Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Will Volkswagen Build This Self-Driving Electric Sedan?

By John Rosevear - Feb 19, 2018 at 9:32PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The I.D. Vizzion is a show car with no steering wheel. Will VW build it?

Volkswagen AG (VWAGY -4.36%) will soon show a concept version of an upcoming premium electric sedan, with a twist: It'll have no steering wheel.

But whether VW ends up building it with or without a steering wheel, the concept car is almost certainly a preview of an upcoming electric sedan that might give Tesla's(TSLA -1.76%) Model 3 some stiff competition -- eventually.

Here's what we know.

The VW I.D. Vizzion: An upscale self-driving electric sedan

VW described its I.D. Vizzion concept car as a "fully automated premium class" sedan. It's self-driving -- in fact, VW says, it has no visible steering wheel or controls. It's driven by a "digital chauffeur"; the car's human passengers can communicate with the chauffeur via voice and gesture controls.

A sketch showing a sleek sedan with a long roofline, suggesting that it will have plenty of headroom in the back seat.

VW released this "teaser" image of the I.D. Vizzion, a self-driving concept car that it plans to show at next month's auto show in Geneva. Image source: Volkswagen AG.

It will be the fourth vehicle that VW has shown under its upcoming all-electric "I.D." sub-brand. Like VW's other I.D. concept vehicles, the I.D. Vizzion is fully electric. It has a dual-motor setup for all-wheel-drive, with a 111-kilowatt-hour battery pack that gives it a range of "up to 665 kilometers when braking regeneration is factored in," VW said.

(That's about 413 miles, but note that that's an estimate of the car's rated range using the European testing cycle. The U.S. range test is more conservative: 665 kilometers of range in Europe probably translates to a rated range of a little over 300 miles in the U.S.)

As you'd expect from a fully self-driving vehicle, the I.D. Vizzion isn't a sport sedan. VW claims a top speed of 180 kilometers per hour, or about 112 miles per hour -- enough to keep up on the faster stretches of Germany's Autobahn, but not exactly race car territory.

VW said that the I.D. Vizzion concept car will have its world premiere at the Geneva International Motor Show, which begins on March 6.

Is this thing for real?

For now at least, the I.D. Vizzion is a concept, meaning that it's strictly for show. But VW has confirmed plans to put the first three I.D. concept vehicles into production between 2020 and 2022. It's very possible (even likely) that an all-electric production vehicle resembling this concept is in the works.

Given that the first three VW I.D. vehicles were a hatchback, a compact crossover SUV, and a minivan, a larger sedan seems like an inevitable addition to the lineup.

The VW I.D. Buzz, an electric minivan with styling that resembles the classic Volkswagen Microbus, is shown driving on a beach road in California.

The all-electric VW I.D. Buzz is coming to showrooms in 2022. Will the I.D. Vizzion join it? Image source: Volkswagen AG.

And given the state of self-driving technology (and of the laws and regulations around self-driving technology) today, it's also very possible that the production version will have a steering wheel -- even if it's offered with some self-driving capabilities.

If so, and if it arrives sooner rather than later, things could get interesting. With its dual-motor driveline and ample range, the I.D. Vizzion has the makings of a car that could be an alternative to Tesla's Model 3 -- especially if you imagine it in a sportier version, with a taut suspension and more powerful motors.

But for now, that's just speculation. We'll know much more after we hear what VW executives say about the I.D. Vizzion concept when it's unveiled next month.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft Stock Quote
Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft
VWAGY
$18.22 (-4.36%) $0.83
Tesla, Inc. Stock Quote
Tesla, Inc.
TSLA
$673.42 (-1.76%) $-12.05

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
317%
 
S&P 500 Returns
112%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 06/30/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.