Volkswagen is working on a family of electric cars, members of which have been previewed by the ID series of concept cars.

The good news is that electrification and performance aren't mutually exclusive at VW, as was demonstrated recently by the automaker's ID R electric time attack special, which in June set a new Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record.

VW is now looking at using lessons learned in the ID R project to develop a high-performance electric road car, something to don the automaker's R badge currently found on the Golf R and expected to appear soon on a T-Roc R. However, such a car will only happen if its performance lives up to what the R badge stands for. VW clearly doesn't want to dilute the brand the way Nissan has with Nismo, for example.

Jost Capito

Jost Capito

“If we do an R electric car, then it will be a proper R, or else it wouldn’t make sense,” Jost Capito, the boss of the R division, told Autocar in an interview published Friday.

Capito explained that the biggest challenge is reaching a suitable balance between performance and range. The type of body style is also important, he said, as a performance EV needs space for bigger batteries and extra motors. “It’s more complex in the past than with performance engines,” he explained.

VW has so far confirmed four body styles for its future electric cars. They include a hatchback slightly bigger than the Golf, a crossover SUV, a minivan and a large sedan. Of these, either the hatch or crossover (or both) is the most likely to receive the R treatment, should the green light be given. The hatch will be the first member of VW's ID family launched; it's due in 2020.