Meet the Volkswagen ID. LIFE, an electric vehicle concept that VW unveiled in Munich this week that the automaker said a production version of which would cost around €20,000, have a range of around 250 miles, and also look pretty damn good, too. It’s almost too good to be true.
And it still might be, as this is just a concept. Still, VW attached a year (2025) by which a version of this thing might actually get made, which it didn’t have to do. It also didn’t have to estimate those cost and range numbers, which is somewhat unusual for a concept. Those numbers also could just be designed to generate blogs exactly like the one you’re reading.
They probably are! And I would guess that if this thing ever goes into mass production they will be a little bit worse, with the car more expensive than €20,000 and with a shorter range than 250 miles. Still, I appreciate that an automaker is aspiring to make an affordable car with decent range. And, yes, this is probably just another instance of Volkswagen nakedly imitating Tesla again — remember when Tesla said they would have a $25,000 EV, at some point? — but I don’t much care about that anymore. Instead, let’s see who can actually do it.
Some more details below, per Volkswagen. It all sounds pretty cool:
The design of the ID. LIFE is strikingly clear, pared-down and high-quality. Decorative elements and add-on parts are dispensed with, as is any complex mix of materials. The horizontal division between the body, glass surfaces and roof also contributes to the car’s purist appearance. An individualised and removable roof made of air chamber textile lends an open-air feeling in the ID. LIFE, while also reducing the vehicle weight.
Electric motor drives the front wheels. The ID. LIFE is based on a smaller variant of Volkswagen’s modular electric drive matrix (MEB) that has been developed specifically for the small car segment. This is the first time a vehicle based on the MEB has front-wheel drive. With its 172 kW (234 PS) electric motor, the ID. LIFE accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 6.9 seconds, while its 57 kWh high-voltage battery enables a range of some 400 kilometres (WLTP).
The ID. LIFE is a reliable companion for digital experiences of various kinds. For example, it can be converted into a cinema or gaming lounge in no time at all. The vehicle comes with a video game console and projector, as well as a projection screen that extends from the dash panel when required. Other devices can be connected as needed to the 230-volt / 16-amp power supply in the interior. The seating design, too, is extremely flexible, in keeping with the idea of the car as a companion for all situations and lifestyles. For instance, the front seat bench can be completely folded down, as can the rear seat bench. This enables a range of different possibilities, from cinema seating, to a bed measuring around two metres in length, to a cargo version that maximises luggage volume.
Obviously, we have no idea whether this is only for Europe and China and will never even make it to the U.S. — my guess, like a lot of these cool overseas-only EVs, is that that in large might hinge on who wins the presidency in 2024, and whether that person prefers stricter fuel economy regulations or not — but for now we can admire from a distance.
Or not, as this interior is kind of garbage — especially the dumb steering yoke, dear God VW what are you thinking? Or is that further Tesla imitation? — but the pedals are cool, particularly the play and pause symbols on them, which I assume have some kind of gaming function.
Here is one of several cameras that replace all of the mirrors, both side and rear-view:
And here is the tiny frunk:
This is a good car, I fear, very much in the Honda E way of things, also a good car. And we could only be so fortunate to have a class of small, good affordable electric cars become a thing, because with government incentives, at $25,000 or €20,000, that’s a game-changer. Let’s do this, Volkswagen! It’s not like the ID.4 is gonna do much in America anyway.