The Volkswagen ID.6 Is Now on Sale, But Not for Us

·4 min read
Photo credit: Volkswagen
Photo credit: Volkswagen
  • Deliveries of the VW ID.6 have begun in China, where two versions of the SUV are produced by two joint ventures.

  • The ID.6 is based on the MEB platform, offering 58- and 77-kWh battery capacities, along with rear- or all-wheel-drive layouts.

  • The ID.6 is not believed to be headed to Europe or North America, as VW readies an even larger battery-electric model.

Following its reveal earlier this spring, deliveries of the battery-electric Volkswagen ID.6 have begun across the Pacific, offering seating for as many as seven. The model, first shown at the Shanghai motor show earlier this year, will be produced and sold in China for now, with two different VW joint ventures producing slightly different versions.

That's right—there are two of these—badged ID.6 Crozz and ID.6 X, with FAW-Volkswagen joint venture producing the former in Foshan, and SAIC Volkswagen in Anting, near Shanghai, producing the latter. Each features slightly different exterior styling and options, along with a choice of two batteries and a choice of rear- or all-wheel-drive. The 58.0-kWh option is the smaller battery in the lineup, offering 271 miles in the NEDC cycle, while the 77.0-kWh option serves up a 365-mile range in the (slightly optimistic) NEDC cycle. The smaller battery will only be available with rear-wheel-drive models.

While the battery sizes are identical to those offered in the ID.4 stateside and in Europe, we wouldn't compare the ranges as apples-to-apples, especially given the heftier curb weights of the ID.6 variants.

Despite its larger exterior size, the ID.6 in base form is quite affordable in China. The Crozz starts at 239,800 yuan, or about $37,100 after government incentives. That's not far from the starting price of the smaller ID.4 stateside.

Why aren't these EVs offered in the states, you're probably wondering by now.

Part of the answer is that Volkswagen has several plants in China, and its lineup is actually quite more varied than it is in the States, with a greater variety of nameplates in more segments. Another part of the answer is that China has a New Energy vehicle mandate favoring hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. The ID.6 would likely need to be produced in Europe or the U.S., and thus require production capacity not allocated to it at the moment, before its offered here or across the Atlantic.

"China is a rapidly-evolving market and Chinese customers are open to new technology," Olaf Gutowksi, Vice President Sales, Marketing and After Sales of the Volkswagen China Passenger Cars said earlier this year. "Rising Chinese brands, such as NIO and Xpeng, are also making competition more fierce, especially when it comes to new energy vehicles (NEVs) and intelligent connected vehicles (ICVs). As a result, one difference in our ID. models in China is that they will have a high level of computing power and a robust software platform in order to provide customers with the necessary digital and connectivity services. For instance, Chinese ID.6 customers can check for updates on air quality or traffic violation tickets. These are just two examples of how we tailor our ID. models to the needs of the Chinese market."

Actually, it sounds like U.S. buyers could use both of these features as well.

So the ID.6 isn't headed stateside or to Europe, but another battery-electric SUV from VW is likely on the way. VW is about to phase out production of the Passat stateside to make room for ID.4 production in Tennessee, while the even larger ID.8 could join it there as well, offering three-row capacity. VW confirmed the ID.8 is headed into production, offering an Atlas-sized footprint, but has not mentioned where it will be built. Zwickau and Chattanooga would be prime suspects when it comes to ID.8 production.

"Different markets have different consumer preferences, road conditions and competitive landscapes, so it is critical to have a targeted regional strategy to better adapt to the specific market situation," Gutowski added. "China is one of the most important markets globally for Volkswagen, and will continue to play an essential role in the future success of our transformation to electrification and digitization. We see the ID.6 as the next building block for Volkswagen to also become the leading brand for sustainable mobility in China, as we are for ICE vehicles."

Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned