Volkswagen I.D. Prototype Tested In South Africa: Videos

DEC 17 2018 BY MARK KANE 78

Volkswagen I.D. – it drives well, is spacious and brings a lot of new tech

The presentation of the camouflaged prototype of Volkswagen I.D. in South Africa was not accidental. The German manufacturer tests the car in a hot climate and recently demonstrated two I.D. to selected journalists.

Volkswagen doesn’t say much about the specs, design or the interior, but putting test mules out for a spin is kind of cool. The I.D. will have range from 330 km (205 miles) to over 550 km (342 miles) of WLTP range, which would be in-line with previous expectations.

“That was the approval drive of the Volkswagen ID. The first model of the fully electric ID. Family hits the road in South Africa.”

Volkswagen I.D. prototype
6 photos
Volkswagen I.D. prototype Volkswagen I.D. prototype Volkswagen I.D. prototype Volkswagen I.D. prototype Volkswagen I.D. prototype

According to ThomasGeigerCar, who drove the car (see review below), the I.D. has an all-new interior (it wasn’t shown though) with not many buttons, which were replaced by the touchscreen and a small display behind the wheel and HUD, as well as new user interface with natural speech recognition.

The size is similar to Volkswagen Golf, but because the wheelbase is longer, there is a lot more space in the rear. It also drives well and has reasonably long range.

“It’s like always at Volkswagen – they are running late. Also with their first dedicated electric vehicle. But are they also doing great? We had a first ride in the latest prototypes of the ID Neo that will compete against Nissan Leaf, Opel Ampera E, Chevrolet Bolt, Hyundai Ioniq, Hyundai Kona EV, Kia e-Nero and Kia e-Soul.”

Categories: Videos, Volkswagen

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

78 Comments on "Volkswagen I.D. Prototype Tested In South Africa: Videos"

newest oldest most voted

The packaging and specs does make the other volume BEVs look like an amateur hour at the expected price level (Tesla does not need to apply as they are both compelling and expensive). This is the car that really makes the laggards take a notice me thinks. Would you rather a clumsy ICE conversion at 40+k EUR or a properly designed car from expected 10k less than that.

I’m shocked that I have this positive outlook for a VW product. Have been avoiding them like a plague since early 90’s and have been making fun about the dieselgate since it broke. Incidentally, it has been the best thing that possibly cause a sea of change at the VW group. And now these ID vehicles will force the others to come up with compelling products too to be dead in a few years.

Nissan, time to come up with a properly modern BEV. And Ford etc, really need to wake up and smell the roses.

“or be dead” I thought I typed.

LOL. That made a big difference.

To be fair, you cannot compare the I.D. to anything that is currently on the road. Instead, compare it to the BEVs that are being introduced around the same time (Kona and Niro come to mind). Technology is moving quickly and even the Bolt’s cutting-edge stats are becoming obsolete.

True that but if this really makes it in the market by the end of 2019 it’s not much behind the LEAF 60 or Niro EV. Unless Nissan is able to dramatically reduce the energy consumption the L60 is in a real life a 200 mile car with way less interior space than the VW and a questionable battery cooling system and expected to come with obsolete (but fast) ChaDeMo. Niro will have much better range than that but it’s still an ICE with a large battery pack hacked under the rear seats and the boot floor that charges relatively slowly.

In Europe both of those are expected to cost maybe 45k EUR without subsidies. If VW can lauch a base model 200 mile “Neo” by end of 2019 with high speed CCS charging at 15k less than the two, who in their right mind thinks that the other two make any financial sense.

It’s a different world in Europe than here in the US. Thanks for the perspective!

People that spend extra just becuase it looks like an SUV style instead of a hatchback or sedan but is essentially the same car.

Check Fully Charged’s recent video on the e-Niro, it has a flat pack under the floor and loses no boot space.

Fully Charged also just posted on their blog that VW says they’re going to produce 100s of thousands of these in the first year of production, so it looks like you’re right, that this won’t be much behind the Niro and the Leaf+, because I doubt those will get high volumes out before VW starts to get these out.

