2016 Paris Motor Show: Volkswagen ID revealed

THE Volkswagen ID will be the first VW-badged vehicle to drive itself.

The German premium carmaker unveiled its cutting-edge autonomous electric vehicle overnight, ahead of today’s opening of the Paris Motor Show.

But the biggest news is that going green while sitting behind the wheel of a VW-badged ID won’t cost the earth; the carmaker has flagged the production version of the ID will cost about the same as a diesel-engined Golf, meaning it should land at around $36,000 if it ever gets here.

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According to Volkswagen, the ID starts the company’s countdown to a new era. It’s the first of what it says will be a fleet of VW-badged electric vehicles, and should arrive around 2020 with a real-world driving range of 400-600km. However, VW has flagged the self-driving version of the ID still has a way to go, saying it expects the technology to be ready by 2025, five years after the ID is slated to go on sale.

"Our future will be electric and fully connected. We will target new competitors like Tesla, Apple and others," said Volkswagen Chairman Herbert Diess at the Paris Motor Show.

"VW is gearing up to sell 1 million electric cars by 2025. Our goal is to become the global market leader in electric cars. To make that happen we have started the greatest change process in VW history."

"It will be a real people's car. It will come at the price of a Golf diesel. Market launch will be in 2020."

It also heralds that Volkswagen will turn a corner for its electric vehicle range in terms of design, creating a separate identity for the brand that will allow its battery-powered range to stand out from the conventionally engined ones.

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The ID is built on VW’s all-new Modular Electric Drive Kit, and driven by a 125kW electric motor, giving it the same amount of power as a conventionally engined Volkswagen Golf.

It will drive like a normal car and be fitted with a steering wheel that will retract into the dashboard once the car switches to its ‘ID Pilot’ autonomous mode, Volkswagen says.

Volkswagen has rapidly reinvented itself in the wake of the Dieselgate emissions scandal that has rocked the company, pushing the idea that it now wants to be a world leader in the development of electric vehicles.

It has also taken a shot at the highly US-centric hold on the development of autonomous cars, saying Europe needs to set up a similar hub in competition.

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Volkswagen’s global chief, Matthias Mueller, said the VW ID concept was part of his goal to “reinvent this automobile group with its rich heritage, to transform it into a globally leading provider of sustainable mobility”.

However, he said VW would continue to roll out conventionally engined cars alongside the battery-powered ones.

“The future is electric,” Mueller said. “Nevertheless, classic powertrains will continue to play a key role for the next two decades at least. We must and we will press ahead with the evolution of diesel and petrol engines.

“And at the same time, we will progress with alternative technologies.”

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