Volkswagen AG (OTC:VWAGY) will soon show us another of its upcoming electric cars -- and this one is a bit of a twist: It's an electric station wagon.
Officially, it's just a "concept," meaning that it's just for show. But VW has confirmed that it will launch a production version in about two years -- and it will be sold in North America and China, as well as Europe. Here's what we know.
What VW said about the Space Vizzion
VW said that it will unveil the ID. Space Vizzion, the latest in its series of electric show vehicles, on Nov. 19 at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. VW describes it as a "crossover of tomorrow that combines the aerodynamic characteristics of a Gran Turismo with the spaciousness of an SUV." (In other words, it's a station wagon.)
Like VW's other recent battery-electric concepts, the Space Vizzion is based on the company's new "modular electric drive matrix" -- or "MEB," its abbreviation in German. MEB is a brand-new modular architecture -- think of it as pre-engineered vehicle sections -- that can serve as the basis for a wide variety of battery-electric vehicles.
In this case, it's underpinning a sleek wagon with a claimed range of up to 300 miles on the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) test cycle. The photos released by VW suggest that it will have seating for six or seven passengers, as well as a steering wheel. (Don't laugh: VW's ID. Vizzion, an electric sedan concept revealed last year, had no steering wheel.)
We'll have to wait until Nov. 19 to learn more. But VW did say that a production version of the Space Vizzion will arrive in "late 2021," with different versions for North America, China, and Europe.
How this fits into VW's electric-car plans
The Space Vizzion is the sixth in VW's "ID" series of battery-electric concept vehicles, most of which are headed for production:
- The original ID concept from 2016 became the ID.3, an electric hatchback that is expected to arrive at dealers in Europe in mid-2020.
- The ID. Buzz, first revealed in January 2017, is an updated take on the iconic VW Microbus from the 1960s. It's expected to go into production -- in both commercial-van and passenger versions -- sometime in 2022.
- The ID. Crozz, shown in September 2017, is a two-row electric crossover SUV. It's expected to be the first of the ID series to be sold in the United States, with production beginning in the second half of 2020.
- The ID. Vizzion, shown in March 2018, is a big sedan that -- in show-car form, at least -- is fully self-driving. At the time, VW said that it planned to launch something like it (but with a steering wheel) in 2022.
- The ID. Buggy, first shown in March 2019, isn't expected to go into production -- at least not at a VW factory. It's a riff on the classic VW-based Meyers Manx dune buggy, presented as a way of inviting potential small-scale partners to inquire about using the MEB architecture to build their own vehicles, just as the Manx's creators did with the VW Beetle's engine and underpinnings back in the day.
VW's electric-vehicle ambitions are massive. The company hopes to be selling about 3 million battery-electric vehicles per year, or about 30% of its total global production, by 2025. Not all of those vehicles will be VW-brand models, but it's a safe bet that VW's plan expects the ID.3 and the production versions of the Buzz, Crozz, and Space Vizzion to account for the majority of those sales.
But will consumers be willing to buy that many electric VWs? For investors in auto stocks, that's the big question. So far, VW's designs are appealing, and the company appears to be in the right neighborhoods with specs and pricing. We'll know more after we see how the ID.3 is received in Europe, but we may not have a clear idea for another couple of years.
In the meantime, we can see how the media and market react to the Space Vizzion when it's officially revealed next week.