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Meet the I.D. CROZZ, a preview of Volkswagen's first electric SUV expected in 2020

Electric vehicles are the future of transportation, but making that future a reality will require a lot of innovation and manufacturing know-how. Today, Volkswagen unveiled one of its major steps toward an electric future with the first North American appearance of the I.D. CROZZ concept vehicle in Los Angeles - a four-door, all-wheel-drive SUV that previews the next-generation Volkswagen electric vehicle anticipated to arrive in America in 2020.

Built from the same platform that is expected to revive the iconic VW Bus in 2022, the I.D. CROZZ concept vehicle offers 302 hp and an anticipated all-electric driving range of up to 300 miles, along with a host of technological innovations and the space modern SUV owners demand.

"Electric mobility is the future, period, and today we take a big step forward," said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "The I.D. CROZZ and the I.D. BUZZ concepts demonstrate how Volkswagen will kick off an EV revolution in America."

The I.D. CROZZ, I.D. BUZZ and original I.D. hatchback concept revealed last year all are built from the same modular electric toolkit, or MEB in its German acronym. This chassis was exclusively designed as a mainstream electric vehicle to help maximize range, power and the benefits of electric mobility - while giving Volkswagen's award-winning design team new creative freedom.

"The beauty of doing an all-new architecture is how much it can deliver to the customer," Woebcken said.

If the I.D. BUZZ was the look back at Volkswagen history, the I.D. CROZZ offers a fashionable sneak peek of the future. Its sleek, four-door coupe shape has a similar footprint to the new 2018 Tiguan, with dramatic doors that open 90 degrees in the front and slide back in the rear to reveal a cavernous interior. On the outside, the I.D. CROZZ greets passengers with a light show, with lighted VW logos and daytime running lights that "awaken" like eyes.

The I.D. CROZZ also features Volkswagen's I.D. Pilot self-driving system concept , planned for production in 2025. In self-driving mode, the steering wheel of the I.D. CROZZ retracts into the dash, and the interior lights change color. Drivers can summon the I.D. Pilot by simple voice controls, and the concept system is designed to rely on four laser scanners that pop up from the roof of the I.D. CROZZ, as well as ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors, side area view cameras and a front camera.

Whoever's driving, the I.D. CROZZ can deliver on the power of electric mobility. Power hits the road via two electric motors, one on each axle, to deliver an anticipated 302 hp and all-wheel-drive. The low-slung battery pack in the floor of the I.D. CROZZ's helps to lower the center of gravity and provide an optimum weight balance. And it is expected that the battery pack will be able to be recharged up to 80 percent in 30 minutes when using a 150-kWh fast charger. Volkswagen's EV plans are among the most ambitious in the industry, and call for launching next-generation electric vehicles on three continents - Europe, Asia and North America - anticipated to begin in 2020.

"In order to make EVs cost competitive, electric vehicles have to be built at scale, and Volkswagen has the potential to deliver global scale in EVs quickly," Woebcken said. "We stand for making electric cars affordable; as we like to say, we build cars for millions, not millionaires."
 
It's official: The VW Bus is back, and it's electric

Driven by popular demand, Volkswagen announced today it is planning on selling a production version of the award-winning I.D. Buzz concept electric vehicle in 2022 for the United States, Europe and China.

"For me, the I.D. Buzz concept is the most beautiful and most exciting electric car in the world," said Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management for the Volkswagen brand, in Pebble Beach, Calif.

"Our goal is clear: we want to make the fully electric, fully connected car a bestseller around the world. The iconic car of the electric age must be a Volkswagen."

The I.D. Buzz is the second EV concept that VW has revealed for production, along with the original I.D. concept slated to enter production around 2019 as a 2020 model, while the I.D. Crozz concept has shown how an electric VW SUV could look. All three use VW's Modular Electric Drive kit (or MEB, for its German acronym), a group of components and chassis parts engineered to maximize the potential of electric drive and future technology.

"These cars will offer everything - and even more - than you have seen from other electric carmakers," says Diess. "And they will be much more affordable."

"It took you everywhere with your friends, it was a car but also a home on wheels, it was both reliable and unconventional, it was highly emotional," says Diess. "It was and still is a wonderful car."

