Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design, Volkswagen Brand
"Before we first put pen to paper on the drawing board for the I.D. project, we debated the topic of 'Mobility in the future' at length. It is clear that the car of the future, and thus the mobile space, will be a place of communication more than ever before. The Open Space in the I.D. is just such a place."
"The electric powertrain gives our designers far greater freedom. We have shrunk the cooling grilles to a minimum, shifted the axles far outwards and created breathtaking proportions, as demonstrated by the I.D. – an icon of the future."
"We had the unique opportunity to guide Volkswagen into a new era, and with the I.D we have taken this opportunity."
I.D. stands for the design of electro-mobility. What is clear from every angle is the I.D. adheres to a new design language for compact Volkswagen electric cars. As is clear from every angle. As already outlined, it puts the spotlight on the individual. Cars like the I.D. aren't mere machines, but cars that react interactively, and this is reflected in a design that shows a high degree of empathy. Everything is neatly laid out: ample space, maximum precision, a charismatic front end, iconic C-pillars, flowing, sculpted surfaces and expressive wheels are just a few of the design criteria of Volkswagen's electro-mobility.
The front end – here's looking at you! An electric car doesn't need any large cooling grilles, which changes everything when it comes to the design of the front end. Well, almost everything, because Volkswagen also managed to do without cooling grilles on the front of the Beetle and the "Bulli" Volkswagen bus in their original designs. Details like the headlights were of paramount importance. The key significance of these "eyes" remains unchanged to this day, but the static headlights of yesteryear have given way to interactive LED elements on the I.D., which is painted in "Frosted White", to bring the Volkswagen of the future to life. With their completely new design, they dominate the front end: the mobile "eyes", which are framed by a C-shaped light signature, react to other road users. The large, sculpted bumpers as well as the diffusers in "Anodized Blue" also give the I.D. charisma. The transparent illuminated Volkswagen logo in the front section emphasises the I.D.'s quality and class.
Side profile – farewell to B-pillars and door mirrors. From the side profile it is apparent that the I.D. is characterised by breathtaking proportions and a new stylistic idiom. The design is characterised by high precision, clarity and vision. The voluptuous, flowing surfaces of the side profile below the character line merge elegantly into a single, homogeneous surface.
The new stylistic idiom corresponds with innovative technical solutions: for example, the I.D. has no rigid B-pillars. Instead, the front and rear doors form a protective unit when closed. The rear doors open backwards with a swivel mechanism, opening the way to the Open Space which is very comfortable to climb into. We have also said farewell to the door mirrors. Their job will be done by cameras in the car of the future, which are integrated in the front wings as little high-tech features. The powerful silhouette is perfectly rounded off by white and blue 20-inch alloy wheels with blue low rolling resistance tyres.
Rear section – I.D. won't forget you! The boot lid, which extends across the full width of the car, is contrasted in black. At the sides, the large rear window is framed by vertical aerodynamic elements and at the base by the strikingly narrow horizontal LED rear lights. The I.D.'s bumper is a prime example of the avant-garde design of Volkswagen's future electric cars, which looks as if the bumper were made of a stylish piece of aluminium or a translucent block of ice in a single piece. Right at the bottom of the car's rear section is a blue diffuser. The look is neat and tidy, just like the narrow strip of LED rear lights that wrap around to the flanks and the illuminated Volkswagen logo between them and the transition from the boot lid to the panoramic roof, which is framed in gloss black. You only have to see it once from this angle for the stunning new I.D. to stand out in your memory.
Dimensions – shorter than a Golf, but with a wheelbase almost on a par with the Passat. The four-door I.D. is 4,100 mm long and, thus, 155 mm shorter than a Golf. This concept car is 1,800 mm wide and 1,530 mm high. Between the front and rear sections the I.D. has a remarkable wheelbase of 2,750 mm; which is – despite the shorter exterior length – 130 mm more than the Golf. In fact, the wheelbase is closer to that of the Passat. In contrast, the body overhangs are extremely modest.
Light as a means of communication. Interactive light elements alter the look and feel of the concept car, depending on the mode that the I.D. is in. What is more, the I.D. communicates with its environment using light. The LED light from the headlights interactively mimics the human eye (interactive spotlight), with the headlights reacting to their environment, for instance by looking in the direction of the driver as he approaches the I.D.
- I.D. is parked. If all of the I.D.'s systems are shut down it looks from the front as if its "eyes" are closed. All that can be seen on a parked I.D. is a narrow little strip of LEDs in the headlights.
- I.D. is starting. When the I.D. is "woken up", it greets its driver and the passengers with an all-new 360° light show: first, the transparent Volkswagen logos (at the front and in the boot lid) light up in white. This is then followed – wrapping around in blue – by the diffuser in the front bumper, the side sills and the rear diffuser. In the final stage of this light show, the I.D. opens its "eyes" and, last but not least, white lines of light shine in the four door handles.
A light signature for each mode. Over and above that, Volkswagen's designers and engineers have come up with different light scenarios for each operating mode:
- I.D. is charging. While the batteries are charging, the blue light panels on the diffusers and side sills pulsate or "breathe", while the headlights remain in sleep mode.
- I.D. is being driven. In conventional drive mode the Volkswagen logos and the daytime running lights consisting of LED strips and the LED headlights are on. As the car accelerates, the "eyes" adjust to the higher speed by adopting a more dynamic light signature.
- I.D. is driving itself. To signal that it is in fully automated mode (from 2025), the laser scanners on the roof, which are now extended, as well as the diffusers (at the front and rear) and the side sills are also lit in blue. As the car speeds up, the LED "eyes" look ahead, giving the car a sporty appearance.
- I.D. is looking at you. Over and above this, the "eyes" are interactive in fully automated mode. If, for instance, the I.D. wants to turn left or right, the LED headlights look in the direction that the car is going to turn. What is more, if the I.D. notices people at the side of the road it looks at them. This very human form of interaction draws the attention of pedestrians and cyclists to the I.D.
- I.D. says "goodbye". Of course there is also a goodbye scenario, which starts with the daytime running lights being deactivated and the door handle illumination being activated; then the blue illumination of the diffusers and side sills and the white lines of light in the door handles go out. Finally, only the Volkswagen logos are illuminated. They stay on until the driver and passengers walk away from the car. Now the I.D. is in standby mode.