Volkswagen’s I.D. CROZZ electric concept aims for 2020 production

Electric production vehicles may be relatively rare, but electric concepts abound, and most of them are targeting 2020 for a rough production date, as is the Volkswagen I.D. CROZZ, an all-electric design whose name I hope dies in a horrible fire between now and whenever (if ever) it does end up hitting the street.

The name does do one thing adequately well — it conveys that this is a “crossover,” that adulated category of vehicle everyone everywhere is going gaga over lately. We once called these small SUVs or large hatchbacks, but we’ve all grown up since then. And as grown-ups, someone felt that when another person said CROZZ in a board room it was a good idea.

It was not; but the car bearing that name sounds perfectly okay — maybe even good. It’s got around 300 miles of electric range, and full all-wheel drive, along with boosted charging capabilities that let it recover 80 percent of its driving time in just 30 minutes of charging using 150kW DC chargers. The concept also has full self-driving capabilities, which are of course aspirational at this stage, but which a driver will be able to engage just by touching the VW badge in the center of the CROZZ’s steering wheel for three continuous seconds.

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As with Volkswagen’s initial I.D. series concept vehicle, this electric car has digital “eyes” made up of LEDs on the outside that are meant to communicate with other drivers and pedestrians, and its inside also offers augmented reality displays to surround the driver with info overlaid right on the world around them.

Volkswagen goes so far as to call this concept a “smartphone on wheels” in a press release, which is about the most direct, unvarnished and accurate expression of the current strategy of most automakers I think I’ve ever heard. Truth in advertising.