Volkswagen’s all-electric I.D. Vizzion won’t be ready by 2020, scuppering a perfectly brilliant headline, but 2022 isn’t too long to wait for a paradigm shift.
We’ve heard the outlandish forecasts. Volvo will only build electric and hybrid vehicles by 2019 (that’s next freakin’ year). Jaguar Land Rover will electrify everything it builds by 2020. And BMW promises to deliver 25 all-new electric i cars by 2025. That’s all fine and well in Europe and the UK, where electric charging stations have this year actually overtaken the amount of fuel stations (5387)… but South Africa has two just public recharge stations. Two! And both are in Cape Town. Not great if you want to impress your tjommas with your leccy car in Melrose Arch, bru.
No, truth be told, there are actually 54 electric recharge stations nationwide at last count. Except electric and plug-in hybrid cars are still so niche in South Africa that only the manufacturers feel the need to cater for their plug-in necessities – so we’re talking fourteen dealer-attached charge points for Nissan’s Leaf and 38 for BMW’s i and hybrid range. So where does this leave South Africa? A land whose best-selling car, the Volkswagen Polo Vivo 1.4, still makes do with a decades-old MPI engine that’s taken off more layers of ozone than the last Kardashian chemical peel did skin. The grim reality is the world may soon stop building cars for South Africa altogether. Looking to the bright lights of Geneva for the next hot import may simply not be a thing anymore.
This is a shame, because the new Volkswagen I.D. Vizzion Concept revealed at this year’s Geneva motor show is something we could get really excited about, if we knew it was SA-bound. True to form, it’s Volkswagen building a people’s car that just happens to be zero emissions, fully electric and super sleek and sexy. Bizarre to think, but in just two years post #DieselGate, Volkswagen’s been able to establish its I.D. electric car brand so incredibly quickly and successfully. There’s been an I.D. hatch (think of it as the next Golf), the I.D. Crozz (a must-have compact crossover jobbie), and the insatiably cool ID Buzz (a welcome return of the VeeDub camper van, just with high voltage replacing good vibes). That’s how the Volkswagen electric puzzle fits together, joined as it is now by the Vizzion (consider it a future Passat).
At five metres long and two metres wide it’s certainly Elon-gated enough (see what we did there?) to out amp Elon’s trailblazing Tesla Model S. On the amp front, there will be two electric motors, two gearboxes, and a sizable 111 kWh battery pack. Combined power of the two motors should add up to around 220 kW (no hint yet of that instantly available torque), offering up a 0 – 100 km/h sprint time in the 6.0 sec range and an estimated cruising range in excess of 600 km off a full (inductive) battery charge. Sounds fabulous, right? Better still, Volkswagen’s mass-market EV infiltration – where targeted – has already taken form in a 20-billion Euro investment in battery supplies, ensuring 16 of its top factories (versus three currently) will be equipped for full-scale I.D. electric vehicle production from 2022 onwards. Electric Avenue, it’s going to be a thing people.