Volkswagen ID.Life previews the city car’s high-riding EV future

Volkswagen traveled to the 2021 Munich Auto Show to unveil a concept named ID.Life. Designed largely for the European market, it’s a preview of an entry-level crossover that will slot at the bottom of its ID-badged EV range.

Beyond the fact that it’s one of the few truly new cars displayed at the show, the ID.Life stands out with a friendly-looking exterior design that shares little more than a Volkswagen emblem with other members of the firm’s range. It’s aimed at younger buyers, and it was created by a team of relatively young engineers and designers. It features LED lighting on both ends, an unusually long wheelbase, and a removable roof panel whose motif is customizable.

The soft-roader stretches 161.6 inches long, 72.6 inches wide, and 63 inches tall, dimensions that make it over 14 inches shorter than the Taos (the smallest Volkswagen crossover sold in the United States) but almost exactly as wide and as tall. It has 7.5 inches of ground clearance plus approach and departure angles of 26 and 37 degrees, respectively. It’s not an off-roader, but it should be more capable off the pavement than the average city car.

Inside, users can choose whether the Life is a car, a gaming lounge, or a movie theater. There’s a 34-inch screen hidden in the area beneath the windshield that can be used to play games or watch movies, though the concept needs to be parked; it’s not autonomous by any means of measurement. The seats are recline to let the passengers sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Alternatively, both benches can fold flat to turn the Life into a big camping tent.

Volkswagen built the ID.Life on its MEB platform, which also underpins a number of vehicles including the ID.4 and the upcoming production version of the ID.Buzz, but the concept rides on a reworked version of the architecture that’s front-wheel-drive. As of writing, the other MEB-based cars are either rear- or all-wheel-drive. Power comes from a single electric motor that’s linked to a 62-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. It sends 234 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels, and its maximum driving range checks in at 249 miles on the WLTP testing cycle used in Europe (which is more optimistic than the testing cycle used in America by the EPA). 

Although the ID.Life remains at the concept stage, it’s already well on its way to production. It will cost between 20,000 and 25,000 euros (around $23,800 and $29,700, respectively) when it goes on sale in select markets in 2025. It might be called ID.2, a name that would signal it slots below the ID.3 hatchback, though nothing is official yet. However, we already know that the ID.Life will not be sold in the United States due to its small size.

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