If the future is electric, it’s also crossover heavy. Volkswagen and Audi plan to dominate two tiers of that fledgling segment by the turn of the next decade with the production version of two crossover EVs revealed today.
The selection of the Auto Shanghai 2017 show for the unveiling wasn’t a fluke of timing. Both automakers plan to field a slew of electric models in China, while saving certain high-profile products for North American and European markets.
Bet on these two models eventually making the cut.
From Volkswagen comes the I.D. Crozz, a dual-motor crossover concept based on its electric MEB platform. It’s the third in a line of concept vehicles based on the architectureÂ â€” the first being the I.D. compact hatchback that debuted the electric sub-brand, and the other being the I.D. Buzz microbus concept.
VW claims that the long-wheelbase Crozz â€” we’re plumbing the depths of crossover name barrel with this one â€” ematches the interior volume of the overseas-market 2018 Tiguan, while boasting a lower roofline. Take note that the next-generation Tiguan comes in two wheelbase flavors, only the longest of which will arrive in the U.S.
With an expansive 83 kWh battery pack filling the floor space between its two electric motors, the all-wheel-drive I.D. Crozz boasts a combined 302 horsepower. The front motor generates 101 hp and 103 lb-ft of torque, with 201 hp and 229 lb-ft motivating the rear wheels. A switchable system allows drivers to lock the vehicle in permanent AWD mode if needed.
Because of the spacious nature of the tablet- and touchscreen-filled interior, VW plans a versatile seating arrangement. Owners would be able to swap out one or more of the rear seats to increase cargo volume. Recharging the I.D. Crozz should be the least enjoyable angle to ownership, though the automaker claims an 80-percent recharge in 30 minutes is possible from a 150 kW charging port.
Total range is 311 miles, and its top speed is listed at 112 miles per hour. Yes, it will be built â€” VW plans to start production of the Crozz (or whatever name VW sees fit to give it) in 2020.
Over at Audi, an arguably better-looking sporty crossover will arrive even sooner. The premium marque’s e-tron Sportback concept, which rides atop the same platform as the VW, should make it to production in 2019. While the concept’s muscular fender bulges and sloped roofline makes it a worthy candidate for the much-derided “dour-door coupe” moniker, Audi went in a different direction. Maybe it’s just sick of Mercedes-Benz and BMW borrowing the term.
Consider the VW concept as the family EV hauler and the Audi as the executive-class weekend getaway vehicle. The e-tron Sportback boasts two rear motors and one up front, generating a combined 429 hp, or 496 in “boost mode.” Range is about the same as the VW. Audi claims a 0-62 mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds and a finely honed focus on handling dynamics.
Because these are both concepts, some of the more gimmicky features probably won’t make it to production.Â At least, not just yet. Volkswagen plans to offer a self-driving mode sometime around 2025 and, given the direction of the industry, this could indeed become a reality. Then there’s the issue with the lights. You see, both vehicles will light upÂ â€” externallyÂ â€” in a variety of ways, thanks to multiple hidden LEDs. The e-tron Sportback’s front “light field” consists of 250 LEDs, perfect for offering aÂ “vast array of possibilities for creating engaging graphics or specific communicative signs, even while on the move,” Audi claims.
VW’s concept will communicate with passers-by in a similar fashion. Horsepower aside, this is not the type of feature that car guy dreams are made of.
While the focus of both brands’ presentations focused on how the vehicles would integrate into the Chinese marketplace, there was nary a mention of when North American buyers could see production models arrive at dealerships. Both brands are developing a global EV presence, though China leads the way in consumption. Stay tuned for details on that.
[Images: Volkswagen Group; Audi AG]