SHANGHAI – Volkswagen confirmed plans to launch a flagship full-electric SUV based the ID Roomzz concept unveiled here on Sunday.
The production version will be a three-row, seven-seat model that will compete against large electric SUVs such as the Tesla Model X.
The SUV will "launch initially" in China starting in 2021, VW said in a statement released ahead of the public debut of the ID Roomzz at the Shanghai auto show this week.
VW CEO Herbert Diess said the production ID Roomz will be the flagship electric car to be launched by Volkswagen in China.
"We plan to produce more than 22 million electric cars in the next 10 years," Diess said, adding that around half of VW’s engineers were working on products destined for China.
Diess said the SUV would eventually be rolled out to other markets but did not comment on the timing.
VW brand's sales and marketing director, Juergen Stackmann, told AutoExpress magazine that the production ID Roomz would go to the U.S. but was unlikely to be sold in Europe where buyers prefer a compact car shape and not "extra large."
The ID Roomzz is 4920 mm (194 inches) long, which is 42 mm (1.7 inches) longer than VW’s Touareg midsize SUV. It has four seats but the production version will have up to seven seats.
The concept's seating is flexible, turning it into "a lounge on wheels for a life on the road," VW said.
The SUV is designed to offer Level 4 autonomous driving, which means it can drive itself in most situations.
To start the self-driving mode, the driver presses on a VW logo on the steering wheel for at least five seconds. This moves the steering wheel to an off position to provide more space in the cockpit area.
Each seat can be rotated inward 25 degrees to enable more communication between driver and passengers. Seats can also be reclined when car is in autonomous mode. Pressing on the steering wheel logo will allow the driver to take back control.
The concept has a digital glass-front panel with a dashboard and steering wheel that appears to float in front of the driver as a visual display. Interactive light zones provide passengers with information via intuitively perceptible lighting effects.