The first model of Volkswagen’s new range of electric cars has been spotted testing for the first time. The prototype is a compact hatchback, the size of the VW Golf.
The hatchback’s design was previewed by the ID Neo concept in 2016 with the firm promising to bring the production version to streets in late 2019. Volkswagen has also been developing other body styles over the electric MEB platform. The other electric cars include a small crossover based on the 2017 ID Crozz concept, the ID Buzz Microbus which will spawn a commercial sibling, and a luxury SUV based on the longest version of the MEB.
Volkswagen has at least two prototypes out on test in South Africa according to a tweet by one Theo Calitz.
The prototype electric hatchback looks about as big as a Volkswagen Golf.
The German firm has managed to keep the design very similar to what the concept previewed. Conventional outer rearview mirrors have replaced the funky camera-based system present on the concept. Door handles also take the place of the show car’s electric mechanism.
Although the prototypes appear to be the size of the Golf hatchback, they will offer additional interior space thanks to the flat floor achieved by the MEB platform. Volkswagen’s non-premium electric cars have MEB underpinnings, with other brands in the German carmaker’s portfolio also using the same architecture. As many as 27 MEB-based models will make it to the streets by the end of 2022.
The ID Neo will be followed by an electric sedan and a compact crossover by Volkswagen.
Revealing the ID Neo concept, Volkswagen said the vehicle has a single electric motor at the rear axle making 167hp. It offers multiple battery packs that are good for anywhere between 400km to 600km of range on a single charge. This range was derived using lenient European standards and will likely be reduced when EPA ratings come into the picture. However, it is safe to expect over 450km on a single charge.
VW also said the production version of the ID Neo would have a price tag people would pay for a well-specced Golf.