Volkswagen engineers have been spotted testing a battery-electric sedan that will likely replace the Arteon in the automaker's lineup.
The prototype is heavily camouflaged, with stickers covering the grille and lights, but the final design should resemble the look of the ID.Space Vizzion. You'll note that the exhaust tips are also stickers.
The new sedan is likely to be called an ID.6. The CEO of VW's Volkswagen Group parent, Herbert Diess, last July confirmed plans for a Passat-like electric vehicle to be called an ID.6, along with an Atlas-sized crossover to be called an ID.8, which may also be out testing. Note, VW already sells ID.6 X and ID.6 Crozz models in China, though these are both crossovers.
Despite Diess describing the ID.6 as Passat-like, VW will still offer a Passat with internal-combustion power in some markets, though likely not in the U.S. This new Passat will be based on an updated version of VW Group's MQB platform underpinning the current global Passat that we miss out on here, and it will come as a wagon only.
The ID.6 will ride on VW's MEB platform for mainstream EVs. As a guide for range-topping performance, the ID.Vizzion concepts, which also used the MEB platform, featured 82-kilowatt-hour batteries that VW said gave them approximately 300 miles of range as measured by the EPA. In a nod to enthusiasts, the concepts also sent their 275 hp to the rear wheels only. VW has also hinted that a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup could produce 355 hp.
Teaser for Volkswagen Aero B concept debuting at Auto China 2022
VW Group in 2020 said it plans to build a four-door VW EV code-named the Aero at its plant in Emden, Germany, starting in 2023. The plant currently builds the ID.4, as well as the global Passat and related Arteon. In its announcement, VW Group said production of the Passat will be moved to a plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2023. As there was no mention of the fate of the Arteon, it's likely the ID.6 is the so-called Aero model due to be built in Emden. A concept called the Aero B (shown above) was due to be revealed in April at Beijing's Auto China 2022, but the show was postponed due to the ongoing Covid situation in China and VW is yet to announce a new date for the concept's reveal.
The good news is that VW has hinted at the production version of the earlier ID.Vizzion being launched in the U.S., likely as a replacement for both the Passat and Arteon, meaning we should see the ID.6 here. The automaker has also hinted at bringing over the production version of the ID.Space Vizzion, possibly labeled an ID.7. Yes, there could be an electric wagon on sale here in the not too distant future.
With production of the ID.6 expected to start in 2023, we'll likely see it arrive as a 2024 model. That's the same year that VW will start selling its ID.Buzz here in the U.S. Elsewhere the modern Microbus will start sales later this year. Other electric VWs in the works include a subcompact model and possibly even a pickup truck.