2021 IAA: Volkswagen ID. LIFE – The Affordable Electric Vehicle

One of the bigger issues with EVs is cost. At the moment, even entry-level EVs are rather pricey, with MSRPs easily cresting $40,000, even from typically inexpensive brands like Hyundai. However, Volkswagen wants to offer a truly entry-level electric crossover and it put such a car on display at the 2021 IAA — the Volkswagen ID. LIFE.

The VW ID. LIFE concept that just debuted in Munich is a preview of an actual production car currently in the works, not just some flash auto show concept car to grab some headlines.

“The ID. LIFE is our vision of next-generation fully electric urban mobility. The concept car provides a preview of an ID. model in the small car segment that we will be launching in 2025, priced at around 20,000 euros. This means we are making electric mobility accessible to even more people”, says Ralf Brandstätter, CEO of the Volkswagen brand. “In creating the ID. LIFE, we have consistently focused on the needs of younger customers. We believe that, even more so than today, the car of the future will be about lifestyle and personal expression. The customer of tomorrow won’t simply want to get from A to B; they will be much more interested in the experiences that a car can offer. The ID. LIFE is our answer to this.”

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Based on the VW Group’s MEB electric architecture (Audi Q4 e-tron, VW ID.3), the Volkswagen ID. LIFE will be front-wheel drive, which is an MEB-first. Typically, MEB cars are rear-wheel drive-based but the ID. LIFE switches it up. The single front-mounted electric motor will make 172 kW (231 horsepower) and will be able to get the ID. Life from 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.9 seconds. The 57 kWh battery pack will provide up to 400 km (249 miles) of range.

Volkswagen didn’t just focus on cost with the ID. LIFE, it focused on sustainability, too. Woodchips were used in the paint’s clearcoat, as a natural coloring agent, along with a bio-based hardener. The air-chamber textile material used for the roof and hood is made from recycled plastic bottles, the interior wood is recycled, and the seats, door panels, and dashboard are made from ArtVelours Eco. Even the tires are made from recycled materials, such as bio-oil, natural rubber, and rice husks.

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Inside, there’s a projector and a gaming console, so while the ID. LIFE is parked, you can play video games on the windshield. If you want to plug your own console in, the ID. LIFE has a 240 volt, 16-amp on-board power supply. The front seats can be folded down completely flat, to provide better rear seat space, or all seats can be folded flat to create a bed.

While the yolk-style steering wheel is a foolish idea, as we learned with Tesla, the controls on it are quite clever. Even your drive controls are mounted on the steering wheel. To the right of the wheel, touch-sensitive buttons built into the wood dashboard control lighting. And your smart phone can be mounted to the dash and integrated into the car’s infotainment system, allowing it to control all aspects of the cabin tech.

At around €20,000, it’s hard to not be impressed by the Volkswagen ID. LIFE. It not only packs a handsome design and a nice interior, it comes with great tech and a decent range. We very much hope Volkswagen puts something very similar into production very soon.

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