Volkswagen family Van

VW I.D. concept teaser front

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Volkswagen is giving us a look at the next I.D. concept car, due to appear at the Detroit auto show next month. The new concept, believed to preview a production MPV styled after the classic Microbus, will follow in the footsteps of the first I.D. concept that broke cover at the Paris motor show earlier this year. I.D. is Volkswagen's new electric-vehicle sub-brand.

Teaser images of the concept MPV show headlight and taillight details of a retro-styled van with the characteristic V-stripe on the front fascia, a design element of the Microbus. The image also shows a rounded, blunt nose and quarter windows incorporated into the front doors, with LED headlights sitting just below the windshield. The teaser does not show whether the concept will retain the large round headlights in addition to the high-mounted LED units - another classic design element of the original Microbus.

The front features a familiar V-stripe and a lighted VW logo.

The upcoming Microbus-styled electric MPV is expected to offer a 310-mile range, hitting the crucial 500-km benchmark in Europe. A production version will reportedly offer seating for seven, making it a practical alternative to large SUVs and crossovers, with a 122kW electric motor integrated into the rear axle driving the rear wheels in a nod to the original Microbus. A liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery integrated into the floor will provide the juice, as in the other production MEB cars.

VW I.D. concept teaser rear"This I.D. concept vehicle will also be able to drive fully autonomously in the future, " VW says. "Press lightly on the Volkswagen logo, and the electrically retractable steering wheel disappears into the dashboard. While the driver relaxes, laser scanners, ultrasonic and radar sensors and cameras monitor other road users and the surroundings."

The rear fascia of the concept is more conventional.

VW recently previewed a Microbus-styled upright van in the form of the BUDD-e concept, also imagined as a vaguely classic-shaped MPV without a front motor compartment. The production version of the upcoming I.D. concept is expected to be a larger MPV with large rear side doors and an interior layout that will allow third-row passengers to exit easily. The interior is likely to feature a 2+2+3 layout, with the middle row offering seats that can rotate to face the third-row passengers in a conference-style layout.

We'll have to wait until the Detroit auto show to see how closely this I.D. family concept approaches the style and layout of the classic Microbus, but with VW's pivot to electric vehicles it can't hurt to take advantage of a very fondly-remembered model from its history with a modern zero-emissions drivetrain.

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