Volkswagen ID.Vizzion: production version of Passat-sized electric car spotted testing

Another new Volkswagen electric car – this time a Passat-sized model that'll be available as a hatchback or estate – has been spied testing on public roads

What appears to be the production version of the Volkswagen ID.Vizzion electric concept car has been captured testing in the Austrian Alps by spy photographers. The pictures (above and below) give us our first glimpse at what'll effectively be a fully electric equivalent to the Volkswagen Passat, available in both four-door and five-door estate form. It'll join the ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5 in VW's battery-electric line-up.

Although the original ID.Vizzion concept was a four-door saloon, the car photographed appears to be a five-door hatchback. This could either be dummy bodywork not representative of the finished article, or an indication that the production car will in fact be a hatchback. It's thought that placing an electric motor on the rear axle with a traditional four-door saloon body could take away too much boot space compared to what buyers of cars this size typically expect.

A similar range of motor and a battery options to those offered in the existing ID models is expected to be offered – including a powerful four-wheel-drive high-performance variant wearing the GTX badge, as is the case with the ID.3, ID.4 and ID.5. The longer wheelbase of this model may allow for the installation of a slightly larger battery than even the longest-range 'Tour' variants of the ID.3 and ID.4, however.

Their 77kWh battery returns a maximum range of around 340 miles, but it's possible the Passat equivalent could accommodate a circa-80kWh battery for a range of more than 430 miles. Rapid charging at up to 200kW is also possible, potentially allowing around 150 miles of range to be added in a little over 10 minutes.

The five-door estate version of the car was already previewed back in 2019 in the form of the ID. Space Vizzion concept, which you can read full details of below. The final name of the model has yet to be revealed, but it's currently being referred to as the 'Aero B Sedan' and 'Aero B Wagon' in four-door and estate forms respectively. It's thought likely this car will come to market in 2023 or 2024, ahead of the smaller ID.1 and ID.2 models, which were previewed at the 2021 Munich motor show by the ID.Life concept, but won't arrive in production form until 2025.

Volkswagen ID. Space Vizzion concept

The estate version of the car was unveiled in concept form – bearing the name ID. Space Vizzion – at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2019. The sleek five-door estate was described by VW at the time as having "the aerodynamic properties of a Gran Turismo with the spacious proportions of an SUV". The Space Vizzion was developed from the earlier Vizzion concept, displayed at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, which was a four-door saloon.

Although we don't have exact technical details for the production version of the car just yet, the ID. Space Vizzion stored energy in an 82kWh battery (with a usable capacity of 77kWh), giving it an impressive potential driving range of up to 367 miles. It also had 150kW charging capability, for a 0-80% top-up in 30 minutes.

A 275bhp motor on the rear axle was presented as the standard specification (giving the above driving range figure), while adding a 100bhp motor at the front gives a combined output of 335bhp and all-wheel drive. In the latter configuration, the Space Vizzion will accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds, with top speed limited to 109mph. VW said the battery and motors were positioned in such a way as to give the Space Vizzion near-50:50 front-rear weight distribution, which promises better balance and handling.

Design

As with many electric vehicles, the ID. Space Vizzion saw close focus on aerodynamic efficiency in its design, which benefits driving range. Air enters through slats in the front bumper and passes through tunnels behind the 'grille' area (located where the engine would be in an internal-combustion car).

It then emerges from gaps in the bonnet and passes over the windscreen, along the roof and through a small gap between the roof and the rear wing, allowing for smooth, continuous airflow from the front to the rear of the car. There's also an aerodynamic diffuser at the lower rear of the car, and the 22-inch wheels fitted to the concept have aero flaps in order to optimise the airflow across their faces.

Up front, the ID. Space Vizzion boasts a slender white light strip, with an illuminated 'VW' logo at its centre. There are also 'IQ.LIGHT' LED matrix headlights integrated into the bumper, as well as honeycomb-style LED daytime running lights and a transparent red light strip that runs across the entire rear end of the car.

Instead of door handles, the concept has illuminated touch surfaces that become active when someone approaches with the car's key (or a paired smartphone) on their person. This further enhances the car's aerodynamic efficiency. The ID. Space Vizzion is 4.9 metres long, 1.5 metres high and just under two metres wide; similar dimensions to the current Volkswagen Passat Estate.

Interior

The ID. Space Vizzion boasts a minimalist interior with a large landscape-orientated touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard – not unlike the arrangement found in the Tesla Model 3. Cabin finishes are made from sustainable materials, including a plant-based leather alternative called 'AppleSkin', made from the residue of apple-juice production. Chrome-look paint is used instead of actual chrome and Alcantara edging also features.

For the driver, most information is displayed using an augmented reality (AR) head-up display, with the traditional cockpit display reduced to the status of a "secondary mini display showing only basic information". Controls on the steering column are used to select the drive mode (drive, energy recovery, reverse, neutral and park) and operate the indicators and windscreen wipers.

Elsewhere, an 'ID. Light' interactive light strip on the A-pillar can greet the driver on entry to the car, indicate when the motors are operational and display important navigation information and other prompts (such as an incoming phone call) within the driver's peripheral vision. It also works in tandem with voice control to make operating the car's systems in this way more intuitive.

The ID. Space Vizzion concept is a four-seater, although it's highly likely a more conventional five-seat layout would be adopted for any production version. In the concept, a large fold-out centre console between the two rear seats contains storage areas, a drinks holder and USB ports. In the 586-litre boot, Volkswagen has fitted the concept with electric longboards that are custom-fit to the boot area and double up as a raised boot floor when stored. Also included are helmets for use when riding the boards, which VW says can be used as "last-mile electric street surfers".

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