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Volkswagen hints at an electric sports car powered with performance-oriented batteries

The speculative list of Volkswagen electric cars keeps growing. The latest is a new all-electric sports car, as reported today by Autocar in the UK. In about five years, the first of a lineup of VW electric performance cars would borrow the “ID R” name from the company’s racing concept car.

Volkswagen’s MEB platform would allow the possibility of front-, rear-, or all-wheel configurations. Autocar speculates that a two-seat or 2+2 version with a twin-motor setup could be both a flagship electric sports car and zero-emission successor to the Audi TT.

It’s already rumored that Porsche is developing an all-electric Boxster. And they’ve already hinted they are working with Rimac on a bespoke battery for the 4-motor e-Macan.

Sven Smeets, Volkswagen’s motorsport direction, focused on a new type of battery chemistry and packaging needed for maximum performance:

We are beginning to work on the first batteries for the performance road cars, using the dedicated team from the ID R, so there will be a direct link between them. The batteries start in the same area. At the moment, we’re finalizing the performance parameters of the batteries.

In June 2019, The VW ID R all-electric race car made the fastest ever emission-free lap at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. A month later, In July 2019, Volkswagen used the ID R all-electric race car to make a record run of the Goodwood Hillclimb. The ID R racing car has two electric motors, which put out 671 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque.

Volkswagen ID R

Last month, Volkswagen unveiled the four-wheel-drive electric Golf eR1 at the Ice Race GP in Zell, Austria. The battery-electric concept vehicle drifted around the snow-covered track.

Jost Capito, head of Volkswagen’s R performance car division, talked about transferring electric race tech from exotic tracks to everyday roads.

We have different cells and ways of building and all the technical learnings from motorsport. There are different demands on a performance car than a road car, and we’re looking at all aspects to see what we can do with the technology. We’ve seen how it works in the ID R, and now we want to see how it looks in a road car.

Autocar speculated that a Volkswagen electric sports car could compete against the new Tesla Roadster. However, the new Roadster is currently expected in 2021, years ahead of a consumer-oriented ID R. And the Roadster’s specs would be hard to beat: 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds via a 3-motor drivetrain and 620 miles of range from a 200kWh pack.

Electrek’s Take

Until any of these VW EVs are confirmed by US executives, they should be seen as concepts only.

Late last month, there was news from Europe about high-performance, all-wheel, all-electric GTX variants. That sounded exciting until we reached out to the US executives, who made it clear that the GTX nomenclature is not used in the US. Last week, we heard about a prospective, all-electric ID Ruggdzz off-roader.

Reminder: The ID3 hatch is not coming to the US. And the smaller pack sizes available for the ID Crozz crossover in other markets are also not headed to the US.

So, while it’s fun to imagine the wildest possible off-road and on-track electric variants from VW, they remain a fantasy until the middle of this decade, if not longer.

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Avatar for Bradley Berman Bradley Berman

Bradley writes about electric cars, autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and other tech that’s transforming society. He contributes to The New York Times, SAE International, Via magazine, Popular Mechanics, MIT Technology Review, and others.