Pardon the tired old Phoenix rising clichés, but if Volkswagen is to emerge from the ashes of its debilitating, now-one-year-old Dieselgate scandal, it will be on the wings of electric vehicles. Having hitherto largely ignored the electrified market in favour of fuel-sipping but nitrogen-oxide-spewing diesels, Europe’s largest automaker is now promising that it will sell one million EVs a year by 2025.
The first of this new fleet of emission-free wonders will be the I.D. Golf-like in appearance and size, the I.D.’s 168 horsepower promise hot hatch performance while its 400-to-600-kilometre range — depending on the size of it scalable battery — offers Tesla-like convenience. Slated for production in 2020, the I.D.’s innovation is not limited to its electric propulsion. It also offers a first glimpse of Volkswagen’s vision of a fully autonomous future with an entirely new interior “spatial experience.” Among other breakthroughs, “Open Space” puts the steering wheel retract into the dashboard when operating in fully-automated “I.D. Pilot” mode.