In the never-ending competition to build the Cool Car of the Future, Tesla has got some unlikely competition: a minivan.
New images released this week by Volkswagen show the company’s new I.D. line, which features windowshield-less design.
Expanding the carbon frame, over where the glass windshield would traditionally go, not only makes the new Volkswagen design more aerodynamic than its predecessors, it hints at a fully autonomous future, where drivers will only need screen projections to navigate the road around them.
The concept cars released this week, as well as the I.D. models debuted at the Paris Motor Show in September, would the first of Volkswagen’s line of fully-electric vehicles, based off their Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB). MEB designs will be exclusively used for the fully electric car line in order to give the vehicles a distinct look.
The first glass windshield-less concept design, a two-door coupe, comes with an extendable gull-fin rear that enhances the car’s aerodynamic features.
Volkswagen is also looking to get moms excited about the car of the future, with a more practical minivan design. Both designs come with gull-fin doors.
The company has been vague on the practicalities of a glass windshield-less design (even Tesla’s Model 3 comes with a glass windshield).
The new model also promises to drive autonomously, of course.
The vehicles will come equipped with a multifunction steering wheel that can retract into the display dashboard, kicking the car into auto-pilot mode. In lieu of gears, drivers will control functions such as “park” and “reverse” straight from the wheel.
In “I.D. Pilot” mode, scanning lasers descend from the roof of the car to detect other road users. The I.D. also uses ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors, side area view cameras, and a front camera to survey surroundings. Traffic data will be uploaded from a cloud to the vehicle in order to enhance navigation features.
This summer, after being fined $15 million for falsifying vehicle emissions records, Volkswagen launched its “Together - Strategy 2025” plan to release 30 new electric vehicle designs by 2025, and increase their sales to two million cars a year. With its new “I.D.” line, the company is off to an impressive start.
Photos via WIPO/Volkswagen, World Intellectual Property Organization, Volkswagen