And the price is apparently comparable to the Golf diesel, and even if that’s for the short range model (330 km wltp is perfectly fine for most people, especially Europeans), that price will significantly undercut everything else on the market.

Good news about Niro, I thought they also have their battery under the boot floor similarly to Ioniq and Kona. That was lazy research from me.

Well the PHEV does put it under the trunk floor, I believe, so you’re not entirely out to lunch 😉 What the e-Niro does lose a little bit of is seating height in the back, I think. Not as bad as a Tesla, but the floor is still high enough to be very close to the rear bench seating surface.

Good info there. I had a snoop around PHEV-Niro some time ago and indeed located the 9.x kWh battery in the boot so assumed that the e-Niro does the same as the sister company does with IONIQ and Kona and the battery is hanging at the back. I saw some video of the Kona looking particularly rough and ready with the battery hanging under the boot floor. Not impressive although seem to work fine in practice.

I really hope this is true and VW goes all in and builds these in huge volume.

ID is a lot shorter than a Leaf, so it would not at least be easy to make it roomier. I was at least positively surprised about the interior space of my Leaf. Anyway if the ID has at least the same interior space i will consider it as my next EV. Ticks all the boxes for me!

We currently have the LEAF 40 (L40) after driving L24 for some years before that. LEAF is much bigger than it appears, for example the wheelbase is only 3 mm shorter than the car we had before then, a SAAB 9-5. The Nissan is rather narrow though and this combined with the redundant centre tunnel and high floor at the rear make the rear seat a bit cramped. Good thing about the battery location of them is that it doesn’t rob any boot space at all.

Neo looks pretty tall with short front and the cab forward with a relative flat battery so packaging should be good. VW are talking about Golf with the Passat interior space. Like you, it seems to tick all the boxes as a family transport for us when it’s time to change in a few years time. For now the L40 is good enough.

Ford and VW are in the process of forming a partnership, which other car manufacturers are doing with car and battery makers. Some are financing the leading solid-state battery companies. I like where all this is going and hope an actual, production-ready breakthrough in solid-state will be announced within 5 years.

Jean-Baptiste Labelle


“It drives good”. Ouch. “Good” is an adjective, not an adverb. This is painful to read. And twice in one article!

I’m glad that the car drives well. I can’t wait to see it, although I am disappointed that it won’t make it to the US.

Fixed. Sorry.

Give the VW-Ford partnership a little time to develop in the U.S.

With all of the issues I’ve had with my CMax Energi, I doubt I’ll ever want to buy another Ford. At least not until they have a good proven track record.

that’s too badly.

Many reviewers are saying that this one is more appealing than Golf.

VW really pushed the price down by proper engineering and giving up dealers as sales channel. Dealers provide test drives but the car is ordered from net. If the long range version is below 30 k then I am buying one as our city car. May even go for heads-up display with virtual reality package if it works as explained.

Maybe more appealing than a standard Golf, but the trunk still looks tiny and I haven’t heard anything about a wagon version yet. The wagon is body style is essential for anyone interested in fast, efficient travel with lots of gear! I feel like I’m just shouting this into the wind over and over again, but will no one build a decent electric wagon for a reasonable price? And no, I don’t want to buy an SUV with the aerodynamics of a barn because I’ll just have to spend more money on a big battery and wait forever at chargers!

The Niro EV is basically a wagon with just minor SUV makeup

Ugh, I mean, the Niro is ok… But why do they have to put SUV makeup on it at all? For all that they haven’t even done a very good job of it; the e-Niro is the only Kia I’d want right now, but IMO it’s also the ugliest car in their lineup. Plus it’s about 50mm taller than the Golf.

If VW want to build an electric car for everyone, they have to not make it a teeny little city hatch with a sub-350 litre trunk. My old Fabia Combi was dirt cheap, relatively efficient and could mop the floor with the ID/Neo’s trunk. Give me something like that with a 60kWh battery and then we can talk.

