Frankfurt: Volkswagen AG’s namesake brand will present the concept of a fully electric crossover model in Shanghai next week to challenge Tesla Inc.’s Model X, as the German manufacturer gears up to roll out a new zero-emission line-up as of 2020.
Like the hatchback and van concepts VW has shown in recent months, the third vehicle of the planned I.D. electric car line offers a battery-powered range comparable to models with combustion engines and can drive autonomously, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker said on Wednesday in a statement.
“Volkswagen has set the clearly-defined goal of advancing electric-drive vehicles from the status of a start-up niche to large-scale production models by the middle of the next decade in a worldwide product offensive,” it said.
The brand’s target to sell 1 million electric cars a year by 2025 is a cornerstone of a comprehensive revamp amid a tectonic industry shift to emission-free vehicles prompted by tightening regulations.
Volkswagen, which dethroned Toyota Motor Corp. as the world’s best-selling automaker last year, must balance the huge expenses of developing battery-powered vehicles and new digital features with the financial fallout of its diesel-emissions cheating scandal, which stands at €22.6 billion ($24 billion).
The I.D. crossover, a mix between a four-door coupe and a sport utility vehicle, targets the auto industry’s fastest-growing segment as customers increasingly opt for spacious, comfortable rides with a higher seating position.
The concept vehicle can switch to autonomous driving mode with a push on the VW badge in the middle of the steering wheel, which then folds automatically into the cockpit.
The car then manoeuvres around based on signals it gets via laser and ultrasonic scanners, radar sensors and cameras