VW Might Be About to Unleash an Awesome Electric Off-Roader

VW is going all-in on electric vehicles, and the next ID model could be a game-changer.

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Many automakers are dipping their toes into the electric vehicle market — going slowly, perhaps, while waiting for the market to mature and EV costs to come down. But Volkswagen is going all-in with its ID range of vehicles. We’ve seen the brand’s nouveau VW bus, its Golf-replacing hatchback, its U.S.-bound crossover, and the sweet station wagon that will hopefully follow suit.

And it appears Volkswagen may have an electric off-roader on tap as well.

Autocar is reporting that a Volkswagen off-roader, supposedly going by the very odd name of the “ID Ruggdzz,” is under development, and will likely enter production by 2023. It won’t be a toned-down, drone-free production version of Audi’s electric Warthog; rather, it will reportedly be a traditional, boxy off-road SUV. It will have a prominent grille (even if it doesn’t need it), and receive a distinctive “glasshouse treatment” with a translucent-looking C-pillar, according to the report.

It gets better. VW will also reportedly whip up an “extreme” version, which would have a raised ride height and roof-mounted spotlights. VW will reportedly offer it in both five-seat and seven-seat configurations.

Including a rugged off-roader in the ID lineup would make sense for VW. Off-road-ready SUVs are popular, even if most people rarely use all their capability —  and thanks to ample accessorization opportunities, they can be very profitable. Though traditional ones rank as some of the least fuel-efficient vehicles, they’re ideal for converting to electric powertrains, as the battery packs give the car a lower center of gravity and improved weight distribution, while electric motors’ instant torque is optimal for clearing obstacles at low speeds.

Besides, the Volkswagen lineup has been crying out for an off-road-capable SUV. Rather than trying to compete directly with the Jeep Wrangler or the Toyota 4Runner, VW could beat them in getting a mass-market electric off-roader to market.

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