The new I.D. Buzz will be the seventh generation of the bus. Over time, the vehicle evolved in style but always retained its character, versatility, and ability to draw or carry a crowd. Still, the original version - affectionately called the "splitty" by aficionados for its split front windshield - remained the most iconic design.

The exterior I.D. Buzz harkens to that first generation. It sports a two-tone V-nose, rectangular windows, a hint of a windshield sunshade, and a gesture at the rear side air vents that characterized the original.

At Pebble beach, Diess asked Pon Jr. what he'd like to see in the newest generation of the bus.

"I saw it already," Pon replied. "It looks absolutely great and I'm sure you will be very successful with it!"
 
The Electric Vehicle Module

1. What is the MEB?

The Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) is a flexible modular system (actually a matrix of common parts) for manufacturing electric vehicles that's currently being developed by Volkswagen. It's one of the next big things at VW for building electric vehicles following the introduction of the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) in 2012. The MEB has been in development since 2015, and it builds on the MQB in an effort to make building electric vehicles more efficienct than in the past.

2. What distinguishes the MEB from the MQB?

When the conceptual design for the MQB was first developed, the idea of an electric vehicle for the mass market wasn't as important as it is today. The MEB is now being specifically developed to help realize this vision. It ensures the vehicle is optimally equipped for electric vehicle requirements by taking into account what axles, drive units, wheelbases, and weight ratios need to look like. It also considers the best design and position for the batteries.

3. Why the need for a new modular toolkit?

The MEB is being specifically developed to make the manufacture of electric vehicles more efficient - and potentially less expensive - in the long term. The MEB will allow Volkswagen to produce electric vehicles with a more systematic focus and to cater to increasing demand for electric vehicles.

4. Are there vehicles out today based on the MEB?

So far, Volkswagen has presented three e-concept vehicles based on the MEB: the e-Bus BUDD-e, which made its debut in 2016; the I.D. at the Paris Motor Show in 2016; and the I.D. BUZZ, the VW campervan of the future showcased at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2017. Series production of a compact car based on the MEB is planned for 2020.

5. Will drivers notice the difference?

Future generations of vehicles based on the MEB could bring advantages such as full torque from a standstill, rear drive and the advantages it brings to traction and acceleration, optimized driving balance (thanks to the lower position of the battery), and better digital functions.

6. Will the MEB impact the design of the vehicle interior?


A central element of the MEB is the high-voltage drive battery. Its design and placement plays a key role, as it's flat and comprised of submodules. Components installed in the vehicle floor would free up an unexpected amount of space in the interior. For example, the outside length of the concept I.D. is similar to that of the Golf. However it could offer a similar amount of interior space as a Passat. And the dashboard insert is more compact and the position of the center console can be varied.

7. What are the biggest challenges when developing the MEB?

Ever-changing technology, efficiency, and costs. Future elements like digitalization, connectivity, and fully automatic driving will also need to be factored into the MEB. What does a vehicle's architecture need to look like to allow the integration of as many applications and interfaces as possible? Retrofitting hardware in a defined architecture is always a challenge, so digital locking systems for car sharing or sensors for autopilot should be implemented in the MEB right from the start.

8. What still needs to happen before series production of vehicles based on the MEB?

Since work on the MEB began in 2015, great progress has been made. The early phase of development is set to end in the spring of 2017, and series production of the first electric vehicle in the same style as the concept I.D. is scheduled to start in 2020.

9. Will the MEB supersede the MQB?

No. Even if the role of electric drive gains significance over the coming decade, Volkswagen will continue making vehicles with combustion engines - something that requires the MQB as the basic architecture. And although making electric vehicles using the MQB as a basis is possible, it doesn't work the other way around: A combustion engine is not currently designed to fit into the MEB architecture.

10. What significance does the introduction of the MEB have for Volkswagen?


The "TRANSFORM 2025+" strategy foresees the sale of one million Volkswagen electric vehicles per year by 2025 (accounted for by around 30 different models across the group). Meeting this strategy depends on the MEB and the high-volume series production of electric vehicles it will allow.

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