The classic sedan is entering the electric era at Volkswagen.
The German brand has revealed the ID. Aero concept, which previews a production vehicle that’ll go on sale in the second half of 2023 in China.
Volkswagen will also start production of the Passat-sized sedan at its Emden, Germany plant in 2023.
The company says it’ll be offered worldwide, specifically mentioning the European, Chinese and North American markets.
Volkswagen hasn’t released much in the way of specifications and has yet to preview the concept’s interior.
The concept measures almost 5m long (a Passat sedan is 4775mm long), and boasts a drag coefficient of just 0.23.
There are the short overhangs and long wheelbase typical of a dedicated electric vehicle, and Volkswagen says the cabin is both “exceptionally spacious” and premium.
Underneath the cabin sits a 77kWh lithium-ion battery, and Volkswagen says the ID. Aero will have up to 620km of range on the stricter WLTP cycle, making it the longest-range Volkswagen-branded EV yet.
The ID.3 hatchback tops out at 548km of range on the WLTP cycle, the ID.4 and ID.5 crossover range at 522km, and the considerably boxier ID. Buzz at 423km.
Like these other ID-badged models, the ID. Aero is based on the MEB dedicated electric vehicle architecture.
It follows the same design language as its platform-mates, with curvaceous bodywork and full-width lighting elements. The concept features matrix LED headlights.
It also features prominent shoulders, while there’s a distinctive honeycomb pattern to the lower air intake and the tail lights.
The concept is finished in subtle Polar Light Blue Metallic paintwork, which is said to have a golden shimmer effect in certain lights. The roof is painted in high-gloss black, while the concept rides on two-tone turbine-style 22-inch alloy wheels.
Volkswagen had previously previewed a large electric sedan with its 2018 ID. Vizzion concept, and then a wagon version with the 2019 ID. Space Vizzion.
The ID. Vizzion measured 5164mm long and had a 111kWh battery and a 225kW dual-motor all-wheel drive powertrain, with up to 640km of range.
A Volkswagen EV larger than the ID. Aero is still set to appear, with the German brand introducing its Trinity flagship in 2026 that’s set to debut the next-generation SSP architecture.
While Volkswagen’s ID-badged products are being sold alongside similarly sized combustion-powered vehicles – the ID.3/Golf, ID.4/Tiguan, ID. Buzz/Multivan – the production version of the ID. Aero is expected to effectively replace the Passat sedan.
The next generation of Passat will reportedly be produced only as a wagon, and it’ll also be the first generation of Passat to not be manufactured at the company’s Emden plant.
The plant is being retooled for MEB-based cars, with the ID.4 entering production there earlier this year.
Production of the current Passat sedan already ended in December 2021.
Emden also produces the Arteon liftback and Shooting Brake, and Volkswagen says production of these will continue at Emden “for a transitional period of several years”.
The production ID. Aero will be an important vehicle for the Chinese market in particular, where sedans remain popular even as SUVs are in their ascendancy.
The company says it aims to become “the leading supplier of sustainable vehicles in China”, and projects “at least” every second car it’ll sell in China from 2030 will be an electric vehicle.
Volkswagen has two joint ventures in China – FAW-VW and SAIC-VW – and between them it sells a staggering 10 different sedans, in addition to a wide range of SUVs.