VW crossover concept, China plans revealed at Auto Shanghai 2017
At Group Media Night leading up to Auto Shanghai 2017, attended by more than 500 guests, Volkswagen and its partners demonstrated, yet again, the Group’s new mobility orientation, this time with a focus on China.
"Volkswagen will become even more Chinese in the coming years,” said Matthias Müller, CEO of the Volkswagen Group. “Together with our partners we want to shape a new era of mobility in China." New partnerships are swiftly building up the Group’s mobility services in China, added Group Board Member Jochem Heizmann: "China's rapid development continues—together with our Chinese partners we want to offer customers optimal solutions for the future of mobility."
"Shaping the future together" was the motto of the event on the eve of Auto Shanghai 2017, when the Group showcased new models. Three electric vehicle (EV) world premieres, including the I.D. Crozz crossover concept, underscored the Volkswagen Group’s ambitious goals related to e-mobility and strategic realignment.
The Chinese premiere of the Group’s Sedric self-driving concept car, which debuted at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, and the recent smart city partnership with Tongji University, underscored the redirection.
Pilot projects featuring contributions, such as software developments (apps), from Tongji University in Shanghai are planned for metropolitan cities in Eastern China and the Yangtze delta. In addition, a new joint venture with MobVoi, a Chinese company that specializes in artificial intelligence, has been developed for advanced voice recognition to enhance user experience.
Volkswagen Group China is also supporting a smart city project that explores a concept for setting up a self-driving mobility fleet in big cities based on the Sedric. A service in the growing car-sharing business in China is to be built up with Beijing-based car rental company Shouqi. There are also plans to partner with transportation service provider Didi to offer a joint ride-hailing service.
"China is fast, vigorous, innovative, and the global lead market for e-mobility," Müller said at Group Media Night. "We are strengthening cooperation with our existing partners and at the same time entering new partnerships in order to shape a new era of mobility."
On the Vehicle Side
VW’s next iteration of its I.D. family is the Crozz electric crossover concept vehicle, which features a long electric range, all-wheel drive, and an autopilot mode. A production version is for 2020 as the first crossover member of a new generation of Volkswagen electric vehicles.
"By 2025, we want to boost annual sales of electric vehicles to one million units,” said Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management, Volkswagen Brand. “The I.D. Crozz will play a key role in that. Production will begin in 2020."
After the I.D. (Paris 2016) and I.D. Buzz (Detroit 2017), the I.D. Crozz is the third member of the coming zero-emissions vehicle family. Its propulsion system delivers 225-kW power, 180-km/h (112-mph) top speed, and 500-km (310-mi) battery-charge range on the New European Driving Cycle. The battery pack can be charged to 80% energy capacity in 30 min using a fast-charging 150-kW DC power system.
The concept is more compact than Volkswagen's latest production SUV, the New Tiguan L (China) or Tiguan Allspace (Europe), but provides just as much space due to its next-generation Volkswagen electric vehicle architecture. The suspension and drivetrain modules are designed to be compact and are positioned at the extremes of the vehicle, while the EV battery is fully integrated in the vehicle floor. A flexible seat configuration enables optimal interior space configurations and rear premium-class dimensions. A bike can be positioned crosswise in the rear seating area, which is enabled by fold-up rear seat cushions and doors that (electrically) slide wide open.
The concept car switches over to the fully autonomous I.D. Pilot mode when the driver touches the VW badge on the steering wheel for 3 s. The concept's instruments and controls are fully digital, the most important information projected into the driver's visual field by augmented reality. A light shade in the transparent panoramic sunroof can be activated by gesture to control interior ambient lighting. A CleanAir system continually maintains good air quality inside the vehicle regardless of ambient conditions.
The I.D. Crozz inherits VW electric mobility design DNA and in one of its dominant visual characteristics, its light signature. Those elements combine C-shaped LED daytime running lights and variably controllable LED headlights to form electronic moving “eyes” or “interactive spotlights” that, in I.D. Pilot mode, communicate with other road users.