Revolutionary VW ID Electric Car Debuts – Should MINI Be Worried?

The VW ID Electric car is here and MINI has some work to do. Roughly the length of a four door Golf (and subsequently the length of the MINI Clubman and Countryman) the VW ID is the brand’s answer to both Tesla, BMW and the diesel crisis it’s been facing. The highlights are impressive: the electric motor provides 168 bhp while the battery pack gives the ID a range between 249 and 373 miles. You read that right, an electric car range of up to 373 miles. In comparison BMW’s own i3 electric car has a range of under 120 miles.

But that’s not the most impressive thing about the ID’s drivetrain. Volkswagen’s claims that its battery can be recharged to an 80% state within 30 minutes. That would likely mean that the ID uses a mind boggling 800 volt system similar (or identical) to the one that Porsche used in it’s Mission E concept from last year’s Frankfurt show. While cars have traditionally used 12v systems, there’s been a recent move to a 48 volts which allows for much more energy hungry technology to be offered. An 800 volt system is clearly in a different league and allows for power to flow from the grid and into the car at an unprecedented rate eliminating the biggest problem real world problem with electric cars – charging times.

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What does this all mean for MINI? We know that BMW has green-lit a number of electric initiates this month and an electric MINI is one of them. But what form that electric MINI takes will surely be (somewhat) informed but the bomb that VW just dropped on the world with the ID.

When is it coming? VW won’t say but they have said they want to sell 1 million electric cars by 2025 annually. Given that statement we’d expect the ID to hit showroom floors before the end of the decade.

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  • Greg

    Ok yeah, with these specs, MINI definitely needs to step up to the plate with something built from the ground up electric, you can’t get this kind of range/space efficiency with a converted MINI.

    The 2013 e-Golf concept used 12.7 kWh per 62 miles, so that’s 4.9 mpkWh – the new fuel economy measurement I declare to be official for electrics. 😀

    The 2013 e-Up! concept used 11.7 kWh per 62 miles, so 5.3 mpkWh.

    If I extrapolate the numbers to match those efficiencies, they are using a power pack that has between 47 and 76 kWh of usable power (we need to add a few kWh to get the total battery capacity, so a 50-80kWh battery).

    For reference, the i3 had a 33kWh battery so about 30kWh for 114 miles, so about 3.8 mpkWh and the MINI E had a 35kWh battery with ~28kWh capacity with a best-case-scenario efficiency of 5.4 mpkWh.

    They just need to engineer a purpose-built frame to house that huge-ass battery in the floor.

    • I don’t believe these miles/kWh comparisons are apples-to-apples. The 22 kWh i3 is the most efficient EV ever per the EPA cycle (including the eGolf).

      The numbers provided for the concept VWs (eGolf, e-up, ID) are almost certainly on the NEDC cycle, which gives very inflated range compared to real world or EPA range. NEDC adds about 50% more range on top of EPA range. The i3 is 114 miles EPA and 186 miles NEDC, for instance.

      • Greg

        Thanks for the clarifications, you are right, and according to this article https://transportevolved.com/2016/05/23/vw-confirms-2017-e-golf-with-35-8-kwh-battery-for-186-miles-nedc-range-and-we-explain-the-maths/ the range of 373 miles is with a 100 kWh battery pack (with let’s say 95kWh usable capacity), so if we apply an EPA/NEDC ratio of around 0.61 to 0.7 to the ID, that gives us an estimated range of 230 to 260 miles with the EPA.

        The EPA has a measurement for fuel efficiency, MPGe (mpg equivalent), which is miles per 33.7kWh (which they declare to be the equivalent energy of a gallon of gas, think about it, we’re thinking of buying cars that have a fuel tank equivalent to a gallon or two and take hours to fill up 😀 Crazy!)

        So to compare them fairly, here are some EPA numbers (combined/city/highway MPGe): i3 (22kWh):————-124 / 137 / 111 Chevy Bolt (60kWh):–119 / 128 / 110 i3 (33kWh):————-118 / 129 / 106 VW e-Golf (35.8kWh):116 / 126 / 105 Fiat 500e (24kWh):—116 / 122 / 108 Fiat 500e (2016):—–112 / 121 / 103 (no idea why it’s worse than before) Tesla Model S 90D:—100 / 95 / 106 Chevy Volt:————-106 / 113 / 99 MINI E (33kWh):——-N/A / 102 / 94 VW ID (100kWh):—– 82 to 92

        Key takeaway is, what seems to be dictating fuel efficiency is actually total vehicle weight, the bigger the battery, the less efficient it is.

        The ID is actually an outlier if it really is this poorly efficient, they don’t even beat the current 90kWh Tesla which is most likely heavier, but they will have integrated a bigger battery in a smaller total car footprint.

  • Rikki Loades

    In a a single word, yes! Mini should be very worried. This actually has me very excited. Totally agree with Greg’s analysis here. People need to start doing this properly, Tesla showed it could be done. VW look set to be the first manufacturer with traditional combustion engines to give this a proper go and i one for hope they are rewarded for it. BMW/Mini stop holding onto the past and make these damn things.

    • Chris Harte

      VW has tons more money than BMW, that helps things come to market faster.

  • ulrichd

    Bit shocked to see how large this is compared to the MK1 Golf in the pic.

  • DR61

    The supposed 800v battery mentioned must be the EV traction battery, and should be compared to (for instance) Leaf and Tesla EV batteries of about 400v currently. The reference to 12v or 48v systems are for vehicle electronic systems, not for EV traction batteries.

    However, the ID is an interesting concept. I hope we see actual operating prototypes soon. Time to speed up MINI EV development.

  • The ID certainly has more range than the i3, but it’s not 373 miles to “less than 120 miles.” The 373 miles claim is based on the NEDC method (aka, notoriously unrealistic).

    The current i3 is rated at 300 km (186 miles) using the NEDC rating system. Still far less, but the real point is that comparing EPA rating (114 miles for the i3) to NEDC (186 miles for the same i3) isn’t apples to apples.