Volkswagen’s ID. lineup of electric vehicles is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years, if Wolfsburg has its way – and rumour has it that the company intends to add one more model to the collection. Happily for us enthusiasts, it looks like it’s going to be a sports car.
The latest news comes from Autocar, which quotes sources claiming that Volkswagen is planning to build a sports coupé and roadster called the ID.R, named after the fearsome hillclimb racer. Set to go into production in the middle of the decade, it is expected to sire various performance-oriented, R-branded ID. products.
According to the publication, the car is being built to go head-to-head with the forthcoming Tesla Roadster, citing an internal strategy paper. It should be based on Volkswagen’s modular skateboard-style MEB platform, which also underpins the ID.3 hatch.
The architecture is said to be highly versatile and compatible with both front- and rear-mounted motors, giving the company the flexibility to build cars with either front-, rear- and all-wheel drive. This means that in range-topping form, the ID.R could be powered by a two-motor AWD setup from the ID.4 SUV.
As such, the possibilities are endless. A high-powered all-wheel drive model will not only provide Volkswagen with an all-electric performance flagship, it also opens the door to an electric replacement for the Audi TT. It could also form a basis for an electric Porsche Boxster, which is currently tipped to be built on either the Taycan’s PPE architecture or a version of the current model’s platform.
Various design study models already exist at VW’s headquarters, said Autocar, and the car will mark the first use of what the company’s motorsports director Sven Smeets calls a “performance-based battery.” The latter, which is being developed in-house for future R-badged ID. cars, will use patented cell technology from the ID.R racer, which secured a number of lap and hillclimb records over the past few years.
“We are beginning to work on the first batteries for the performance road cars, using the dedicated team from the ID.R, so there will be a direct link between them,” said Smeets. “The batteries start in the same area. At the moment we’re finalising the performance parameters of the batteries.”
And while the technology remains a secret, this battery is said to use a different chemical process compared to the ID.3’s battery, along with a new cell-to-pack architecture for greater efficiency and improved packaging. Volkswagen R boss Jost Capito said incorporating race car technology to the road will require the company to adapt it to the differing needs of consumers.
“We have different cells and ways of building and all the technical learnings from motorsport. There are different demands on a performance car than a road car, and we’re looking at all aspects to see what we can do with the tech. We’ve seen how it works in the ID.R and now we want to see how it looks in a road car.”
Volkswagen is clearly serious about building a performance electric brand. Having terminated all motorsports activities powered by internal combustion engines, the company then showcased an all-wheel drive Golf eR1 prototype at this year’s GP Ice Race, expected to preview the hardware for R-badged EVs. The cars that will wear the R moniker will slot above the already hot GTX variants, much like the GTIs you see today.
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