How can we be so sure? Volkswagen has already released enough information to make that pretty clear. You’ll be able to check it with your own eyes here. More than anything, the company presented both concepts at IAA 2021. If they were about the same car, one would suffice, right?
The biggest news the IAA 2021 brought was the ID. LIFE. Volkswagen confirmed it will cost around €20,000 and arrive in 2025, two of the elements already established for the entry-level EV. As a concept, the vehicle had the leeway to present juicier numbers, such as 172 kW (231 hp) of power and a 57-kWh battery pack for 400 kilometers (248 miles) of WLTP range. The real deal should be a lot more modest.
Sadly, the company did not provide us with dimensions, but we should expect it to be the same size as the VW Polo it aims to replace. Many people think it resembles the Honda e more than it should, but that also demonstrates that it will be a very different vehicle compared to the one that will emerge from the CUPRA UrbanRebel concept.
Although it was disguised as a racing car, the UrbanRebel is clearly a crossover, and that is all we need to associate it with the future ID.2. Both Volkswagen and Seat released information and images that show what this car will be, either by accident or on purpose.
The first image to emerge was apparently a lapse. Sadly for Volkswagen, our colleagues from Autovisie were quick enough to put it online. The image presents a compact crossover that would be around the same size as the Seat Arona, which is 4.14 meters (163 in) long, 1.78 m (70,1 in) wide, and 1.54 m (60.6 in) tall.
CUPRA was more generous by presenting how big the UrbanRebel is: 4.19 m (165 in) long, 1.80 m (70.9 in) wide, and 1.44 m (56.7 in) tall. This last measure does not mean much because the UrbanRebel had to be as low as possible to really look like a race car. The production car will obviously be much taller than that. Again, its peak power of 320 kW (429 hp) is an advantage concept cars have. We doubt the production version will go from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in just 3.2 seconds: it will not have to.
CUPRA also gave the MEB Lite or MEB Entry a sort of official name: MEB short platform. The Volkswagen Group will probably avoid setting it apart because its goal is to show how versatile and modular the MEB is. It will only differentiate it internally, willing that customers see it exactly like what the ID.3 and the ID.4 already present.
If Volkswagen keeps the same naming logic for its entry-level EVs, the ID.3 and the ID.4 show that the ID.1 should be a hatchback, and the ID.2 should be a crossover: even numbers would be for taller vehicles, odd numbers for regular ones. After all, the ID.3 is a hatchback; the ID.4 and the ID.6 are crossovers.
Apart from a simplified MEB platform, the crucial bit about making these vehicles affordable and profitable at the same time relates to battery chemistry. The unified cell they are expected to have must be the cheapest one available, which currently is the LFP. Volkswagen is also studying high manganese cells, but it has not presented a single one so far, making LFP more likely.
QuantumScape recently disclosed that its solid-state lithium-metal platform is sure to improve LFP cells as well. As a long-time partner of Volkswagen, any breakthrough in that regard should also be present in LFP unified cells as soon as they’re available. Remember that QuantumScape intends to present commercial versions of that platform by 2024. Volkswagen wants to introduce the ID.1 and the ID.2 in 2025, whatever the final names they have. Those schedules are certainly not a coincidence.