Volkswagen R division considers hot EV

by James Attwood, Autocar UK 03 Aug 2018


First ID model to arrive will be the hatch in 2020

Volkswagen is evaluating a high-performance electric R model based on one of the forthcoming ID range – but will commit to producing it only once it can live up to the badge.

VW recently broke the outright record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb with the ID R Pikes Peak, described as “an ambassador” for the range. So far, four ID models have been announced and the first, the ID hatch, is due in 2020.

Jost Capito, the boss of the R division, told Autocar UK: “If we do an R electric car, then it will be a proper R, or else it wouldn’t make sense.”

Asked when an ID R might arrive, Capito said: “We have an idea, based on what’s going on on the racing and production side, but we haven’t defined a date yet. The development [in EV technology] is going so quick that every month you have new changes. At some point, you have to say: this is what we want, define it and go for it.”

Capito said the challenge of producing an R variant of an EV was finding the right compromise between the performance of a motorsport car and the battery life and usability of a mainstream car. That balance will help determine which ID road model will be first to get the R treatment.

Selecting that model, according to Capito, “depends on how we define performance vehicles”. He added: “You need the space for motors and batteries, and the battery technology. It’s more complex in the past than with performance engines.”

The most likely choice would be the ID hatch or the ID Crozz SUV crossover. The Crozz will be offered with a twin-motor layout and its larger size could make packaging a performance drivetrain into it easier.

Pikes peak win gives EV boost:

The success of the Volkswagen ID R Pikes Peak proves that electric cars can match combustion-engined ones for performance, according to the firm’s motorsport boss, Sven Smeets.

The 671bhp EV set an outright record at Pikes Peak last month, with Romain Dumas’s time of 7min 57.148sec on the 12.42-mile Colorado course eclipsing the previous mark set in 2013 by Sébastien Loeb in a Peugeot 208 T16. Dumas averaged 90.538mph.

“This project was a demonstration of what the ID family will be, and what R will be in an electric future,” said Smeets. “Our idea was to convince people that electric cars are not boring. They can be very emotional – and we’ve proven that.”