The average driver is getting older in Europe, the US and Japan so those extra 5 or 10 cm are becoming a key selling point.
If you compare the Leaf and the Niro you can see that the Leaf is just 0.5cm lower. I see the Niro within the normal height range of wagons/CUVs.

Leaf is 61.5″
Niro is 61″
Kona is 62″
CX5 is 65.3″.
Rogue is 68″
CRV 66.1″
Rav 4 67″

You’re not the only one who’d put a wagon format at the top of their list. Like Diego says, the e-Niro is close (same size as a Leaf), so that one’s currently at the top of my Leaf replacement list. This VW ID will get a serious look if its price and availability are a lot better than the competition though.

By the looks of it, e-Niro and ID “Neo” have about the same boot space. And no, e-Niro is not a wagon – it lacks some 30 cm to qualify as such.

Hmm, rather than the ID Neo, VW should call this car the “People’s Car” or something. Perhaps a bit more German, though.. Volks Wagen.. yes. I like the sound of that.

VW I.D. camouflaged covered prototype n’ Africa

VW (Video Weezer) – Cover Song “Africa”
VW (Very Weird) AL – Cover Song “Africa”

I would have hoped that they would retain at least a few physical buttons for the most common controls. This single screen approach is just another race to the bottom.

This is the single biggest turn-off of the Model 3 for me. It’s too bad VW is following suit.

single screen do it all approach PLUS glass roof are what will keep me away from even $35000 Model 3.

Strong agree. The biggest turn offs for the model 3 are the fact the promised under 35k version is MIA and the over simplified interior. If they can go about 40% of the way from what VW gives as an interior today to the 3 interior, I am still in the market for this car.

Phones without keyboards will never catch on either.

Noone said it wouldn’t catch on. We simply said that we don’t like it. Phones without keyboards open up a lot of screen real estate. Cars without instruments behind the wheel do not. Instead, they simply leave that area blank and useless and give an overall worse experience to the user.

For the record, I am disappointed in many automotive trends. There are many things I miss about previous cars I’ve owned, which have all gone away, mostly in the name of increased profits.

Another Euro point of view

I note that almost any “new version” of a given car model is a little less solidly built than the previous version. It is a dream second hand market actually as the older more solidly built second hand car is becoming cheaper when new cheaply built version appears on the market.

As we age, we lose nuero plasticity and become resistant to change. It sucks. I experience it every tine Andoud updates and everything on my phobe chanes and mkves around, or every time Microsoft decides to screw up Windows.

I bought a Model 3. I found myself cussing the center control screen until I began liking it. Then I had a loaner Model S for ten days and fell hard for its dual screens, glovebox button, Mercedes light, AP and wiper stalks. Once back jn tbe 3, I had a fut trying to transition back. Two months later and I am loving it….All but tbe looney AUTO high beams and wipers, that is.

Jean-Baptiste Labelle

Sure, 66 buttons with a tiny screen are giving a much better user experience..

If only there was a happy medium between the two, such as having a decently big screen but also having physical buttons to easily and quickly access common controls such as audio and HVAC. Oh well, I guess we’ll never be able to figure this problem out because our ONLY 2 options are 0 buttons and 999 buttons.

I only make such smartass remarks because I was one of those physical keyboard snobs for a while. That experience caused me to be a lot more open minded about this stuff. I’ve found that I tend to get used to these things much quicker than I thought and end up finding it vastly superior.

That obviously is completely besides the point and not even accurate. A phone still offers physical buttons for the most common interactions.

The only reason not to include dials that double as buttons for the AC is cost not convenience. It is also completely counter intuitive to go through a menu to open the roof instead of just reaching for the button on the roof.

This isn’t even diving into total Model 3 nonsense that requires a menu to open the glove box.

Jean-Baptiste Labelle

Unless roof is in glass 😀.

The roof of a Mercedes E coupe is made of glass yet it can open. In multiple modes actually and it even comes with a blind you can open and close. All done with a single button that recognises different inputs.

I’m not sure what phone you use, but none of my most common interactions have buttons. Hell, phones are starting to eliminate the home button.

