THE new Volkswagen ID.7 unveiled at Auto Shanghai 2023 has drawn a lot of attention with its impressive range of 700 kms as one of the strong points. Alongside the ID.7, Volkswagen China is also displaying another model for the biggest car market in the world – the ID.NEXT.
Although it seems to be an adaptation of the ID.7 (also called Vizzion for the China market), it has certain styling elements that are different. The lighting units, in particular, differ with the ID.NEXT, a name which was also used for a prototype in 2019.
Why have two similar models?
If the ID.NEXT is the same car as the ID.7 – even the interior is pretty much similar – then why is it needed? A clue lies in the brief information Volkswagen provided and that relates to production of the two cars. It is known that the ID.7 will be made by the FAW-Volkswagen joint-venture company but for the ID.NEXT (which may or may not be the name for the production model) will be produced at the factory of SAIC, another Volkswagen joint-venture company.
This is probably a situation similar to what used to happen in Japan where there were models like the Corolla and Sprinter, both sold under the Toyota brand. The cars were identical (eg the Levin and Trueno) but had some styling differences and were sold through different sales channels. Volkswagen could be doing the same thing in China with its two partners, giving them an identical product to be fair to both.
Both EVs will be on the Volkswagen Group MEB platform and the ID.7 is the first MEB model with a completely new, highly efficient drive generation. With 210 kW (286 PS), it is the most powerful and highest-torque electric drive motor in a Volkswagen ID. model so far. This power variant is used in the ID.7 independently of the chosen battery size.
Sales will start in Europe and China during the fourth quarter of this year and presumably, the same would apply for the ID.NEXT. Volkswagen will also sell its first global electric model for the upper mid-size class in North America in 2024.
The ID.7 (and variants) is one of 10 new electric models that will be launched by the carmaker by 2026. This year alone sees the introduction of the new ID.3, the ID. Buzz with long wheelbase and the ID.7.
An electric compact SUV and the production version of the ID. 2all at a price of less than 25,000 euros (RM121,550) are planned for 2026. This will give Volkswagen the widest range of EVs compared with its competitors.
Accelerating R&D in China
With regards to the China market, Volkswagen also wants to accelerate its development pace. For R&D activities, it has established 100%TechCo to bundle research and development for vehicles and components in China, for China, and merge procurement into a joint unit. To this end, local suppliers will be involved in the early stages of product development in order to integrate the latest technologies and application concepts into new products.
In addition, the new company will more closely integrate the development projects of all of the Volkswagen Group’s joint ventures in China – SAIC, Volkswagen, FAW-VW, and Volkswagen Anhui. The new unit is expected to start operating in early 2024 and will comprise more than 2,000 employees from procurement and R&D.