Volkswagen spent 2017 rolling out concepts for its new I.D. lineup, including a new Microbus, finally, and now it’s introducing one more called the Vizzion—a fully-autonomous, all-electric sleek sedan with no steering wheel or pedals.
The I.D. Vizzion’s part of VW’s $82 billion effort to electrify its lineup by 2030, and it’s an ambitious design by the German automaker, which recently teamed up with some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names in the autonomous driving field. That began as a result of Dieselgate, the scandal which already cost VW $25 billion for lying about its blatant effort to cheat diesel emissions tests.
In the conceptual world where the I.D. Vizzion lives, it’s got a top speed of 112 mph, VW says, thanks to the sedan’s dual electric motors that push out 225 kW of power. A 111 kWh lithium-ion battery pack can hold up to 413 miles of juice on a single charge.
The I.D. Vizzion has all the makings and buzzwords of an autonomous car in the 21st Century, too. Instead of you, the driver, you’re a “vehicle guest,” VW says. A “digital chauffeur” drives the car, according to VW, “enabling passengers to freely structure their time during the drive.”
There’s a virtual host—because of course this needs some artificial intelligence to boot—tasked with understanding your personal preferences thanks to “complete embedding into the digital eco-system” (VW’s words, not mine).
All in all, it’s super concept-y, but the Vizzion’s a sign of where automakers would like to go—autonomous cars that can be used in cities for things like ride-hailing apps and the like. It follows announcements from Google’s self-driving car entity Waymo (which has driverless cars testing in the Phoenix area) and General Motors’ Cruise Automation (which wants to start testing driverless Bolts in 2019).
Unlike Waymo or Cruise’s cars, which basically just lose the wheel and pedals, the Vizzion’s more of an ambitious idea that we’d seen in recent years, and—in the hypothetical world where autonomous cars actually happen—it makes sense. If we’re not going to be tasked to drive, having the kind of spacious interior VW designed for the Vizzion is smart. Might as well have the legroom to kickback.
The Vizzion’s going to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month. I’d be interested to hear about how this looks up close.