I don’t find it counter-intuitive at all, especially since car manufacturers have placed roof controls all over the place over the years. Once you actually own the car you get used to these things quickly, just like the quirks of any car.

For one, its actually pretty damn quick and simple if you’ve ever been in a 3 before. Second, I only ever go into my glove box to change out insurance cards anyway.

I’m actually not sure either. It should be an Iphone 6 or 6s. It has volume +/- on buttons, it can turn the screen of with a dedicated button.

I find the glove box is the best storage for a single bottle of beverage. Yeah, I know, there is this American car manufacturer that thinks a glove box of a 100 grand car doesn’t need to be cooled but than I think this carmaker is just a fad.

Phones without keyboards and Teslas without buttons make a certain amount of sense because they’re constantly getting updates, moving or adding functions and improving the UI. I may perfer buttons, but I get the advantages. For a car without OTA updates to throw away perfectly good buttons means that you’ve got none of the appealing hardware but also none of the flexibility that that would allow.

I believe VW has stated this car will have OTA updates.

But that isn’t really the point. For things that a touch screen improves, by all means, move to touch. For things it doesn’t, don’t.

It makes no sense to use a touch screen menu to open a sunroof. It makes perfect sense to put my bluetooth there. It makes no sense to use a touch screen to roll down the window, it makes perfect sense to use it for maps.

It does make sense to move it all to the single screen since it saves a lot of money in parts and assembly. It just isn’t desirable to move everything to a single screen from a UX standpoint.


LMAO, “race to the bottom” for people not willing to evolve, stick with your Blackberry!!

It took about 10 minutes to get used to my Model 3 center screen controls and now all other cars seem antiquated in comparison.

Anyways this VW by copying Tesla’s ideas and if made in large quantity at decent prices will change the entry-mid range auto market just as Tesla has impacted the mid-high end markets.

VW won’t be able to build them fast enough!

Do you think we will ever get any of the features back that are cut in the name of cost saving? No, these things disappear forever. The streamlining of commercial products moves like a ratchet. It only clicks in one direction. It is a race to the bottom.

Another Euro point of view

The 125 kWh charging rate is interesting (as mentioned in the video) now the price announced as being similar to a diesel golf will most probably be in respect of the short range (205 miles) version. Not too bat still. base diesel Golf with 17% VAT included is EUR 21.5k.

32,999 euro in Norway. .
Now imagine if Norway keep EVs tax free and VAT free until this model arrives.
If they sell if for less then 20k euros, it’s a steal – and it would for sure be the best selling vehicle. Even at 25K it would be a steal.

Another Euro point of view

Yes, here too it would be a brutal change, I mean a Leaf 2 with its 177 miles WLTP range is sold around EUR 35k in many places in Europe. That’s 60% more expensive for a car that has a shorter range. Actually thinking of it I have a hard time to believe they will achieve that price point. Probably when they referred to “similarly priced than a golf diesel” maybe they meant a diesel Golf that has about the same type of performances, meaning a Golf GTD which is a lot more expensive than a standard entry price 1.6l diesel golf.

The LEAF 40 sells pretty well in Europe as it is currently the only car in the European market that is large enough as a family car and due to the battery cell factory next to Sunderland facility they actually have enough battery cells available for volume sales. Also the price point from about 30k EUR *with* subsidies is just about low enough even with the model’s shortcomings (a bit too narrow, only about 200 km or true range, lack of TMS, odd driving position).

The upcoming L60 apparently will be over 5k more and probably only available at the top trim level making value for money quite poor compared to a Neo “with price comparable to well spec’d diesel Golf”. I suspect this means about 30k for the bare bones base model without subsidies and then maybe towards 35k with the toys you want.

Tesla Model 3 is considerably more than that, even the base model that may or may not be available time the VW launches.

Owned an e-Golf and now 2 Bolts (leased). Anticipating the ID.
Hope it’s faster than the e-Golf, which handled great but was slow off the line.

