Volkswagen will bring a production version of its all-electric I.D. Crozz concept SUV to the U.S. in 2020.
The automaker made the announcement Tuesday in Hollywood to kick off the Los Angeles Auto Show.
“With a potential range of up to 300 miles, the I.D. Crozz will be an affordable, reliable, beautiful, stylish electric SUV,” said Hinrich Woebcken, chief executive of Volkswagen North America.
Earlier this year, Volkswagen said it would bring a production version of the electric I.D. Buzz van to the U.S. in 2022. The automaker is slated to build an electric compact car called the I.D. for Europe and Asia and plans to add a larger sedan to the I.D. family as well.
But the I.D. Crozz illustrates the automaker’s sharp focus on the SUV-hungry U.S. market.
“We intend to be the leader for electric mobility in this country,” Woebcken said.
The I.D. Crozz will be available with either rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive. It will be similar in size to the Volkswagen Tiguan, Woebcken said. However, because the EV lacks an engine, it will have the interior space of a larger mid-sized SUV.
The new EV will also be priced similarly to a typical mid-sized SUV. Pricing typically starts in the low-to-mid $30,000 range. That estimate is before any potential government rebates for electric vehicles are taken into account, executives said.
“We believe the deal for the customer needs to make sense,” Woebcken said. “We would like to bring that technology for millions — not just millionaires.”
The SUV will source energy from a battery pack that lies flat across the floor of the vehicle. Volkswagen will partner with technology companies to source the batteries, but executives declined to provide further details.
An electric motor will power the rear axle for rear-wheel drive models. In all-wheel drive versions a second motor is added to the front axle.
In the concept version of the I.D. Crozz, the rear motor makes 201 horsepower. The front adds 101 horsepower when additional power or traction is needed for a combined 302 horsepower. The battery pack in the concept version holds 83 kilowatt hours of energy.
Horsepower and battery specifications for the production I.D. Crozz are not yet available. However, the vehicle will be able to support an 83-kWh battery, a spokesman said.
The EV initiative is part of Volkswagen’s commitment to clean technology following the Dieselgate scandal. In 2015 it was revealed the company had for years used cheat devices in its diesel vehicles to bypass pollution sensors. Vehicles emitted up to 40 times the allowed levels of nitrogen oxide, a key contributor to greenhouse gases.
Volkswagen has paid more than $20 billion in fines and settlements in the U.S. alone.
The automaker is now embarking on a massive effort to regain public trust.
“We’ve made radical changes,” said Jürgen Stackmann, head of Volkswagen sales and marketing.
Volkswagen is not only building electric cars. The company believes Level 3 or Level 4 autonomous vehicles will be achievable “on a few roads in safe environments” by 2025, Stackmann said.
The company is also developing its own in-car operating software. Called vw.OS, the software will power all I.D. vehicles and can be updated with over-the-air technology similar to that in a smartphone.
“It’s up to us to make the future real,” said Christian Senger, head of e-mobility for Volkswagen.
There are also plans to build a “coast-to-coast” electric vehicle infrastructure. Electrify America, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen, will produce charging stations across the country that are universal for all electric vehicles.
The automaker especially wants to increase the number of charging stations at workplaces. Electric vehicle owners who live in apartments or park on the street will then have greater access to stations, Senger said.
“Most of those people will charge at the workplace or during shopping,” he said. “These are key enablers, and we try to push for it.”