Volkswagen is reportedly readying a new entry-level electric city car that will follow in the footsteps of the defunct Up! hatchback in 2026.

    As reported by Autocar, the so-called Volkswagen ID.1 will cost less than €20,000 (~A$32,700) and rivals the likes of the Renault Twingo and Citroen e-C3.

    The German carmaker has confirmed it’s planning to build an A-segment – think Suzuki Ignis-size – electric SUV from 2026 at its Wolfsburg plant in “large numbers”.

    The new entry-level Volkswagen electric vehicle (EV) will reportedly follow the upcoming and slightly larger so-called ID.2, which was recently teased.

    Volkswagen technical development boss Kai Grünitz told Autocar design sketches for the new entry-level EV are complete and development is under way.

    “The ID 1 will be close to the Up! regarding the usage of that car,” said Mr Grünitz.

    “There aren’t so many possibilities to design a small vehicle for cities in terms of what it looks like.

    “It will be a car that fits into the Volkswagen brand design DNA and functionality DNA but at a lower price.”

    Mr Grünitz stopped short of confirming whether the new model will see the return of the Up! nameplate.

    “You need a smaller car that’s affordable for the broader customer base. That’s why we’re going for €25,000 for the ID 2all and we’re invested in the development phase for a vehicle below €20,000 – that’s Volkswagen,” said Mr Grünitz.

    “We have to go in that direction to convince our customers that EV is the right way.”

    The so-called Volkswagen ID.1 will reportedly be built on a bespoke platform separate from the ID.2’s MEB Entry architecture.

    In response to recent reports speculating that Volkswagen could partner with Renault to develop the entry-level EV, Mr Grünitz only said it remained a possibility.

    “We’re looking at several different ways: doing it on our own, doing it with [Volkswagen Group brands] Cupra and Skoda, doing it with external partners… Everything has advantages or disadvantages, and in the end we will see where we’re at,” said Mr Grünitz.

    As recently reported, the last Volkswagen Up! rolled off the Bratislava, Slovakia production line after 12 years in production late last year.

    The company had closed orders of the electric version, called the e-Up!, in 2020, before reopening orders in 2022.

    Despite this Volkswagen then ended production of the flagship petrol-powered Up GTI during 2023, and earlier it axed the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii, which were both lightly restyled versions of the Up!.

    While the Up had a long life in Europe, its time in Australia was considerably shorter.

    Launched in Australia in 2012, the Up was axed early in 2014 as it struggled in a then-competitive but low-margin and shrinking segment. It was also let down by the lack of an automatic transmission.

    Volkswagen sold 2295 examples during the car’s brief run here, well behind rivals like the Fiat 500 and Mitsubishi Mirage.

    MORE: Volkswagen Up gets put down: City car dead after 12-year run

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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