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Volkswagen I.D. Crozz concept EV bows at Auto Shanghai

Autoblog logo Autoblog 2017-04-18 Michael Taylor

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After years of taunting the world's major carmakers as slow-footed dullards, Tesla should be getting the sinking feeling that the establishment brands are finally starting to put the tiny company in their crosshairs. For the latest evidence of that, Volkswagen came to Shanghai with the I.D. Crozz, its third zero-emission battery-electric concept car, aiming directly at Tesla's Model X.

The SUV concept is already being pushed by Volkswagen brand CEO Herbert Diess as a production probability for 2020, with the timing of its market launch set to coincide with the EU's new emissions rules (which will demand a 95-gram/km corporate fleet fuel economy average). Part of Diess's strategic plan to deliver at least 1 million BEV cars by 2025.

The I.D. Crozz sits on the same modular electric vehicle chassis Volkswagen will also use for production versions of last year's I.D. hatchback and I.D. Buzz concepts. Dubbed MEB by Volkswagen, it is the group's third pure battery-electric car architecture, along with Porsche's Mission E and an electric SUV to sit on the J1 architecture, and Audi's standalone layout called C-BEV. While the C-BEV was a hurried exercise to deliver the Volkswagen Group's first electric production cars, the automaker took more time developing the MEB system.

In terms of performance, the I.D. Crozz is powered by two electric motors – 75 kW at the front axle, and 150 kw at the rear – totaling 225 kW (302 horsepower). By comparison, that's a full 100 kW more than the I.D. concept hatchback from the Paris motor show last year but 50 kW less than Volkswagen claims for the I.D. Buzz. Volkswagen drives the concept car by adding single-speed, fixed-ratio gearboxes between each electric motor and its respective axle, which it dubs an "electric propshaft." It offers on-demand all-wheel drive, but the bigger rear motor gives it more of a rear-drive feel. Volkswagen insists the I.D. Crozz will accelerate from 0-62 miles per hour in less than six seconds, and to a top speed of 112 mph.

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It also offers 311 miles of driving range (on the generous European driving cycle) from its 83-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The battery sits in a solid metal cage beneath the passenger compartment's floor. It can be recharged to 80 percent charge within 30 minutes, assuming it's attached to a 150-kW charging system.

The I.D. Crozz has a six-link rear axle and a MacPherson strut front suspension, providing what Volkswagen describes as "GTI-like handling," complete with a balanced 48:52 front-to-rear weight distribution. This concept car employs variable damping control, which should help ride and stability. The car also delivers a tight turning circle for its segment, at about 34.5 feet.

The crossover body style takes hints of the current wave of "coupe" sports SUVs but has been designed to deliver genuine off-road ability. The 182.1-inch-long, four-seat I.D. Crozz delivers interior space roughly in line with the new extended-wheelbase Tiguan Allspace, though it lacks the internal-combustion production car's third row.

It's 74.4 inches wide and 63.3 inches tall, riding on a 109.2-inch wheelbase. While it shares architecture with the I.D. Buzz, it's a sign of the platform's flexibility that the I.D. Crozz is 12.4 inches shorter, 3.3 inches narrower, 13.9 inches lower, and rides on a wheelbase that's 20.7 shorter than the retro-looking people mover concept.

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The I.D. Crozz also delivers a glimpse into the production future of Volkswagen's self-driving technologies. Due to start appearing in the more upmarket Volkswagens like the Passat, Arteon, and Touareg before the end of the decade, the I.D. Pilot autonomous system is slated to deliver full Level 3 autonomy, giving drivers the choice of doing the job themselves or relaxing while the car takes over for extended periods.

It employs four laser scanners popping up from the roof to detect cars, bikes, pedestrians and anything else that might stray into the I.D. Crozz's way, and also uses radar and ultrasonic sensors in concert with its stereo camera facing forward and cameras on each side of the car.

A key part of its autonomous-driving package, and a common trait with both earlier I.D. concepts, is the way the car communicates which mode it's in. When it's driven manually, the car's roof and grille LED glows light blue, while they switch to purple when it's in autonomous mode.

"If it was ever possible to make a one hundred percent certain prediction of what the future will look like, it is achieved here," Diess insists. "We are showing with the I.D. Crozz how Volkswagen will be transforming the roadscape from 2020."


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