For a long while, Volkswagen has been working on the flagship all-electric ID. series. The mid-sized sedan known as ID.7 debuted on April 17 and is expected to be launched in North America, China, and Europe. Recently released images show that the ID.7 borrows design elements from Tesla Model 3 and Model Y
Prior to the launch date, the car has been spotted several times on winding Spanish roads in camouflage, apparently being tested. According to the German automaker, the car will deliver a range of up to 435 miles of range (WLTP cycle) on a single charge.
The range boost is the result of an optimized drivetrain that includes the most powerful motor used on any of the automaker’s ID. series yet. In the ID. series, the motor that will feature in the ID.7 delivers the highest torque.
The battery charging time has also been improved and will hit speeds of up to 200 kW. This is 30 kW faster than the charging speed of the best VW ID.4 SUVs. The upcoming electric sedan from Volkswagen will also have major alterations in the interior design. These include;
- Minimalized interior
- 15-inch horizontal infotainment screen
- Interior lighting
- Climate-controls through screen
- Advanced Augmented Reality (AR) heads-up display
The more powerful and efficient electric drive motor that will come with the VW ID.7 was first teased by Kai Grünitz, a Member of VW’s Board of Management, during the testing. Grünitz is also responsible for the development.
“In addition, we have enhanced the control quality of the running gear and were thus able to further increase driving comfort,” Grünitz said. “The combination of a superior drive system, comfortable running gear, and long-range make the ID.7 the perfect limousine for long-distance travel.”
Volkswagen’s New 282 hp electric motor produces enviable numbers
As automakers continue to pour billions of dollars into EV development, some of the investments are already paying off. The new VW APP550 drive unit is the taste of the sweet fruit of labor. It was designed to have improved performance and efficiency and is anticipated to be launched in the fourth quarter.
It is expected to produce 282 hp (210 kW/286 PS) and about 406 pound-feet (550 Nm) of torque—depending on the gear ratio of the vehicle. According to the German automaker, the performance boost can be tuned to different factors.
“[This includes an] enhanced stator with a higher effective number of windings and a larger wire cross-section,” the company disclosed. It was also revealed that the new electric motor features a more powerful magnet and reinforced unit to “withstand the considerable torques produced”.
What is clear is that the focus of the engineers was not limited to performance. Instead, they also paid attention to efficiency. Consequently, they “optimized a number of components in the powertrain, including the thermal management system”.
Another important innovation in the powertrain is the cooling system which is not dependent on an electrically driven oil pump. Rather, “heated oil is cooled by the vehicle’s coolant circuit, which keeps the drive at operating temperature”.
There is also a heat sink located outside of the stator. More details on the APP550 will likely emerge later this year. However, the German automaker has revealed that the drive system will be made at their Kassel plant.
Volkswagen to build EV battery ecosystem in Indonesia
While the excitement of the VW ID.7 premiere swirls in the air, the German automaker has also revealed that it will build an EV battery ecosystem in Indonesia. It also disclosed that it will partner with Ford, Vale, and Zhejiang Huayou Cobalt.
Automakers are increasingly courting Indonesia for its raw materials that are critical to EV battery production. It is important to mention that battery account for up to 40% of an EV’s price. Therefore, cutting battery costs will help automakers to bring down the prices of their EVs and close the gap on Tesla’s market dominance.
The Indonesian minister of investment Bahlil Lahadalia said on Sunday, 16 April 2023 that Volkswagen will work with Huayou, Ford, Vale, and French miner Eramet as well as other Indonesian firms including Merdeka Gold Copper, the parent company of Merdeka Battery, and energy firm Kalla Group.
The partnerships will include joint ventures and supply raw materials, Lahadalia revealed in Germany where a delegation led by President Joko Widodo was attending an industry fair. Volkswagen, Kalla Group, Ford, Eramet, Huayou, and Merdeka Gold Copper did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comments.
Indonesia has the largest nickel reserves in the world and has been trying to develop downstream industries for the metal with the ultimate goal of producing EVs and batteries. In March, Volkswagen said it plans to invest $193 billion over five years in areas including raw material sourcing and battery production.
Volkswagen recalls 143,000 Atlas SUVs due to airbag problems
Earlier this month, Volkswagen recalled 143,000 Atlas SUVs in the U.S. due to faulty wiring in a weight sensor on the front passenger side. The company said the faulty wiring could switch off the airbag when a passenger is seated.
According to field data, the issue is “highly sporadic and the warning light is illuminated immediately upon failure,” the company revealed in documents filed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
During a crash, airbags forcefully inflate and deploy. Although they can protect passengers, they have been shown to be harmful to small adults and children. Therefore, most cars have a front passenger seat sensor to detect if someone small is sitting there and either switches the airbag on or off.
The faulty wiring on the affected Atlas SUVs has led to a malfunction of the passenger occupant detection system leading to the turning off of the airbag when it shouldn’t, thereby increasing injury risk when there is a crash.
Although Volkswagen has not recorded injuries caused by this problem, drivers of affected vehicles are advised to stop carrying passengers in the front seat until the problem is resolved.
The recall affected some model year 2018 to 2021 Volkswagen Atlas and 2020 model year Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport vehicles. Affected owners will be notified through an email in May. The German automaker is still working to resolve the problem.