Volkswagen’s car of the future is almost here. The ID Roomzz, unveiled in further detail Sunday, is an autonomous electric sports utility vehicle set to hit the roads in China as early as 2021. Its swiveling front seats, which can turn to face the other passengers in autonomous mode, transform the car into what Volkswagen refers to as a “lounge on wheels.”
“This SUV is a monolith, appearing to be seamlessly machined from one solid block,” Klaus Bischoff, chief designer at the Volkswagen brand, said in a statement. “The battery-powered ID Roomzz moves effortlessly — silently and without emissions.”
The company is placing no caveats when it described this car as “autonomous.” This is full fat level four autonomy, referring to a completely hands-off level of functionality that can operate within certain limits like specifically-defined city limits. This stands in contrast to Tesla Autopilot and others that require the human to maintain attention for takeover when needed.
The Shanghai premiere of the vehicle comes in the same month as its initial announcement. Industry estimations on level four range from launching sometime next year to as late as 2024, meaning Volkswagen is falling on the more optimistic side of the timescale.
In full automatic driving mode, the seats swivel by 25 degrees to face the other passengers. Each passenger is able to adjust their seat individually, offering a reclined position for better relaxation.
A digital cockpit uses a glass-front panel to merge with the digitalized steering wheel, giving the car a futuristic feel.
The car uses an 82 kilowatt-hour battery to offer range of up to 280 miles per charge under the WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure). That’s comparable to the Tesla Model X SUV’s range.
Recharge takes around half an hour to reach 80 percent capacity, using a 150-kilowatt charging system.
The car uses two electric motors to offer a system output of 225 kilowatts. The vehicle offers acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 6.6 seconds and offers a top speed of up to 112 mph.
The interior seat covers use AppleSkin, a renewable raw material. The door panels also use processed wooden veneers.
An active filter system also keeps the air clean inside the vehicle, a feature that sounds similar to the HEPA filters that power Tesla’s Bioweapon Defense Mode. Without further details though, it’s unclear whether this air filtration system would offer the same protection.
Volkswagen will be presenting the car in further detail at the Auto Shnghai 2019 show on 18 to 26 April.