so you can sit back and enjoy what’s on screen. Or use them as a bed; whatever you need at the time. You know, the kind of stuff you absolutely don’t need if you only need a car to drive from A to B.
Sadly that’s the kind of feature you likely won’t get on an ID.LIFE-inspired production car. Especially considering VW is aiming to make this an entry-level vehicle. Though that's the most important point to consider, more so than any tech or fancy design features Volkswagen can show off at a motoring show.
The ID.LIFE represents VW’s commitment to making electric cars more affordable. VW has even promised that when the production model of this car goes on sale, the starting price will be a mere €20,000. That converts to $23,758 right now, making this a seriously cheap car.
For reference, the cheapest electric car on sale in the United States is the 2022 Nissan Leaf, which starts at just $27,400. The VW ID.3, the automaker’s current cheapest EV that isn’t coming to the U.S., starts at €35,460 in Europe. In other words, VW is very invested in slashing the price of entry.
But being a concept, and with that low price point in mind, it’s worth remembering that the production model is going to look very different. Sadly, we don’t know how different, and we’re going to have to wait until 2025 before this car hits the road.