Volkswagen, in the words of the great Sesame Street, seems to be brought to you by the letter Z nowadays. It’s in the names of the brand’s upcoming all-electric I.D. models, the Buzz and the Crozz. And now with the Vizzion, if it’s ever built, you might be able to catch some Zs on the road. Volkswagen is showing this potential fourth member of the I.D. family, in concept form, for the Geneva auto show.
It doesn’t have a steering wheel. If you don’t count VW’s shipping-container-like Sedric, the I.D. Vizzion is the automaker’s first dedicated autonomous passenger-vehicle concept. And it specifically points to the geriatric set: VW says that “use of this car will be made possible for customer groups who cannot drive today, e.g. because of their age.”
The concept would also be “enabling passengers to freely structure their time during the drive,” according to the automaker.
Beyond that, Volkswagen terms it a “premium-class MPV” showing the technology and design direction for future EVs. At 201.2 inches long, it’s more than a foot and a half longer than the I.D. Crozz concept, which is expected to reach the United States in boxier production form sometime in 2020. And although the profile looks closer to that of a sedan than of an SUV, it’s different enough to escape being seen as a new incarnation of the (on-again, off-again) Phaeton. It shares some common design traits with Audi’s Aicon concept from the 2017 Frankfurt auto show. The rear doors are rear hinged, and all the doors open wide, making the full length of the cabin easy to access and get into or out of.
Digital Chauffeur, Digital Ecosystem
The I.D. Vizzion follows a “digital chauffeur” theme inside. There are four individual seats, with the rear ones potentially looking more spacious than those in front, and a long center console runs along the middle of the cabin. There’s no steering wheel—no visible controls at all, for that matter—but a virtual host is cued in to voice and gesture controls and adapts to each individual occupant. VW calls it “complete embedding into the digital ecosystem.”
In keeping with the autonomous theme, VW is laying out potential performance that’s all-weather capable but not in the performance-car realm. Two electric motors provide all-wheel drive, and the system output is 302 horsepower, with a top speed of 112 mph. VW claims a driving range of 413 miles—although it doesn’t specify on which driving cycle. And we would assume that this long concept exists partly to show the flexibility afforded by Volkswagen’s Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) architecture, with which the other, smaller I.D. models will be built.
While we’d expect some of its design attributes to show up in future large VWs, the timeline for full autonomy depends greatly on how rapidly the automaker’s partnership with Aurora Innovation progresses. Autonomous or not, Volkswagen hasn’t said anything about bringing the Vizzion to production; expect more about that and the whole I.D. family at the Geneva show.