Volkswagen’s second model in its standalone all-electric ID range has been revealed in error by the Chinese government as the car company fights for dominance in an electric car market largely associated with rival Tesla.
Leaked pictures of the production-ready ID.4 SUV have been posted online after they were issued by VW to China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology – a process that all car firms must follow to gain type approval for models in the country.
Camouflaged pictures of the 311-mile range EV were shown by the Volkswagen back in March, though these new images reveal the full detail of how it will look when it hits showrooms in 2021.
The Volkswagen model is the latest entry in the carmaker’s bid to dominate the electric vehicle market, as it is investing almost $37 billion, the most of any car manufacturer.
Leaked: Images that had been uploaded to a Chinese government website have been revealed online showing the full exterior of Volkswagen’s forthcoming ID.4 electric SUV
The Tesla Model Y is unveiled at the company’s design studio in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019
The Tesla Model Y, which can be ordered now, is slightly larger and expected to be more expensive than the Volkswagen ID.4
The ID.4 is expected to compete with rival Tesla’s Model Y all-electric luxury SUV, although the model by Elon Musk’s company may be more expensive than the ID.4 is anticipated to be.
Details of the German car maker’s next-generation electric family car have been leaked to a Canadian VW forum VWIDTalk.com.
Documentation submitted alongside images of the ID.4 confirm the car will measure in at 180.8 inches long, 72.9 inches wide and 64 inches high.
In contrast, the Tesla Model Y is larger with a measurement of 187 inches in length. The electric SUV, which can be ordered now, also rises to 64 inches high but is wider than the ID.4 at 76 inches.
The final ID.4 was due to be showcased for the first time at this year’s New York Auto Show, which had been rescheduled from April due to coronavirus and due to take place from August 29 before the event was scrapped entirely.
The pictures show the production-ready car with badges in place and mounting points ready for registration plates to be fitted
Images show the car from all angles and the different wheel options that will be available when it goes on sale next year
Tesla virtually owned the electric car market in the United States in 2019, with 78% of the market. Worldwide, the company sold some 368,000 electric cars compared to Volkswagen’s 144,000 sold, according to Business Insider.
But Volkswagen has a goal of manufacturing 28 million electric vehicles by 2028. It will spend more than $12 billion specifically on the Volkswagen brand and expects to produce 1 million electric vehicles annually by 2023.
Tesla, meanwhile, sells a fraction of cars that Volkswagen does overall and had only 10 per cent of Volkswagen’s revenue last year, as the latter carmaker has a dozen other profitable models, Business Insider reported.
Tesla projects sales of $500,000 cars this year, which would be a 36% increase over its 2019 balance sheet.
The ID.4 is expected to be a huge hit across markets in Europe, China and the US, following in the footsteps of the Golf-sized ID.3, which is due to arrive with first customers from September this year.
The leaked pictures expose the design, with slim LED headlamps linked by a lightbar across the front end,
The tip of the bonnet is flatter than that of the ID.3, giving the car the bulky look you’d expect from a mid-size SUV.
Unlike the smaller hatchback, the ID.4 won’t feature a glass tailgate but will have a full-width LED tail lightbar similar to the one up front..
The new images also reveal the choice of alloy wheel designs across different specifications and options.
This is one of the latest ‘official’ images of the Volkswagen ID.4 – a spacious family SUV with a range of 311 miles between charges – before the leaked picture emerged online
No prices have been confirmed or even hinted as yet, though with the ID.3 hatchback – which is around the same size as a VW Golf – priced from around $37,000, it’s certainly going to be a premium on top of that.
In contrast, the Tesla Model Y’s Long Range model starts at $45,690 and its Performance model is priced at $56,690.
What we do know for sure is that the ID.4 will have a maximum range of 500km, which works out at 311 miles. That’s a tad shorter range than the Model Y, which tops out at 316 miles.
According to a recent poll by website DrivingElectric, one in three UK motorists in the market for an electric car said they a minimum expectation for their next vehicle to cover similar mileage between charges.
The pre-production model was revealed in March ahead of the official launch due in August
Few details of the car have been released by VW, but from what we know it could be a big hit in the UK
Feedback from 250 drivers who already want to buy an electric car found that 37 per cent of the – fairly limited – sample wanted a 300-mile range to entice them to buy a pure EV, meaning the ID.4 should fit the bill.
And with SUV sales up another 12 per cent in 2019, the boxy VW could tick all the right boxes for the UK market.
VW has also confirmed it will initially be launched with rear-wheel drive only, though an all-wheel drive version will be added to the range at a later date.
Like the ID.3, the high-voltage battery will be positioned in the chassis for better weight distribution and to keep the center of gravity low.
This should also keep the cabin floor relatively flat and provide lots of interior space.
It will be similar in size to the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan
VW confirmed it will initially be launched with rear-wheel drive, though an all-wheel drive version will be added to the range at a later date
As for the cockpit, there will be a fully digital dashboard and instruments with touch pads to control functionality – as well as the latest version of VW’s own intuitive voice control.
Remaining details for performance and specification are being kept under wraps, though quite a lot about the design can be understood from the camouflaged bodywork.
For instance, it will retain the trademark daytime running lights of the ID family, with the LED headlights and an almost entirely enclosed grille similar to the smaller 3.
It will have a conventional hatched boot lid, while the charging port will be over the rear arch, like the fuel filler cap on a conventional VW SUV.
Volkswagen said the ID.4 and ID.3 represent ‘important milestones in the brand’s bid to become entirely carbon-neutral by 2050’, which is in line with the Paris climate agreement.
‘Plans have been put in place to reduce the Volkswagen fleet’s CO2-emissions by a third by as early as 2025,’ it said in an official statement.
The VW ID.3 is due in UK showrooms in the summer, with the assembly line in full force at the production home in Zwickau, Germany
Newly-built ID.3 electric cars stand parked at the Volkswagen factory at the beginning of last month
To keep the ID range styling familiar, the 4 (right) shares a lot of the same design cues as the smaller 3 (left). This includes the headlight cluster and blocked-out grille
‘Volkswagen is currently investing one billion euro to electrify its model range while also offering an increasing number of hybrid vehicles,’ the German marque added.
‘This is based on the fact that, just like electric powertrains, new mild and plug-in hybrid drives in large-scale product lines such as the all-conquering Golf will significantly help to reduce fleet emissions in the future.’
With everything we know about the ID.4 so far, it’s likely to be a popular EV model for the increasing number of drivers looking to make the switch from internal combustion engined cars.
When ID.4 does arrive, it will also go head-to-head with the well-regarded Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro, both of which have claimed ranges in the region of 280 miles – though more realistic measurements show they are able to cover between 250 and 260 miles on a full charge under normal driving conditions.
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