VW’s new electric model promises EV motoring for less than €25,000

New concept car previews an affordable electric model for 2025

New VW ID2all EV

The name on the nose translates as ‘People’s Car’, but so far, Volkswagen’s electric ID models have been carrying prices that means we need to tweak the translation to mean wealthy people only. The gorgeous electric ID.Buzz, for example, costs €66,000 – as much as luxury models from Mercedes and Audi.

That could be about to change, if VW boss Thomas Schafer realises his ambition of producing a practical, useable electric car which costs less than €25,000. That isn’t the end of the ambition, either.

Schafer told The Irish Times that he’s planning EV models for as little as €20,000 and maybe slightly less. “We are not in the budget car segment, and we don’t want to go there,” he said when asked if VW would chase the prices of incoming Chinese models.

“We always build cars that live up to customers’ requirements, and in each and very segment we offer cars that will be good for customers so that we can have a profit from them. You need to have a proper spread of models, at the entry end and at the upper end. Those upper models were critical for the company’s health during the supply chain crisis.”


Indeed, VW managed to increase its profits in the past year in spite of selling fewer cars thanks to production and supply difficulties, mostly because it focused on cars that were more expensive and better equipped. Was that a move away from the brand’s more affordable heartland? Not so, according to Schafer: “Today, we are showing the car that will cost less than €25,000 and then we will come up with cars that cost less than €20,000 and in the end you’ll see that we will have a good offer, and still keep our market share.”

Shown for the first time in Hamburg, that sub-€25,000 electric car, the ID.2all, is a very close preview of a 2025 production model that aims to provide Golf-like practicality and usability in a car that’s sized and priced like a Polo.

We are implementing the transformation at pace to bring electric mobility to the masses

Indeed, the ID.2all is actually the same size as a current Polo — just 4.0 metres long — and it sits on a much-modified version of the MEB platform that VW uses for the likes of the ID.3 and ID.4. To fit under the ID.2all, the platform has been turned around, making it front-wheel drive (all of the ID models thus far have been rear-drive) and it’s now called the MEB Entry platform.

It should be a cheaper platform to make, possibly thanks to a major change in battery technology. VW isn’t confirming it yet, but it looks as if the ID2.all will use lithium-phosphate batteries. VW’s head of battery production, Thomas Schmoll, said the day before the ID.2all launch, that VW is working on a new “unified cell” battery design, which can use cheaper lithium-phosphate chemistry for more affordable models, and more expensive, higher-performance chemistry for premium cars.

Lithium-phosphate batteries have key advantages over current lithium-ion designs as not only are they cheaper to make, they’re also more robust and reliable. The downsides are that they’re heavier for a given power output and have lower energy density, which means less range.

The ID.2all doesn’t seem to be lacking for range, though. VW is claiming 450km on the WLTP test, and fast-recharge times that allow a 10-80 per cent recharge in just 20mins from a high-power DC charging point. In the show car, power comes from a 226hp electric motor, but it seems likely that VW will offer lower-power, more affordable models in due course.

Volkswagen is once more democratising progress here. And that is also exactly our goal

Kai Grünitz, VW’s head of technology, said: “The production version of the ID.2all will be a full-value electric vehicle for every day of the year. A typical Volkswagen with sufficient space and a long range so that the destination can be reached without problems, even on long journeys.

“Thanks to the extremely variable MEB platform, our customers will also benefit from state-of-the-art technologies in the price class around €25,000. Volkswagen is once more democratising progress here. And that is also exactly our goal.”

New VW ID2all EV

The design heavily references the VW Golf, and it has been suggested that the ID.2all might actually yet be called the ID.Golf when it reaches production. Thomas Schafer has recently said that it wouldn’t make sense to jettison classic names such as Golf, and he’s also suggested that the Tiguan name will be used for an electric model, possibly as an SUV variant of the ID.2all.

Schäfer said “We are transforming the company rapidly and fundamentally – with the clear objective of making Volkswagen a genuine ‘Love Brand.’ The ID. 2all shows where we want to take the brand: close to the customer, top technologies and a fantastic design. We are implementing the transformation at pace to bring electric mobility to the masses.”

Andreas Mindt, the new head of VW design, was brought in to dramatically re-work the styling of the ID.2all, after the less-than-lukewarm response to the original ID.Life concept car. “The ID. 2all gives a preview of the new design language of Volkswagen, which is based on the three pillars of stability, likeability and excitement” said Mindt. “Stability and likeability – we have to achieve these two values in every respect.”

We are not in the budget car segment, and we don’t want to go there

It’s around the rear of the car, the C-pillar which forms the side and the edge of the boot, that the ID.2all most closely resembles previous Golf models. The C-pillar is the backbone of the Volkswagen design. “In the ID.2all, the stability of the C-pillar initially flows from the backbone into the side body elements” said Mindt.

VW ID.2all - embargoed until 6pm March 15th

Inside, the ID.2 draws more on the new ID.7 saloon for its style than on the existing ID.3 and ID.4. There’s big 12.9-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dash, which VW says has significantly improved software and, at last, illuminated controls for the cabin temperature and stereo volume.

In front of the driver, the small instrument screen of the existing ID range is replaced by a more comprehensive 10.9-inch screen, while the steering wheel gets some proper physical buttons for accessing the menus on both screens. That seems like a little bit of Tesla influence, as do the twin wireless phone charging pads beneath the main screen.

The ID.2life might be the same length as a Polo, but by pushing out the wheelbase, VW has opened up Golf-like space inside. The boot measures a very useful 440 litres (more than you get in the ID.3), and there’s an extra 50-litre storage box under the back seat.

This stowage area, says VW, was specially designed for the charging cable and items such as the first-aid kit, high-visibility waistcoats and breakdown set. In addition, there is sufficient space in this lockable (safe) compartment for larger devices such as laptops and tablets, which can also be charged there. Fold down the back seats and you have more than 1,300-litres of cargo space, and a 2.2-metre load length to make the car Ikea-friendly.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring