The Volkswagen all-electric ID 7 sedan’s most interesting feature isn’t its light-up paint
The all-electric Volkswagen ID 7 sedan — the next EV in the German automaker’s lineup — was unveiled Tuesday at CES 2023 in Las Vegas.
The most impressive part of the debut was not the vehicle’s multi-layered explosion in yellow, orange and red camouflaged electricalluminescent paint that lights up when you ask. It is not eye-catching, but it is for the near-production version. It was actually a few changes to its ID models that showed VW is working to improve its software and human-machine interaction design. This approach is closer to what consumers might see in Tesla models, the Porsche Taycan, and the Rivian R1S/Rivian R1T.
The ID 7 sedan, previously shown as a concept vehicle in China under the name ID Aero, is one of 10 new electric models that will into production by 2026, according to Volkswagen Passenger Cars CEO Thomas Schafer. The EV will be available in North America, Europe, and China.
The ID 7 is based upon the MEB platform. This flexible modular system, which VW Group brands such as Audi, Seat and Skoda use to increase the efficiency and cost-effectiveness in producing EVs, is what its siblings the ID.3 and ID.4 SUV and Volkswagen ID.5. The Volkswagen ID.3, an electric hatchback that is only sold in Europe and the Volkswagen ID.4 SUV and ID.5, along with various variants of the Audi Q4 e-tron are built on the MEB platform. By 2025, the automaker expects more than 80% will be.
The ID 7 has a few notable changes and features that are worth noting. It starts with a new interface for the car’s infotainment systems. The central display is larger at 15 inches. The screen’s functions are now easier to access and easier to use.
The climate functions are now prominently displayed and permanent displayed at the bottom of the central informationtainment screen. The driver can quickly access information about the vehicle and advanced driver assistance features by looking at the screen from the upper left and top.
VW has adopted a new air conditioner system that controls airflow digitally, a technology that is similar to the ones used by Tesla vehicles. This move will be controversial. This means that there are no more physical air vents that the driver or passenger can move to alter the direction of the air flow. Instead, users can use voice controls or the central touchscreen for direction changes.
The air conditioning system has been designed to be easier to use. The system will turn on when a driver approaches it with their key. It will either cool the interior during hot days or heat it in colder months.
Volkswagen also aims to improve its natural language processing. According to the company, users will be able use specific verbal cues such as “Hello Volkswagen, my hands have become cold!” and the system will respond by heating the steering wheel and directing warm air to their hands.
Another addition or change featured in the ID 7 is an augmented reality head up display and illuminated touch sliders at the bottom of the touchscreen.
The exterior design fits within the current EV portfolio of VW. The sedan’s front section is aerodynamic and the roof has a coupe-like slope at the rear. According to the company, the design is meant to help reduce energy consumption and increase range. The front end has air intakes that direct the air to the rear. This creates an air curtain that calms the airflow at the sides.
The end result is an estimated range (under the European ELTP cycle) of around 700 kilometers, or about 434 miles of range.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.