Volkswagen has been talking about ID since it first unveiled the ID Concept at the Paris Motor Show in 2016. At the time VW was embroiled in the Dieselgate scandal, but a lot has happened since the unveil.
VW's approach will be "electric for all", sitting in contrast to sibling Audi's "electric for those with money", the same sort of line that Jaguar took with the i-Pace, and Tesla is trying to shake off with the Model 3.
As such, it's cars like the Nissan Leaf that are probably in VW's sights for its launch model, the compact ID in 2020, with the ID Buzz appearing in 2022 and a T-Roc size SUV cited for 2024 - with a price as low as £18,000. Make no doubt, this is a huge VW EV offensive.
MEB family values
VW, naturally, has something of an advantage over many of its rivals - and that comes down to a boring thing called scale. With a group that spans Audi and Porsche at the premium end of the market - the former well into its electrification and the latter getting close with the Taycan - and Seat and Skoda at the other end, there are lots of outlets for its electric vehicles.
The platform for the ID - MEB (modular electric drive matrix) - is designed specifically for electric cars, rather than being an exercise in retro fitting. This isn't unique as a lot of brands are developing on new platforms, rather than some first-gen electric models based around existing cars, but VW is really investing in this platform in a big way.
Importantly, MEB is flexible, so it can be used from SUVs to vans, with Thomas Ulbrich, responsible for e-mobility at VW saying "The modular electric drive matrix is arguably the most important project in the history of Volkswagen, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf."
VW also says that MEB is available to other manufacturers, to assist in the electrification of other models going forward, and with the announcement of closer working between VW and Ford, we wouldn't be surprised to see ford using this platform in the future.
MEB will underpin the VW ID models, and it's expected to be used for 15 million cars across the VW group in the first wave, with four major vehicles types - the compact (expected to the launch model), the Vizzion (saloon), Crozz (SUV) and the Buzz (van).
VW has revealed some details about the chassis, with an electric motor on the rear axle and the floor of the ID is where the battery sits. There's no surprise there, as that's what you find on the Audi e-tron, with a battery in the floor meaning that the centre of gravity is low and the weight distributed evenly through the car.
VW ID range and charging details
VW is saying that the range will be 330-550km on the WLTP cycle across the ID family, so the specifics for the launch model aren't yet known and much of the range will come down to the capacity of the battery the car will carry.
The ID will have a 125kWh charging system, allowing charging from 0-80 per cent in 30 minutes. Of course that depends on the capacity of the battery, and it will use the CCS standard connector.
VW is also working on charging infrastructure both across Europe and the US and has already said that car batteries will have second-life as storage.
Many details of the ID have not yet been revealed or finalised, but we're fully expecting a lot of teasing for the new car - and 2019 is a key year in the run up to its launch.
It's going to be like a Golf
The Golf is the iconic VW model and VW is aiming to have the ID costing about the same as the Golf diesel. There's already an e-Golf - which offers a 100kW, 136PS, electric motor and 231km range - but you can expect the ID compact to essentially be positioned in the same place as the Golf as a mass volume family car.
Prototypes of the ID were driven in late 2018 - and you can catch up the details from the excellent Fully Charged video below for a taster of that experience - but it's clear that it's sitting in the same space again as the Golf. While the car remains camouflaged, it's clear it's sized somewhere between the Golf and Polo.
There will also be onboard connectivity and driver assistant systems, as well as a heat pump climate control system.
There are plenty of other ID concept models, including the ID Buzz campervan and a Buzz Cargo panel van slated for 2022 release, while an ID Buggy has been teased. The real aim of the ID Buggy is to show the flexibility of the platform and add some excitement.
The compact ID model will be built at the Zwickau plant in Germany, but VW is also going to be building in Emden and Hanover, with the latter highlighted for the production of the ID Buzz van.
It'll be always connected
There's another detail that we're hearing repeated time and again - and that is that the ID will be always connected to the Automotive Cloud, allowing updates to come into the car to improve the performance and functions.
So far, little has been said about the interior. The concept models focused not only on electric mobility but also autonomous driving and we're not at that position yet. We suspect that given the low price points that VW is targeting, the ID will have a fairly conventional VW interior. Certainly from a price point of view, using as much from the existing supply chain as possible will keep prices down.
When will the ID be available?
It's going to be available to buy in 2020 and the pricing is said to be about the same as a Golf diesel - but we suspect you are going to be looking at about £30,000, rather than the £21,000 of the entry-level models. Currently the e-Golf costs £33,240.
We suspect we'll be learning a lot more about the VW ID through 2019, culminating in a final reveal of the production model in the second half of the year.