Electric Volkswagens of the Future with Watson Digital Assistant at LA Auto Show

Volkswagen is presenting three electric concept vehicles at the LA Auto Show – the compact I.D., the spacious I.D. BUZZ and the I.D.CROZZ SUV. They are based on an electric vehicle. By 2025  Volkswagen plans to sell one million electric vehicles per year and plans to be the market leader in electric mobility. The electric vehicles have expanded interiors, high voltage batteries and different exterior configurations.

The first model from the all-electric I.D. Family for Europe will be a compact model, while in the USA the first model will be an SUV, to be introduced in 2020.

The all-electric compact SUV is expected to precede the revival of the iconic Volkswagen Bus in 2022, with a vehicle based on the I.D. BUZZ concept.

“The I.D. CROZZ-based electric vehicle will be an affordable and stylish electric SUV—and there is more to come!” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “The I.D. CROZZ and the I.D. BUZZ will help Volkswagen to kick off an EV revolution in the United States. All of our I.D. concept cars demonstrate the inherent flexibility, driving range and smart design that can serve the needs of 21st century drivers.”

The I.D. CROZZ, first shown in Shanghai in April and updated in Frankfurt earlier this year, carries the future of transportation technology, from its voice-activated doors and trunk to its planned self-driving technology. Sized similarly to the 2018 Tiguan in a four-door coupe shape, with the interior space of a mid-size SUV, the I.D.CROZZ combines an 83-kWh lithium-ion battery pack with a pair of electric motors, one on each axle. The front motor generates 101 horsepower and the rear 201 hp, for a combined system output of 302 hp. This concept vehicle will offer an anticipated range of up to 300 miles.

The 4MOTION system in the I.D. CROZZ uses the rear motor as the default driving force; allowing the front motor to automatically engage when needed for traction, or it can be switched on for off-road use or snowy conditions. The low position of the lithium-ion battery pack also helps to improve handling with an optimum low center of gravity and 48/52 front-rear weight split. All Volkswagen I.D. vehicles will be designed to speed recharging time over today’s models, and the CROZZ recovers 80 percent of its charge in 30 minutes via a 150 kWh DC charger.

The Volkswagen brand will meet the challenges of the future with the I.D. models. They are based on the all-electric architecture that will be used group-wide. The new e-vehicles offer zero-emission long-distance travel, fast charging capability and spacious, flexible interiors.

As with the other Volkswagen I.D. concept vehicles, the I.D. CROZZ features the I.D. Pilot self-driving system, which Volkswagen plans to deploy in 2025. The I.D. Pilot relies on four laser scanners that pop up from the roof, as well as ultrasonic and radar sensors, side area view cameras and a front camera. The system activates either by voice control—“Hello I.D., please activate Pilot mode”—or by intentionally touching the Volkswagen logo on the steering wheel and holding it; after three seconds, the wheel retracts for self-driving mode. In manual driving mode, the ambient lighting in the I.D. CROZZ is light blue, while in automated I.D. Pilot mode the lighting switches to red.

The interior of the I.D. CROZZ uses an “Open Space” design concept to create an airy, flexible cabin with lounge-like amenities, from the Alcantara-covered quilted seating surfaces to the motion-controlled virtual light shade—a feature of the panoramic glass roof that uses LED strips to illuminate the interior. Drivers can take control of the I.D. CROZZ through the electrically adjustable and retractable multifunction steering wheel, an Active Info Display, an electronic rear-view mirror (e-Mirror), an augmented reality heads-up display and digital door panels. These features, depending on their type, are operated by voice and gesture control, touch displays or capacitive button fields. The middle of the instrument panel features a 10.2-inch touch tablet that handles infotainment, HVAC and communications functions.

In addition, the I.D. CROZZ sports five “Smart Lights”—interactive, slender LED elements that can communicate with passengers. The Smart Lights in the door panels become active as the driver or one of the passengers starts voice control to open or close one of the doors—a visually supportive element that shows the activation of voice control. Another Smart Light above the Active Info Display in sight of the driver becomes active as the driver says, “Hello I.D.” At the same time, this Smart Light assists the driver by giving visual cues in the form of interactive light signals in navigation and potentially hazardous situations. For example, if the vehicle detects a pedestrian on the right side of the car, for instance, the Smart Light then points this out with a flashing red signal from this direction.

“The special features of our architecture are the new proportions with long wheelbases and short overhangs”, says Christian Senger, head of the e-mobility product line at Volkswagen, and he adds: “This enables us to create a completely new space concept offering great flexibility for vehicle occupants and cargo.”

Senger uses the example of the I.D. compact car to demonstrate how the size of the interior has grown: “It has the exterior dimensions of a Golf, but offers as much interior space as a Passat.” This is possible thanks to a space-saving axially parallel e-drive and the high-voltage battery housed in the vehicle floor. This also applies to all other body shapes: “The all-electric architecture enables all kinds of different vehicle types to be developed, from the compact class to a seven-seater SUV.”

In Los Angeles Stackmann revealed that in addition to the three models already presented (compact vehicle, SUV and MPV) new members will be added to the I.D. Family in future, including a saloon. Not only do all models have electric drive as a common feature, but also a new kind of connectivity. Instead of a large number of control units, in future the vehicle electrical system will have powerful central board computers with central software that can always be updated and upgraded. This new architecture is the basis for new digital in-car services that enhance everyday driving.

“The technological innovations we are currently working on will further increase the potential of the automobile”, says Jurgen Stackmann Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for Sales, Marketing and After-Sale, “As well as a highly attractive design and numerous ways of meeting individual customer requirements, we will do everything we can to meet the growing demands that people make on sustainable mobility.”

This starts with approaching customers in the right way. In a joint project with the US software group Adobe, potential customers are targeted in social networks and will then find information on the I.D. generation customized according to their profiles on a new Volkswagen internet portal.

Even before visiting a Volkswagen dealership customers can virtually experience the new electric vehicles, also in unusual places.

Volkswagen is e cooperating with Microsoft for augmented reality that  allows VW to present the new car virtually in space or in a particular place with the help of HoloLens glasses, for example in cafés and shopping malls.

Further cooperation between Volkswagen and an IT group concerns infotainment being realized together with IBM called Predictive We Services. The basis for this is the digital assistant “Watson”, who researches possible intermediate destinations for shopping or dinner online and is also able to book them with voice command during the journey.

“For more than 70 years Volkswagen’s strength has been in making technologies and above all mobility accessible to people, regardless of the drive system. And that’s the way it will be in the future. We make high quality electric mobility accessible to everyone”, is how Jürgen Stackmann summarizes Volkswagen’s targets.