While most automakers have abandoned the family-size sedan in favor of larger, higher-riding SUVs and trucks, Volkswagen is renewing its commitment with its next global EV, the ID.7, which was (partially) unveiled at CES today. The all-electric sedan, which is being positioned as a successor to the Arteon, will be the second model from VW’s ID family of electric vehicles to go on sale in the US.
As a sedan, the ID.7 has a lot going for it
As a sedan, the ID.7 has a lot going for it, including a roomy interior, impressive aerodynamics, and a healthy amount of range. An 88kWh battery is expected to propel the ID.7 to approximately 700 kilometers (434 miles) of range based on the WLTP standard. (The EPA-based range will likely be less.)
But more so than its specs, the ID.7 has the potential to make a splash as the first non-luxury electric sedan to hit the US market since the release of the Tesla Model 3 in 2017. The ID.7, which is still hiding underneath a special “digital” camouflage that can change color, will get a proper reveal in the second quarter of 2023 and will then go on sale in the US, Europe, and China sometime in 2024.
The ID.7 is based on the ID Aero concept, which was revealed last year as a model destined for production in China. Like the concept, the new EV will be built on VW’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB), which also undergirds other ID models, like the ID.4 and ID Buzz. And it will feature an ultra-low drag coefficient of 0.235, which puts it on par with the luxury electric German autos, like the BMW i4 and Mercedes-Benz EQS.
The ID.7 also has the potential to pick up the mantle from the Passat, which has struggled to keep up with the larger, heavier vehicles in VW’s lineup. The Arteon presents as a souped-up Passat, which could open the door for sportier intentions from the ID.7. Perhaps we’ll get an R-Line version somewhere down the line.
“With the new ID.7, we are extending our electric model range into the upper segments,” said Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, in a statement. “The sedan will offer top-class technology and quality. The ID.7 is one of 10 new electric models that we are planning to launch by 2026. Our goal? To deliver suitable products for our customers in every single segment.”
The ID.7 will serve as a launchpad for a host of new tech features, including a newly designed cockpit, an augmented reality heads-up display, and illuminated touch sliders. Some of those features may prove polarizing with consumers like HVAC controls integrated into the infotainment touchscreen. (Surveys show that most car owners prefer physical buttons.)
VW is hoping to take some of the sting out of removing those physical buttons by making the HVAC controls as smart as possible. The ID.7 will be able to detect when the key-carrying driver is approaching by prepping the cabin to be as comfy as possible. That means blasting the AC or cranking up the heat, depending on the temperature outside, before you get in the car.
The ID.7 will serve as a launchpad for a host of new tech features
“Smart air vents” will direct the airflow in a (hopefully) intelligent way, with the goal to distribute the air as judiciously as possible. VW is hoping to minimize the amount of swiping and tapping needed to control the HVAC by placing those controls on the main screen at all times. Drivers can also save their preferences for easy access. And a voice assistant can be activated for any tweaks that may be needed. For example, uttering “hello Volkswagen, my hands are cold!” will activate the steering wheel warmer.
The ID.7’s sleek shape is designed to reduce drag, improve energy consumption, and give the vehicle a longer stride than others in its class. “Air intakes located in the front end guide the air flowing through them down the sides of the vehicle to the rear, forming an air curtain, which calms the air flow at the sides of the vehicle,” VW says. “The roof has a dramatic coupe-like slope to the rear and thus contributes to the very good drag coefficient.”
The ID.7’s shape is unique in another important way: it’s a sedan
The ID.7’s shape is unique in another important way: it’s a sedan. While most American automakers have eliminated sedans from their lineup in favor of heavier, higher-riding trucks and SUVs, European and Asian auto companies are continuing to churn out new versions in the hopes of winning over customers who still prefer a smaller vehicle.
There have been a modest number of electric sedans released in recent years, including the Mercedes-Benz EQS and BMW i4. But all of them are priced for premium customers. VW didn’t reveal the ID.7’s starting price, but knowing that the 2022 Arteon starts at $43,100, it stands to reason that it won’t be too much more than that.
An affordable electric sedan in the US? Now that’s a welcome thought.