There was a mention in couple of reviews that GTI version is possible (AWD). Should be a bit faster. This version is suppose to go for 0 – 62 mph in 8 sec.

which is slow by today’s EV standards

Yes, but more than enough for normal driving around a city.

You’re more likely to see AWD on a top-flight R model, assuming VW stays with their current branding. The GTIs tend to be the FWD sports models. I can’t recall an AWD GTI.

It will be a 110kw car.

They mention a 150kW rear motor.

Hey I think this car looks great. I love my golf wagon, hopefully they’ll make a wagon version of the ID!

I like it – this is probably my ultimate car – roomy hatchback with optimized aero. I have driven two e-Golf’s and I really like their set up – again it is virtually ideal, in my opinion.

VW- please sell this car in the US!

A few things that the I.D. will have that all EV’s should have:

Coast by default, with optional levels of regen on the accelerator.

Direct heating windshield defroster – I think this car will have a molecule layer of silver inside the glass, for efficient and effective defrosting – for a fraction of the energy of an air-based system.

Adaptive creep – none by default, but when you are in stop-and-go traffic, it gets a mild creep; which is canceled once you travel above about 20mph.

VW has the BEST heated (front) seats I have seen – but they need to heat the rear seat, too AND the steering wheel, too.

On the topic of best heated front seats I really recommend to test drive a recent model BMW or Mercedes with ventilated seats.

Yeah, once you ever had a heated steering wheel it is hard to go back. Heated seats are moot if you are fine with cloth seats but heated steering wheels are a must if you live in a region that actually has seasons.

A phone activated Webasto/Eberspächer is really nice too. The windows are defrosted and the car is 25 degrees C inside.

What I miss on a normal ICE vehicle is the cooling option some EVs has.

To quote The Matrix: “Jesus Christ, that thing’s real?”

This is a disappointment from the concept.
This looks like a mini-minivan.
Now we see the genius of the BMW i3 doing the same thing with better looks.

This is a complete flip.

They’ve analysed Tesla and taken on a lot of their ideas. Virtually no buttons, everything controlled by the central screen. OTA updates and always connected. RWD (probably best way to use available space). Jump in, press the brake, switch to D, away you go (did that sound familiar?). Copying is the highest form of flattery.
Looking at the bare metal image it is hard to see that there will be a frunk, looks like most of the electronics are still taking up that “engine bay” mentality.
If they really can get the battery price down that low, this is going to be a game changer. I find it hard to believe for Australia, where VW is medium higher priced vehicles, so I guess we wait and see.

I’m not optimistic for NZ either but volume is the key.

It’s been said elsewhere that there will be no frunk in ID “Neo”, as they seem to have squeezed the car nose short and packaged the power electronics and heating/cooling components to the front. This probably frees us space in the rear when there is only electric motor between the wheels in the back.

That’s a shame. The frunk is the only decent place anyone has come up with to store charging cables in. Under the trunk floor is about the stupidest place I’ve heard of, since if you put them there because the trunk is full you can’t access them without emptying the trunk! If there’s no frunk then I say there should be a big cubby in the fender right next to the charge port.

As an owner of a 2009 VW RAbbit (aka Golf mk5), this car’s shape looks perfect – close to Golf length but even more space inside, like a small wagon with a very short nose, which will make it perfect for fitting into tight parking spots, packing lots of oversized items and zipping about congested cities. Long wheelbase with short overhangs should make for great handling and stability on highway. One small problem – I live in the US and this car is not coming stateside. I hope they change their mind on that once they saturate European market.

Uhuh another eletric car with a ugly look! LOL. They really need to start make them nicer! Why not to continue with the golf e with more range!? I have more hope in the id cross but we will see!

Golf is not a skateboard design so can’t fit a decent size battery in that has liquid cooling and if if you could the cooling systems would be hard to make. Golf also has too large an engine bay for a BEV resulting in much less interior base. Skateboard on the other hand requires a car to be slightly taller than a Golf if you want the cabin to feel airy and the drag coefficient and the frontal area have to be as optimised as possible to counteract the tallness.

I would not judge the looks quite yet based on a concept/artist/camo’d proto.