Volkswagen has unveiled its new electric flagship – the ID.7 sedan – and has confirmed the Tesla Model S rival will make its North American debut in 2024.
As well as being VW’s first entry in the ‘executive’ EV segment, the ID.7, unveiled in “near-production concept” form, features the brand’s “most powerful and highest-torque electric drive motor.” The 282 hp output is the most potent of any rear-wheel drive EV Volkswagen yet, and an impressive 700 km of electric range, depending on battery sizes, will be available.
The new powertrain – dubbed the ‘APP550’ – was developed from the ground up to improve performance and efficiency while simultaneously keeping the motor itself as compact as possible (VW admits the MEB platform within which the new power unit is mounted meant available space was limited). A maximum torque of around 550 Nm (just over 405 lb-ft) thanks to an upgraded stator and rotor, and the motor’s newly-developed ‘brain’ – the inverter – operates more efficiently for improved response times across the board. A new cooling systems also moderates temperatures more accurately to avoid wasted energy.
The batteries that will work in tandem with the new power unit have yet to be officially announced, though a new 86 kW example is expected to be used for the first time in the range-topping model, with charging capacities “of up to about 200 kW” on the board. The entry-level ID.7 model will likely use the same 77 kWh battery as the ID.3, ID.4 and ID. Buzz.
The efficiency of the APP550 is aided by the aerodynamic principles of the exterior design, with the sloping ‘fastback’ roof, heavily raked A-pillars and short overhangs combining to create a drag co-efficient of 0.23 cd. Again, “depending on the vehicle equipment,” so customers may want to think twice about the optional larger wheels.
Unsurprisingly, cabin space and comfort for this up-market long-distance cruiser, which is almost five metres (16.5 ft) long – on par with the discontinued VW Arteon – have been prioritized. A “react[ion] to feedback from its customers,” the new infotainment system is operated via a new 15-inch touchscreen that dominates the centre console, as well as an “augmented reality” head-up display.
Answering a common complaint, additional backlighting should make using the climate control switches easier at night, ditto a new direct-access bar at the top of the touchscreen will make navigating the core functions more user-friendly. Traditional up-market cabin features like massage seats and an electronically dimmable panoramic sunroof will be available.
Though Volkswagen has not confirmed either a US or Canadian starting price, ID.7 units earmarked for North America and Europe will be built at VW’s Emden plant in Germany.
Scheduled to arrive in Europe and China later this year, VW passenger cars boss Thomas Schäfer has already heralded the ID.7 as “the next step” in the brand’s bid to produce only electric vehicles in Europe within the next decade. Indeed, the ID.7 is the first of 10 new electric models that are set to be launched by VW before 2026, with “an electric compact SUV” – based on the ID.3 architecture, and potentially an EV equivalent to the Tiguan – and the sub- €25K (around $36.5K) ID.2, both scheduled for 2026.
“With the ID.7 we are taking the next step in our electric offensive,” Schäfer explains. “The limousine offers a high level of comfort and long ranges. Already by 2026, we will offer the widest electric range of all manufacturers in Europe – from the entry-level model for less than 25,000 euros up to the ID.7 as the new top model within the ID. family. Our goal is to achieve an electric car share of 80 per cent in Europe by 2030. As from 2033, Volkswagen will produce only electric vehicles in Europe.”